Healthy Living

What qualifies as an elective surgery?

What qualifies as an elective surgery?


It is surgery that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergencySemi-elective surgery is a surgery that must be done to preserve the patient's life, but does not need to be performed immediately. Speaking ethically, a large numbers of procedures are done routinely done for various reasons, not always in the best interest of the patients e g stenting of coronary, joint replacements, uterus removal, glaucoma surgery or Lasik surgery, tonsil removal, enhancement surgery and so on. These are often elective and may be even avoidable. The numbers speak of Chennai’s rise as a medical capital: More than two lakh cataract surgeries in a year, a two-fold jump in caesarean section, a sharp spiral in hysterectomies. They also belie an uncomfortable truth: Doctors are increasingly becoming scalpel-happy. If your doctor asks you to undergo a cataract surgery, hysterectomy, gall bladder or tonsils removal, or an operation of the lower-back, please take a second opinion. On a second opinion 44% surgeries were found avoidable.

By contrast, an urgent surgery is one that can wait until the patient is medically stable, but should generally be done within 2 days, and an emergency surgery is one that must be performed without delay; the patient has no choice other than immediate surgery if permanent disability or death is to be avoided. Most surgeries necessary for medical reasons are elective, that is, scheduled at a time to suit the surgeon, hospital, and patient. These include inguinal hernia surgerycataract surgerymastectomy for breast cancer, and the donation of a kidney by a living donor.

Elective surgeries include all optional surgeries performed for non-medical reasons. This includes cosmetic surgery, such as faceliftsbreast implantsliposuction, and breast reduction, which aim to subjectively improve a patient's physical appearance. LASIK procedures can be elective, where a patient weighs the risks against increased quality of life expectations. LASIK is currently the top elective surgery in the United States

he most common elective surgical procedures include:

  • Plastic surgery. Plastic surgeriesare procedures performed to reconstruct or replace parts of the body after an injury or for cosmetic reasons. ...
  • Replacement surgery. ...
  • Exploratory surgery. ...
  • Cardiovascular surgery.
  • Plastic surgery.Plastic surgeries are procedures performed to reconstruct or replace parts of the body after an injury or for cosmetic reasons. Tummy tucks, nose jobs, breast reconstruction, and excess skin removal are all considered plastic surgeries. These types of surgeries are rarely ever medically necessary, but can greatly affect an individual’s emotional health, particularly after battling cancer, sustaining burn injuries, or being disfigured in an accident.
    • Unfortunately, plastic surgery does carry the risk of infection and other dangers, as do all surgical procedures. In addition to surgical errorsand common risks, some elective plastic surgeries are relatively new procedures. Like the recalled breast implants from several years ago, any implant or cutting edge procedure carries a risk of unexpected outcomes that may reverse the effects of the surgery or harm a patient’s health.
  • Replacement surgery.Knee, hip, and musculature replacement/reconstructive surgeries are common elective surgeries that can help patients minimize pain and maintain mobility after an injury or as the result of deterioration over time. Replacement surgeries are typically recommended by physicians after a certain point, or at the onset of certain symptoms.
    • Dangers associated with any type of replacement surgery include having an implant fail or become loose in the body, surgical errors, or developing an infection. In some cases, the recovery time for replacement and reconstructive surgeries may be extended. Individuals could also end up needing multiple surgeries if the first surgery went awry or caused further complications to their health.
  • Exploratory surgery.Some symptoms may make diagnosis hard for physicians, in which case they may recommend exploratory surgery. During an exploratory procedure, a surgeon will typically use small incisions and technology to go into the body to look for and address complications. Colonoscopies are commonly recommended exploratory surgeries that can help patients prevent the development of colon cancer.
    • During exploratory surgery, a patient could wake up if improperly anesthetized. Other dangers associated with the surgery may include surgical error or the development of infection.
  • Cardiovascular surgery.There are several elective cardiovascular surgeries including bypass, angioplasty, and radiofrequency ablation. Most prevent heart-related conditions from worsening and may reduce a patient’s symptoms to improve quality of life. Every cardiovascular surgery comes with its own unique associated dangers, from equipment failure to surgical error. Most cardiovascular surgeries are medically necessary, but some may be recommended before the point when an operation may be needed.

When a physician tells you a surgical procedure is necessary, you will likely trust his or her judgment. However, the reality is many elective surgeries may or may not be medically necessary. There is often a fine line between when you should operate and when you should try other treatments first.

Every elective and emergency surgery, whether medically necessary or not, carries a level of risk. Human error, equipment error, and unavoidable complications can all turn a routine procedure into a life or death situation. If you have any doubts about a physician’s recommendation for surgery, you may want to seek a second opinion before agreeing to and signing a consent form for a procedure.

 Emergency surgery is performed when there is an immediate threat to life or limb. Everything else is elective, but that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t medically necessary Elective does not mean optional, or that a person has a choice over whether or not they need the surgery, but rather describes the amount of time they have to get that procedure done. This means even some cancer and heart surgeries are being delayed if doctors deem that having surgery in a few months won’t make a person’s prognosis worse. Pushing back elective surgeries allows hospitals to conserve critical resources, including hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) beds, respirators, and personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, masks, and gowns, that are both essential pieces of medical supplies and in short supply worldwide. 

People who are in the hospital for conditions unrelated to COVID-19 are also among those who have the highest risk of contracting infection of the virus — people with cardiovascular disease or cancer patients, for example — so the risk of these people dying from COVID-19 complications is high. Being in recovery from an operation also puts patients at a higher risk for complications. “The last thing we want to do is expose these people to unnecessary risk over a surgery that can safely be postponed.”  Delayed surgeries  should not lead to a situation in which the patient will not have as good of an outcome as they would have if they had gotten an operation immediately. 

Hospitals that aren’t seeing an overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients may still perform elective surgery if there is a risk for infection if surgery is delayed or if the patient is in extreme pain or risk. “Certainly patients can be debilitated for things like needing a hip replacement, or having difficulty with vision that isn’t going to cause loss of the eye, and these patients often have to wait months to get surgery.

 In case of heart surgeries one may have to act differently e g  “If someone has a heart attack, you need to take care of that, but if someone needs a valve treatment that they have lived with for several years, that may be able to wait a little longer,” 

Cancer is not considered an elective surgery, but there are many types of slow-growing cancers in which delaying surgery will not have an impact on long term results,” says Jensen, noting that often people can live with thyroid cancer for years before getting treatment and have the same outcome as they would have if they had gotten surgery right away. Instead, some doctors may alter the order in which a patient receives multiple treatments, for example, starting someone on chemotherapy or radiation now and getting surgery at a later date, rather than operating first. This is not always the case.

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