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List of Top 20 Outpatient Surgical Procedures

March 18, 2019 BY Alanna Moriarty

List of Top 20 Outpatient Surgical Procedures

The most commonly performed outpatient surgical procedures vary significantly between hospitals and surgery centers. While both care center categories reported high volumes of joint aspirations and injections, a larger percentage of surgery center procedures included injections compared to hospitals.

Top 10 Outpatient Surgeries at Hospitals

Rank CPT Code Description Number of Procedures
1.  11042 Debridement of subcutaneous tissue, less than 20sq cm    448,703  
2.  12001 Simple repair of superficial wounds of scalp, neck, axillae, external genitalia, trunk and/or extremities (including hands and feet) 387,447  
3.  20610 Aspiration from or injection into a major joint (shoulder, hip, knee) 353,297  
4.  12011 Simple repair of superficial wounds on face, ears, eyelids, nose, lips, mucous membranes; 2.5 cm or smaller 267,752  
5.  66984 Cataract surgery with intraocular lens implant, 1 stage 231,238  
6.  12002 Simple repair of superficial wounds of scalp, neck, axillae, external genitalia, trunk, and extremities; 2.6 cm to 7.5 cm 212,567  
7.  10060 Drainage of skin abscess 196,954  
8.  29125 Application of forearm splint 194,654  
9.  62323 Injection(s) of diagnostic or therapeutic substance(s), i.e. anesthetic, opioid, steroid, etc) 172,528  
10.  47562 Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) 153,357  

Fig 1 Outpatient surgery data from Definitive Healthcare’s Commercial Claims Analytics platform. Surgical procedures by volume data is from CY 2017, and does not include biopsy procedures, diagnostic tests, or blood drawing.

Hospitals and surgery centers both reported high volumes of cataract surgeries with intraocular lens implants. Similarly, surgery centers reported injections of drugs into the eye as one of the most common procedures, though it does not make an appearance on the hospital list. Procedures like cataract surgeries and joint replacements are common in outpatient settings because patients generally report shorter recovery times and require less physician monitoring than for other surgical procedures.

Top 10 Outpatient Surgeries at Surgery Centers

Rank CPT Code Description Number of Procedures
1.  66984 Cataract surgery with intraocular lens implant, 1 stage 848,563  
2.  20610 Aspiration from or injection into a major joint (shoulder, hip, knee) 592,390  
3.  67028 Injection of drug into the eye 225,248  
4.  64483 Injection of transforaminal epidural into lumbar/sacral spine 218,745  
5.  66821 YAG Laser Capsulotomy; after cataract laser surgery 181,564  
6.  62323 Injection(s) of diagnostic or therapeutic substance(s) into lumbar/sacral spine (i.e. anesthetic, opioid, steroid)  143,457  
7.  64493 Paravertebral injection to facet joint, lumbar/sacral spine, 1 level 138,535  
8.  64494 Paravertebral injection to facet joint, lumbar/sacral spine, 2 level 107,268  
9.  64415 Injection of nerve block (anesthetic agent) 100,024  
10.  69436 Create eardrum opening 97,654  

Fig 2 Data from Definitive Healthcare’s Commercial Claims Analytics platform. Surgical procedures by volume data is from CY 2017, and does not include biopsy procedures, diagnostic tests, or blood drawing.

Another area where hospital and surgery center procedures differ most is in the debridement and repair of superficial wounds. These make up 4 of the top 10 procedures at hospitals, but none make an appearance on the surgery center list. Where hospital outpatient centers include emergency departments, where these types of procedures would most commonly be performed, surgery centers do not offer such a service.

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