Ambulatory Surgery Services: How They Affect Your Orthopaedic Care

Image Credit: Tidewater Orthopaedics 

“Wellness is not a ‘medical fix’ but a way of living – a lifestyle sensitive and responsive to all the dimensions of body, mind, and spirit, an approach to life we each design to achieve our highest potential for well-being now and forever.”

Greg Anderson

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

Ambulatory surgery centres (ASCs) provide outpatient surgical care to patients with specific medical treatments. Outpatient procedures are normally conducted in such a manner that patients can return to their homes on the same day as the procedure is conducted. 

Prior to the prevalence of ambulatory surgery centres, all surgical procedures were conducted in hospitals. Hospital settings can be quite complicated, and for patients who only had minor procedures to be conducted, dealing with the bureaucratic process was indeed quite tedious. On a priority scale, scheduling conflicts with other operations occurred. It was  quite common for scheduling delays to take place, as multiple activities were taking place in parallel. Bottlenecks in hospital operations became a challenge that had to be managed. 

Ambulatory surgery centres provided the solution to these challenges. ASCs have become increasingly more popular, as they provide an avenue for patients to receive their treatment according to their schedules. They are much calmer environments, and offer patients similar services to hospitals, often at lower costs. 

Orthopaedic care has actually benefited from the utilisation of ambulatory services. There are various orthopaedic procedures that do not actually require extended hospital stays. These procedures include: 

  • Minor Fracture Repairs 
  • Minor Joint Surgery 
  • Bunion Surgery 

ASCs usually manage cases that are organised and scheduled, and often do not accept walk-ins from patients. Walk-ins are better handled by hospital emergency rooms. Because of their schedule, they operate within predetermined business hours. Patients often have to go through a standardised process, in order to be included in the roster. This procedure normally requires a referral from a specialist, such as a licensed physician. Preliminary diagnostic work would have already been conducted, prior to admission at the ASC. The ASC conducts the procedures that would have been mapped out by the consulting health care specialist. 

What benefits can patients expect to gain from an ASC? 

As a patient, there may be a point in your life where you have to make the critical choice to decide whether you want your orthopaedic surgical procedure to be conducted at a hospital or at an ASC. The choice is influenced by various factors, predominantly your lifestyle and income. Benefits of ASC’s include: 

  1. ASC’s are more cost effective. Surgical procedures at hospitals may often include overnight stays. With ASC’s you are able to return to your home on the same day. 
  2. ASC’s are faster at conducting your care. They provide convenience.
  3. Reduction in post operational complications and infections.
  4. Lower patient stress. The size and settings make ASC’s more comfortable. 

If your orthopaedic condition is acute, getting your care at an ASC actually works out in your favour. They are the perfect medium point in the healthcare system. For more complex surgical treatments, invest in a hospital conducted procedure. Discussions with your orthopaedic specialist will determine the path that will work best for you. 

If you are requiring a minimally invasive orthopaedic procedure, and are in good general health, consider having your outpatient procedures conducted at an ASC. 

Article Reference: 

[1] Ambulatory Surgery Services:

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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