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Surgical procedures have evolved rapidly over the last 25 years. Many of these adjustments have benefited patients through implementation of today’s sophisticated technology. However, advancements in technology can also make surgery more complex. The best medical providers will invest time in studying these new surgical options and analyzing which processes may ensure the safest results for their patients.

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Inpatient Surgery Statistics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a National Hospital Discharge Survey, assorted by selected patient characteristics such as category and age. This survey focused on the number of times each procedure was performed in United States hospitals during 2009.

Totals discovered in this survey indicate:

  • 48 million total surgeries performed
  • 1.9 million arteriography and angiocardiography procedures
  • 1.1 million cardiac catheterizations
  • 1.1 million endoscopies of small intestine
  • 525,000 endoscopies of large intestine
  • 497,000 computerized axial tomography (CAT scans)
  • 902,000 diagnostic ultrasounds
  • 605,000 balloon angioplasties of coronary artery or coronary atherectomies
  • 494,000 hysterectomies
  • 1.3 million cesarean sections
  • 621,000 reduction of fractures
  • 528,000 insertions of coronary artery stents
  • 415,000 coronary artery bypass grafts
  • 676,000 total knee replacements
  • 327,000 total hip replacements

Cosmetic Surgeries

Plastic surgery, also known as cosmetic surgery, grows more popular every year. Research on this type of surgical procedure is a very different form of assessment. Statistics of cosmetic surgeries indicate cultural trends and economic variances rather than national health issues.

As of April 2012, the most common cosmetic surgeries in the United States were:

1.       Liposuction

2.       Breast Augmentation

3.       Abdominoplasty

4.       Eyelid Surgery

5.       Breast Lift

Aesthetic surgeries carry a high risk because patients frequently do not consider the invasive nature of the procedures. A patient may not heed the doctor’s warnings about recovery and may attempt physical activities before the body is fully healed. It is important for a medical expert to discuss the patient’s reasons behind requesting a cosmetic surgery to evaluate if the patient is a good surgical candidate. The physician should also explain the risks of surgery and any nonsurgical options that the patient may prefer. If the medical provider fails to detail vital aspects of the surgery, a medical malpractice incident may occur.

Unnecessary Surgeries

Surgeries are expensive, painful, and risky. Surgeons charge a high pay rate because they must maintain complex, specialized skills to perform surgical tasks with accuracy. The equipment is also a major contributing factor to the cost of surgery. The newer the medical devices are, the more expensive the surgery will be. It is important to remember that cutting-edge technology has been through less testing and may carry greater health risks. A patient should seek the minimum amount of medical treatment required for better health.

Studies have shown that many patients may undergo extraneous surgical procedures. Surgeries such as therapeutic knee arthroscopies and vertebroplasties have proven ineffective, yet they are still being performed. The Department of Health in England has reported a 40% increase at the end of 2011 in hospital cancellation of operations previously marked as urgent. While some of these cancellations may be a result of a patient’s inability to pay, this also brings into question the guidelines for defining a surgical procedure as “urgent.”

Post-Surgery Infections

Surgical wound infections are the second most common form of adverse medical events in hospitals, but diagnosis of a post-operative infection can be difficult. Most patients experience swelling due to systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) associated with certain types of surgery. Differentiating between the SIRS response and an actual post-surgical infection can be complicated. It may help for a medical professional to take certain risk factors into account.

Some factors marking an increased risk of surgical site infections include:

  • Age
  • Height, weight, and overall pre-operative health
  • Type of surgery
  • Length of hospitalization
  • Frequency of hospitalization
  • Previous surgical procedures
  • Dissimilar medical conditions

Post-surgical infections can develop any time between several days to several weeks after surgery. They are most likely to occur in places that accommodate additional bacteria, such as the intestines. Approximately 40% to 60% of surgical site infections are preventable.

Post-operative infections can cause:

  • An increased mortality rate
  • Increased readmission rate
  • Increased length of hospitalization, typically by an average of 7.5 days
  • Additional medical treatment
  • Increased expense for additional medical treatment



Apostolakis, Efstratios, et al. “Are there independent predisposing factors for postoperative infections following open heart surgery?” Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 6 (2011): 151.Academic OneFile. Web. 29 May 2012.
Legault, Timothy. “Unnecessary surgeries and hospital standardized mortality ratios.” CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal 8 Feb. 2011: 94. Academic OneFile. Web. 29 May 2012.
“NEW TRENDS IN 2011 COSMETIC SURGERY STATISTICS.” States News Service 4 Apr. 2012. Academic OneFile. Web. 29 May 2012.
“Rise in number of cancelled operations.” Nursing Standard 26.18 (2012): 6. Academic OneFile. Web. 29 May 2012.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Inpatient Surgery. Atlanta: CDC, 2009. Web. 29 May 2012.