Choosing a Hospital vs. a Surgery Center
First published July 23, 2012 and updated March 21, 2019
Knowing the facility at which your surgery will be performed is an important part of choosing a surgeon. One of the first questions is whether you prefer the surgery to be performed at a hospital or at an outpatient surgery center. Depending on the bariatric practice, you may find that they perform their procedures either at one or more affiliated hospitals, a surgery center or both. Both a hospital and surgery center are viable options for certain procedures and each have their specific benefits and drawbacks. Check out the facilities at which we perform surgery.
The benefits of an outpatient surgical center include:
- More intimate care (usually), because the surgical center is smaller. In general, they can offer more attention because they may only be performing several surgeries each day versus a hospital that has to care for, potentially, hundreds of patients.
- Outpatient surgery centers also tend to have lower fees as a result of the facility’s lower overhead and fixed costs. Further, since no patients stay overnight, facility fees can be reduced significantly when compared to hospital programs.
Hospitals have significant benefits as well:
- By and large, hospital facilities are better able to treat emergencies and complications in the unlikely event that they should arise. If the procedure is being performed at a surgery center and there’s a complication, the patient will likely be transferred to a local hospital anyway.
- Hospital facilities are also able to handle procedures that require overnight or longer recoveries. For example the gastric bypass, duodenal switch, gastric sleeve and any open procedures require one to three days in the hospital for observation and recovery. These overnight stays cannot be provided by an outpatient surgical center.
- Finally, most diagnostic testing, if needed, can be performed on site in a hospital, saving time.
The choice of hospital or outpatient facility is one that a bariatric surgeon will make as a matter of policy. That makes it important for you, as a patient, to evaluate the facilities at which you may undergo surgery and figure out what makes you most comfortable. Understanding more about the facilities themselves will allow you to choose the facility that is best suited to your individual circumstance.