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Surgical centers provide a sterile, well-equipped facility for doctors to perform operations and other invasive procedures. Having dedicated surgical spaces with proper tools, lighting, and staff helps ensure procedures can be conducted safely and effectively.
What is a Surgical Center?
Surgical centers are designed exclusively for short-stay surgery. They typically focus on routine, low-risk procedures like knee arthroscopy, cataract surgery, or colonoscopy. They have operating rooms and recovery areas but often lack capabilities for major surgery, trauma stabilization, or critical care provided by full-service hospitals.
Surgical centers resemble hospitals in three key ways:
- They have registered nurses and medical technicians, specialized in surgical and recovery care who assist your surgeon as part of a supportive team.
- The surgical centers feature state-of-the-art suites and equipment on par with major hospitals.
- Board Certified Anesthesiologists may participate in your care, meeting with you upon admittance if an operation is scheduled.
What Sets Apart Hospitals vs. Surgical Centers?
Hospitals and surgical centers are both medical facilities, but they serve different healthcare needs. What distinguishes hospitals from surgical centers comes down to their size, services provided, staffing, and focus.
Hospitals are large medical facilities equipped to handle a wide range of health conditions, medical situations, and patient needs. Some key aspects in which hospitals differ from surgical centers include:
- Hospitals offer emergency services, intensive care, a range of medical and surgical specialties, imaging, lab tests, and pharmacy services onsite. Meanwhile, surgical centers provide more limited outpatient surgical procedures.
- Hospitals employ doctors, nurses, technicians, and many other medical specialists with the expertise to treat complex health conditions. However, surgical centers have a smaller staff focused on assisting with ambulatory surgery.
- Hospitals can accommodate patient stays ranging from outpatient procedures to weeks of inpatient critical care. On that other hand, surgical centers perform outpatient surgeries where patients are discharged the same day.
Surgical centers, also referred to as ambulatory surgery centers, specialize in same-day outpatient surgeries and procedures. They focus on providing surgery and care that allows patients to return home within 24 hours without an overnight hospital stay being required.
Their specific healthcare services, smaller facility sizes, and patient criteria distinguish them from full-service hospitals. While they play an important role, surgical centers are equipped for lower-risk procedures versus managing complex medical cases like a hospital.
Medical Staff and Specialists At Surgical Centers
Surgical centers employ a specialized team focused on efficient delivery of same-day outpatient procedures. Their coordinated staff facilitates all aspects of care for surgery patients. While leaner than a hospital, they staff medical professionals, technical personnel, and support staff to provide smooth operations for fairly healthy patients needing non-life-threatening procedures. See below for the types of positions you may find at a surgical center:
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