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Outpatient Vs. Inpatient Surgery Information

what's the difference?

Out­pa­tient surgery is when you have a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure done and then lat­er that same day you go home. Out­pa­tient surgery can also be called same-day” surgery or ambu­la­to­ry surgery. 

Inpa­tient surgery, on the oth­er hand, is when you have surgery and are required to spend at least one night in the hos­pi­tal. It depends on the type of pro­ce­dure that needs to be per­formed. There are many dif­fer­ent things that sur­geons and anes­the­si­ol­o­gists will con­sid­er to deter­mine if a patient is required to stay.


What else should I know about Inpa­tient Surgery?
With all the new advances with tech­nol­o­gy, anes­the­sia meth­ods, and how your pain is man­aged, many surg­eries are now being per­formed as outpatient. 

Not every­one will be able to have out­pa­tient surgery because of the type of pro­ce­dure that needs to be per­formed. There are many dif­fer­ent things that sur­geons and anes­the­si­ol­o­gists will con­sid­er to deter­mine if a patient qual­i­fies for same day surgery or if the surgery will require you to stay.

How quick­ly can I go home after out­pa­tient surgery?
The type of sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure, type of anes­the­sia, and your med­ical his­to­ry will deter­mine your length of stay. 

The type of anes­the­sia you were giv­en (how you are sedat­ed or if you were asleep for your surgery) will deter­mine where you recov­er from surgery. You will either be tak­en to the postanes­the­sia care unit (PACU) or an out­pa­tient post­op­er­a­tive care area (Step­down or Phase II recov­ery). When you are in these areas, you will be mon­i­tored for a peri­od of time and you may need to demon­strate some sim­ple tasks before you can leave. These tasks may include drink­ing some flu­ids with­out get­ting sick to your stom­ach. In some cas­es, you may need to be required to pass urine as well.

What do I need to know before I go home?
Before you are sent home, the nurse will go over your dis­charge instruc­tions with you and your family/​friend. The goal is to teach you what you will need to do when you are home. The nurse will go over the fol­low­ing with you:

  • Activ­i­ties you can do
  • What you are allowed to eat
  • How to help man­age your pain
  • When you should see your doc­tor again
  • How to take care of your wound/​stitches
  • Any­thing spe­cial relat­ed to the pro­ce­dure you had done
  • The med­i­cine you are taking
  • It is very impor­tant that you ask ques­tions and are famil­iar with how to care for your­self once you leave.

Can I dri­ve myself home?
NO. After you have out­pa­tient surgery, you are not allowed to dri­ve home. It is also required that you have a family/​friend stay with you for 24 hours after your pro­ce­dure if you have had gen­er­al anes­the­sia. If you do not have a ride home your pro­ce­dure will be cancelled. 

Will some­one fol­low up on me after surgery?
A nurse will usu­al­ly call you the next day. He or she will ask you how you are doing and ask if you have any fur­ther ques­tions. Please make sure that the phone num­ber you give on admis­sion is cor­rect and a num­ber where they can eas­i­ly get in touch with you.

Why is it impor­tant for me to know what to expect?
Hav­ing surgery can make you ner­vous. Know­ing what to expect can help answer any ques­tions you may have and help you feel more com­fort­able with what you are hav­ing done. Every surgery is dif­fer­ent. Your sur­geon can pro­vide all the details, infor­ma­tion and answer your ques­tions for you. The more you know about your pro­ce­dure, the bet­ter you can take part in get­ting well.


What should I bring for an overnight stay?

  • Leave any­thing that is impor­tant or of val­ue to you at home. Your per­son­al belong­ings (wal­let, phone, and purse) will be stored and kept safe while in surgery and then brought to you when you are done.
  • Wear and bring com­fort­able cloth­ing you will be allowed to change into your own per­son­al gar­ment items after the procedure.
  • Bring items you will need after surgery i.e. crutch­es, cane, walk­er, CPAP, BiPAP device, etc.
  • If you have com­plet­ed an Advance Direc­tive, Pow­er of Attor­ney, Durable Pow­er of Health Care Attor­ney, or a Liv­ing Will, bring it with you the day of surgery.
  • When you are in your room, you will meet your nurse and be shown how you can reach the nurse. The nurse will also help you become famil­iar with what is in your room, your call but­ton and any oth­er equip­ment that you might need to know about.
  • The nurse will go over what the doc­tor has ordered includ­ing your med­ica­tions, what you can eat and how much activ­i­ty you are allowed.