Surgeries And Risk Go Hand-In-Hand
With any surgery comes the risk of infection. Healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, happen when a patient contracts an infection while receiving treatment. The illness is sometimes unrelated to the procedure and can happen at any medical institution. An ambulatory surgical center, or ASC, is no different. However, patients may be surprised to know the risk of infection is significantly lower.
What’s an ASC anyway?
Ambulatory surgical centers are institutions whose sole focus is to perform outpatient, elective surgeries. These medical centers have surgeons, nurses, support staff, and technology to perform dozens of outpatient procedures daily. Some of these include joint replacements, eye surgeries, and colonoscopies. Hospitals can perform many of these surgeries. However, several unavoidable factors can delay or reduce the surgery’s success.
Hospitals vs ASC infection rates
The CDC estimates that close to 2 million infections happen at hospitals every year. Some of these infections are even fatal. Common conditions include urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, and blood infections. Despite the large number, hospitals carry only a 1% infection rate. An ambulatory surgical center has far outperformed these rates. In fact, some statistics show that ASCs have a 0.1% infection rate. In other words, statistically speaking, a patient is 10 times more likely to contract an infection at a hospital. These are impressive numbers, although statistics can vary. Even so, how are ASCs able to outperform larger counterparts?
A high focus on quality
With an ASC, the focus is on patient quality. These centers need a steady flow of patients to stay afloat. Therefore, each ASC focuses on high-quality standards, which includes keeping infection rates down. ASCs can double-down on sterilization techniques, screening protocols, and other vital processes. Stringent processes mean several patients can enter, get treated, and leave without the stress of infection.
Extended hospital stays increase your risk
For most procedures, even minimally invasive ones, the patient may need to stay overnight. The longer the stay, the greater the risk of infection. On the other hand, ASCs are solely outpatient centers, meaning no patient stays overnight. Focusing on elective, outpatient procedures means that the risk of infection is significantly less.
Open vs minimally invasive procedures
Some hospitals still need to complete open surgeries. Open surgeries mean longer recovery time and a higher risk of infection. Ambulatory centers usually perform minimally invasive procedures. These procedures use a device called an arthroscope or endoscope. Each has a small camera attached to give the surgeon a clear view of the site. These tools can also hold smaller surgical instruments to make surgeries efficient and effective. Two or three cuts the size of a buttonhole bring lower infection rates compared to large incisions.
Reduce the risk of infections with an ASC
A 1% infection rate at a hospital seems insignificant. However, patients should not take the chance, especially with minimally invasive surgeries. Due to high-quality standards, fast turnaround, and efficient procedures, the risk at ASCs is low. Risk-free surgery is not guaranteed. Most ASCs aren’t in charge of post-operative care and can be unaware of an infection. Nevertheless, an ASC is an excellent option for elective surgery. Speak with a doctor about choosing the right ASC today.