What is an Ambulatory Surgery Center?

You may have heard the term or even visited one before, but what exactly is an ambulatory surgery center? Crucial to the healthcare needs of the 21st century, these centers provide daily services to countless patients in need. To learn more, read on as we cover the basics of today’s ASC.

ASC Functions, Purpose

To understand the purpose of an ambulatory surgery center, one should first understand exactly what ambulatory surgery is. Ambulatory surgery is medical terminology for what most people commonly refer to as “outpatient surgery.” More directly defined, ambulatory surgery refers to any surgical type of procedure that can be done outside of the necessity of hospital admission.

With this said, “ambulatory surgery centers, or ASCs, are facilities where surgeries that do not require hospital admission are performed. ASCs provide cost-effective services and a convenient environment that is less stressful than what many hospitals can offer.” In addition, “ASCs may perform surgeries in several specialties or dedicate their services to one specialty, such as eye care or sports medicine.”

Common Attributes

Although ASCs are not hospitals, they are, quite similarly, highly sterile and modern medical facilities. Many of the same characteristics of hospitals are also found here. The following represent some of those common attributes of today’s ASC.

– sterile, clean medical environment

– professionally licensed medical practitioners

– modern, maintained medical equipment and services

– life-saving and emergency management capabilities

– susceptibility to codes, laws, and all other medical standards

Common Procedures Performed

As we’ve discussed, ambulatory surgery is just another term for outpatient surgery. Today, most of these types of procedures are performed at ASCs as opposed to hospitals or doctors’ offices. In fact, the list of procedures done in these facilities is massive. To give some idea, though, as to the average happenings in most ASCs, the following are listed as the top 10 procedures performed in these centers.

1. Cataract surgery w/ IOL insert: 17 percent

2. Upper GI endoscopy: 7.8 percent

3. Colonoscopy and biopsy: 6 percent

4. Diagnostic colonoscopy: 2.6 percent

5. After cataract laser surgery: 4 percent

6. Lesion removal colonoscopy: 4.6 percent

7. Injection spine: lumbar, sacral: 3.2 percent

8. Injection foramen epidural lumbar, sacral: 3.9 percent

9. Injection paravertebral: lumbar, sacral, add on: 3.4 percent

10. Injection paravertebral: lumbar, sacral: 2.4 percent

Professional Association

As a matter of professional association, ASCs are represented by a dedicated, professional organization. This organization is known as ASCA. ASCA membership is considered to be the most respected organizational membership for all US ASCs. Member centers must demonstrate an ongoing model of excellence in practice and standards in order to maintain this respected membership. More information on ASCA can be found at the organization’s website.

Every day, countless people require outpatient procedures and surgeries for managing their ongoing health and obtaining a better quality of life. The top responder to this high volume need is today’s ASC. For more information on today’s ASC, or ambulatory surgery center, you are encouraged to consult with ASCA at the website mentioned above.

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