From travel insurance to fraud protection, AARP has you covered. Take a closer look at your member benefits.
by Carolyn Clancy, M.D., A.H.R.Q., AARP Bulletin, April 7, 2010
If you need surgery, there’s a better-than-average chance that you’ll have it and go home the same day. That’s good news for several reasons, but same-day surgery does require some planning on your part.
Thanks to advances in technology and anesthesia, nearly six of every 10 surgeries performed at hospitals are done as outpatient procedures, which means you go home the same day you have your surgery. Almost 35 million such surgeries are performed each year in the United States.
For example, most eye and ear surgeries are performed as same-day surgeries, and so are some skin procedures. In some cases, you can have your gallbladder removed at 7 a.m. and be home by noon. Many of these surgeries are done at surgery centers or in doctors’ offices.
This shift to same-day surgery can result in lower costs. For some patients, same-day surgery is more convenient and safer than staying in the hospital. But no surgery is risk-free. Same-day surgery means that you, or the people who help take care of you, may have to change your bandages or manage your pain medicines.
There are several steps you can take to increase your chances for a successful surgery. My agency, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), offers a free guide, “Having Surgery? What You Need to Know,” that provides advice and resources to help you prepare for surgery.
Some surgeries must be done right away. But many are not urgent, which means you have time to talk with your doctor and decide what course is best for you. Before your surgery, you should:
If you decide surgery is right for you, take the following steps to improve your chances of a successful surgery and full recovery:
Research shows that patients who ask questions and are informed about their surgeries typically work better with their doctors in making the best decisions about their care. Being prepared before having surgery will help ensure that you have a smooth recovery.
I’m Dr. Carolyn Clancy, and that’s my advice on how to navigate the health care system.
Carolyn M. Clancy, a general internist and researcher, is an expert in engaging consumers in their health care. She is the director of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Members save 15% on medical alert service.
This tool helps you identify your pills by color, shape and markings.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at