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Understanding Inpatient and Outpatient Surgery

In the past, having surgery meant you stayed overnight in the hospital to recover. Today, there are other choices. Your options depend on your diagnosis and the type of surgery you need.

What is inpatient surgery?

For some types of surgery, you will need to stay 1 or more nights in a hospital. This is called inpatient surgery. This is so the staff can carefully watch your recovery. You can get medical attention right away in case of problems.

What is outpatient surgery?

For many types of surgery, you can go home on the same day. Or you may go home the next day. This is called outpatient surgery. It costs less, lowers stress, and speeds up your recovery. It also means you need to take less time off from work.

Outpatient surgery may also be called:

  • Ambulatory surgery

  • Same-day surgery

  • In-and-out surgery

Where surgery may be done

Inpatient surgery is done in a hospital.

Outpatient surgery may be done in any of these places:

  • Outpatient section of a hospital

  • Ambulatory surgery center

  • Specialty surgery center

  • Healthcare provider's office

Talk with your surgeon

Ask your surgeon if you need inpatient or outpatient surgery. Find out what choices you have for where to have surgery. Make sure to ask about the pros and cons for each type of place. This may include insurance coverage, costs to you, surgery hours, and follow-up care.