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An elective surgery is a planned, non-emergency surgical procedure. It may be either medically required (e.g., cataract surgery), or optional (e.g., breast augmentation or implant) surgery.
Elective surgeries may extend life or improve the quality of life physically and/or psychologically. Cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, such as a facelift (rhytidectomy), tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), or nose surgery (rhinoplasty) may not be medically indicated, but they may benefit the patient in terms of raising self-esteem. Other procedures, such as cataract surgery, improve functional quality of life even though they are technically an "optional" or elective procedure.
Some elective procedures are necessary to prolong life, such as an angioplasty. However, unlike emergency surgery (e.g., appendectomy), which must be performed immediately, a required elective procedure can be scheduled at the patient's and surgeon's convenience.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2000 over 40 million inpatient surgical procedures were performed in the United States. Ambulatory surgery accounted for 31.5 million procedures in 1996, the most recent year for which CDC data is available. Statistically, women were more likely to have surgery, accounting for 58% of ambulatory and inpatient procedures. This data includes both emergency and elective procedures.
There are literally hundreds of elective surgeries spanning all the systems of the body in modern medical practice. Several major categories of common elective procedures include:
Author Info: Paula Ford-Martin, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery, 2004
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