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Ambulatory Surgery Definition

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Updated May 24, 2010

Three surgeons working in surgery/OR

Three Surgeons In Surgery

Image: © Janice Airey/Getty Images
Definition: Ambulatory strictly means "the ability to walk" but in the context of surgery, it refers to patients who are able to leave the hospital the same day as the surgery, without being admitted.

Ambulatory surgery is referred to by other names, commonly called minimally invasive surgery, outpatient surgery or same day surgery. While minimally invasive surgery is technically laparoscopic surgery, the term is often used interchangeably with ambulatory surgery.

Most ambulatory surgery procedures are minor surgeries that do not require extended recoveries. Once the patient wakes from anesthesia and is awake and alert, if no signs of problems are present, they can continue their recovery in their own home.

Ambulatory surgery centers are facilities with operating rooms, but they are not hospitals and perform procedures that allow the patient to recover at home. Patients with complications that required hospitalization would be transferred to another facility for treatment.

Also Known As: minimally invasive surgery, same day surgery, outpatient surgery,
Common Misspellings: ambolatory surgery, ambullatory surgery,
Examples:
The patient was scheduled for ambulatory surgery, so he made arrangements for a friend to drive him to and from the surgery center.
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