Types of Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Outpatient or ambulatory surgery centers are facilities where surgeons perform procedures that do not require patients to be hospitalized. Most surgery centers practice endoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive technique that requires only a small incision. Endoscopic surgery is equally as effective as traditional surgery and can drastically reduce recovery times.

Because surgery centers are not as regulated as hospitals, it’s important that they become accredited by one of the major accreditation organizations. Accredited surgery centers are just as safe as hospital surgery units and can often times perform endoscopic procedures faster than hospitals, as well as offer patients more personalized treatment. By specializing in certain fields and procedures, ambulatory surgery centers offer the highest level of quality in a cost-effective manner. Knowing how centers specialize is an important part in choosing the surgery center that will best address your medical needs.


Eye specialists are the most frequently sought after ambulatory surgery centers. Ophthalmology centers can perform everything from common cataract and LASIK surgery, to more difficult procedures that help treat glaucoma. Because ophthalmology centers specialize in eye surgery, they are more likely to have advanced technology and more experience for certain procedures.

For example, cataract surgery is a common procedure in which cataracts are removed and custom intraocular lenses are inserted into the patient’s eyes. Surgery centers specializing in ophthalmology may be better positioned to purchase new technology like the femtosecond laser, which decreases recovery times and provides more safety for the patient. Accredited ophthalmology surgery centers may also employ multiple ophthalmologists and offer a wide range of procedural abilities.


There are multiple fields of specialization for orthopedic surgery centers. Whereas some surgery centers may specialize in one field, like spinal surgery, others offer a wide variety of procedures from multiple orthopedic surgeons. These procedures can include reconstructive surgeries for breaks and tears, arthroscopic procedures for the knee and shoulder, or hand, foot, and ankle surgeries. Depending on the specific procedure a patient’s medical condition requires, it can be in the patient’s benefit to choose a specialized or more expansive surgery center.

For sports injuries, it may be in the patient’s benefit to find a surgery center that can perform their specific procedure, as well as offer pain management services. If the sports injury is recurrent, a steroid or cortisone injection may be necessary throughout their treatment. However, for very specific procedures like relieving a pinched nerve with a foraminotomy, a spinal surgery clinic specializing in endoscopic surgery would provide the best treatment.

Gastrointestinal (GI)

Most gastrointestinal surgery centers specialize in colonoscopy and enteroscopy procedures that help doctors see problems which may not appear on imaging tests. A colonoscopy allows doctors to see ulcers, abnormal growths or bleeding in the colon or large bowel, and inflamed mucous linings in the intestine. An enteroscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to see a direct visualization of the small bowel. Through an enteroscopy, a doctor may be able to diagnose and treat hidden GI bleeding or locate and remove sores without damaging the healthy tissues. Both exams are also thorough ways for doctors to screen for colorectal cancer.

Pain Management

Pain management centers usually employ a team of health care professionals that can offer a variety of services. From surgeons, to physicians, to psychologists, or physical therapists, the team of professionals can help every aspect of an individual patient’s chronic pain. For minimally invasive surgical procedures, doctors may repair damaged nerves through an endoscope or inject corticosteroids into muscles or joints to relieve irritation, swelling, and muscle spasms.

Some non-invasive treatment options at pain management clinics may include acupuncture, electrical stimulation, or relaxation techniques. Physical and aquatic therapy may be available for long-term rehabilitation processes as well. Because the range of treatments for chronic pain is so diverse, not every pain management center is the same, so consult a doctor and set up introductory meetings to make sure your pain management center can effectively treat your medical conditions.

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