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Outpatient surgeries triple since '96

January 29, 2009
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SAN FRANCISCO - The number of surgical procedures performed on an outpatient basis in the United States tripled from 1996 to 2006, when almost two-thirds of surgeries were done without an overnight hospital stay.

Almost 35 million patients had outpatient surgery in 2006 with the most common procedures being colonoscopies and cataract surgery, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. More than 57 percent of the outpatient procedures were performed on women.

While most of these procedures were performed in hospital outpatient surgery centers, the number of patients treated in free-standing facilities not located in hospitals more than tripled during the decade covered by the report.

The average length of time patients spent in surgery ranged from 66 minutes for treating ear infections to more than 2 1/2 hours to treat a hernia.

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