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Outpatient Procedures on Rise, CDC Says

Number tripled from 1996 to 2006, to nearly two-thirds of surgeries

FRIDAY, Jan. 30, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- More and more surgeries in the United States are being done on an outpatient basis, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 1996 to 2006, the number of outpatient surgery visits increased from 20.8 million to 34.7 million, the report says. In addition, outpatient surgery accounted for nearly two-thirds of surgery visits in 2006, up from about half a decade earlier.

In those 10 years, outpatient surgery visits to freestanding centers increased three-fold (to 14.9 million in 2006), but there was little change in the rate of such visits to hospital centers (19.9 million in 2006).

The CDC report also found that in 2006:

  • About 57.1 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed during the 34.7 million outpatient surgery visits.
  • Women had more outpatient surgery visits (20 million) than men (14.7 million).
  • The most common procedures performed in an outpatient surgery were endoscopies of the large intestine (5.8 million) and small intestine (3.5 million) and lens extraction for cataract surgery (3.1 million).
  • The most common diagnosis that led to outpatient surgery was a cataract, with 3 million visits attributed to this diagnosis. Benign tumors led to 2 million visits, followed by malignant tumors with 1.2 million visits.
  • In hospitals, patients spent an average of 61.7 minutes in the operating room for an outpatient surgery, compared with 43.2 minutes for surgeries at freestanding centers. People who went to hospital centers also had longer recovery and overall visit times.
  • Private insurance paid for 53 percent of outpatient surgery visits.

The authors of the report, titled "Ambulatory Surgery in the United States, 2006," analyzed data from 142 hospitals and 295 freestanding centers.

More information

The AARP has more about outpatient procedures.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Jan. 28, 2009
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