A closer look at ASCs

Many surgeries can be done at ambulatory surgery centers.

May 18, 2020


Not that long ago, surgery meant being in a hospital, often overnight. Today, thanks to innovations in technology and medicine, that’s changed. Many surgeries can be done at an ambulatory surgery center (ASC), also called an outpatient surgery center. 

What is an ASC?

An ASC is a health care facility with dedicated operating rooms. ASCs provide elective, nonemergency outpatient surgical services. After surgery, patients are taken to a recovery room. But they don’t stay overnight or longer than 23 hours. 

ASC surgeons have the same credentials as surgeons in hospitals. Also, ASCs are regulated by state and federal guidelines, just like hospitals are.

What types of surgeries are done at an ASC?

A variety of procedures can be done at ASCs, including:

  • General surgery
  • Ear, nose and throat surgery
  • Colon and rectal surgery
  • Gynecologic surgery (surgery of the female reproductive system)
  • Hand surgery
  • Eye surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery (surgery of the spine, bones, joints and muscles)

ASCs do not offer the following services:

  • Primary care services, wellness visits, checkups and standard office visits
  • Urgent or emergency care
  • Childbirth labor and delivery
  • Shots

How soon after surgery do patients go home?

That depends on the type of surgery and the anesthesia used. Most patients are sent home within four hours after surgery. If you have outpatient surgery, make arrangements to have someone drive you home. 

What happens if hospital care is needed?

ASCs are required to have a way to move patients to a hospital if other types of care are needed.

What is First Hill Surgery Center?

In November 2016, The Polyclinic and Swedish Medical Center opened the First Hill Surgery Center. It’s one of the country’s largest and most technologically advanced ASCs. This setting is designed to help surgeons provide outstanding care.

Features include:

  • 36,000 square feet
  • 12 operating rooms
  • 32 recovery rooms
  • 75 surgery staff

Why choose First Hill Surgery Center?

First Hill Surgery Center offers a number of benefits to patients, including:

  • Convenience. An efficient workflow reduces downtime between surgeries and makes scheduling easier. Patients can be scheduled for surgery in one or two days instead of one or two weeks.
    • Also, all cases at First Hill Surgery Center are similar in level of care. This allows nursing and anesthesia teams to staff all procedures, resulting in more efficient turnaround time.
  • Comfort. ASCs are designed specifically for outpatient surgery. Also, unlike some ASCs, First Hill Surgery Center was designed by surgeons. 
  • Lower out-of-pocket costs. Patients typically pay less in facility fees for procedures done at an ASC compared to a hospital. Hospital surgery centers handle many emergency and specialized cases. All First Hill Surgery Center surgeries are elective and non-emergency.
    • This means less overhead, lower operating expenses and lower costs for patients and health insurance companies. It also means high patient satisfaction rates.
  • Advanced technology. First Hill Surgery Center has 12 fully equipped operating rooms, all with state-of-the-art imaging and lighting systems. It also has the region’s largest, most advanced technology for sterilizing instruments and equipment.
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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.