What is an Ambulatory Surgery Center?


Florida Medical Clinic

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are specialized medical facilities that provide outpatient surgical care. Outpatient means that a patient isn’t admitted to a hospital and can go home the same day of their procedure.

Before ambulatory surgery centers first opened in the 1970s, virtually all surgical procedures were performed in hospital settings. While hospitals can be trusted to provide quality care, they have their fair share of frustrations for patients seeking elective surgery, like scheduling delays and limited operating room availability.

Over the last few decades, ASCs have become a popular alternative to inpatient hospital settings thanks to their flexible scheduling options, calmer and more comfortable environments, and lower costs. 

At Florida Medical Clinic, we recognize that patients who need minor surgical procedures may be put off by extended hospital stays. That’s why we’re proud to offer three ambulatory surgery centers in North Tampa, Wesley Chapel, and Zephyrhills for patients who are looking for an alternate setting for minor surgeries in the Tampa Bay area.

What types of procedures can be done at an ASC, and what are the benefits of choosing an ASC over a hospital for outpatient surgery? 

Procedures Offered at Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Ambulatory surgery centers specialize in procedures that don’t require an overnight stay in a hospital but may be more complex than what an urgent care facility can offer. Some of the most common surgeries done at ASCs include:

  • Ophthalmology (eye) procedures, such as LASIK, cataract removal, and glaucoma treatment.
  • Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) procedures, such as tonsil removal, sinus surgery, and the removal of benign lesions.
  • Orthopedic procedures, such as minor fracture repairs, minor joint surgery, and injections.
  • Gastroenterology treatments,  such as colonoscopies, endoscopies, and polyp removal.
  • Vascular procedures, such as varicose vein treatment and pacemaker battery changes.
  • Urology/proctology procedures, such as vasectomies, kidney stone treatments, and prostate biopsies.

ASCs handle both elective and essential procedures, but they do not accept walk-in, urgent care, or emergency room patients. They may provide care outside of regular business hours, but most are not open 24/7 like a hospital.

Patients must receive a referral from a licensed physician to be treated at an ambulatory surgery center. ASCs are not family medicine or general practice offices. While some ASCs do perform diagnostic procedures, patients must have already been seen by a health care provider elsewhere in order to receive treatment for a specific condition.

If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately to be taken to an emergency room.

Benefits of Ambulatory Surgery Centers

After your doctor refers you to a surgeon, you may be able to choose whether you’d like the procedure performed at a hospital or an ambulatory surgery center. What’s the difference between the two, and is one option better than the other?

Having your surgery performed at an ambulatory surgery center has many advantages over an inpatient hospital stay, including:

  • Lower costs. At an ASC, patients often don’t have to pay for costs associated with overnight hospital stays.
  • Faster and more convenient care. Outpatient surgery is done in just a day, meaning you can typically go home right away.
  • Fewer rates of complications. Studies have shown that procedures done in ambulatory surgery centers have fewer reports of post-surgical pain and infections.
  • Reduced stress. ASCs typically provide a calmer setting than hospitals. Patients are also able to recover at home with their loved ones instead of having to stay in the hospital overnight.
  • Community-based. Many ASCs place serving their communities at the forefront of their work. By providing affordable, patient-centered care, physicians and nurses are able to focus more on the needs and comfort of individual patients. Many ASCs are even owned by the physicians who staff them.
  • Quality of care. ASCs must be certified by an organization such as the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) to ensure patient safety and the highest quality of care.

Ambulatory surgery centers provide more specialized care than what patients can receive from their primary care physicians, but they don’t offer all the services that a large hospital might. You should discuss with your doctor exactly which option is best for you.

Who can be treated at an ASC?

Outpatient surgery is a convenient option for many, but it’s not always appropriate for every case. In order to qualify for treatment at an outpatient surgery center, patients have to meet two criteria: 

  1. Patients must need a procedure that can be performed at an ACS. Some invasive or complex procedures cannot be performed in an outpatient surgery setting. Ask your doctor if the procedure you need can be performed at an ACS.
  2. Patients must be in good overall health with few or no underlying health conditions. If you’re at risk for certain serious complications or have severe underlying health problems, you may need to have your procedure done in a hospital setting. That way, health care providers can monitor you after surgery.

If you want to receive treatment in an outpatient setting and have a chronic illness (such as diabetes, lung disease, or a history of heart attacks), talk to your doctor. They can help determine if it’s safe for you to receive outpatient surgery.

Learn About Florida Medical Clinic’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers

For minor surgeries and procedures, Florida Medical Clinic’s ambulatory surgery centers can help patients save time and money without sacrificing the quality of care. 

We’re very proud of the fact that our ASCs are among the highest-ranked in Florida as reported by Newsweek. This achievement wouldn’t be possible with the team of licensed physicians, nurses, technicians, and support staff who are committed to making outpatient procedures safe, comfortable, and convenient for every patient.

To request an appointment or learn more about the procedures we offer, call us at one of our locations in North Tampa, Wesley Chapel, or Zephyrhills.

North Tampa: 813.978.1494

Wesley Chapel: 813.991.7575

Zephyrhills: 813.780.8266

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Always talk with your doctor before starting or stopping medications or treatments.


Ambulatory Surgery Centers

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