9 Drawbacks of Using a Hospital to Perform Surgery on You

Surgery is one of those medical words that can be bittersweet. No patient is thrilled about the idea of having and recovering from surgery. But, at the same time, it’s often a relief knowing that a nagging problem will be treated once and for all.


No matter what the reason is for your surgery, your top priority should be your health and safety. To protect yourself, you need to make the right choices in planning your procedure.

One of those vital choices is what type of facility your surgeon will perform surgery in. Some patients assume hospitals are best, but in truth, they have plenty of flaws. Here’s why you should consider a surgical center or specialized surgical hospital instead.

Why You Want Your Surgeon to Perform Surgery in a Surgical Center Instead of a Hospital

Some surgeons have a surgical location of choice. Others may give you an option of a specialized surgical hospital or a surgical center. Read on to find out the advantages of choosing a surgical center instead of a traditional hospital.

1. Infectious Diseases

Have you ever been in a hospital and taken a good look around? There are people in the building with all types of contagious illnesses and even the simple flu can become serious if you’re trying to recover from surgery.

While hospitals take precautions to keep the spread of diseases to a minimum, there’s only so much they can do.

At a surgical center, on the other hand, you’re only around other patients who are getting surgery for non-contagious issues like damaged joints or cancer.

As a result, you’re not exposed to as many infectious diseases as you’d find at a hospital.

2. Medical Attention

Hospitals are busy places. They’re treating surgical patients as well as medical emergencies and patients who need long-term care.

As a result, you never know how busy your hospital will be. If you happen to have surgery on a busy day, the medical staff will be spread thin. You may not get as much medical attention before and after surgery as a result.

3. Costs

When you have surgery, there are a variety of costs involved. You have to pay for the operating facility, the surgeon’s fee, the anesthesia fee and more. You’re also likely to have prescription medications to pay for and you may have imaging and testing costs too.

By having your surgery at a surgical center, you can reduce one of those many costs. In fact, surgical centers cost around half as much as hospitals do for surgery.

The reason for this is that hospitals have higher overhead. They’re distributing the costs of equipment, staff and the large building across all their patients. In other words, a large portion of your bill goes toward personnel and services you aren’t using.

Surgical centers, on the other hand, have more efficient facilities with less overhead. With fewer expenses, they don’t need to inflate your bill as much as hospitals do.

4. Availability of Emergency Materials

One of the reasons patients assume that hospitals are safer is because hospitals handle more emergencies. They have intensive care units and other resources that can help if you have complications from your surgery.

In truth, surgical centers are built for the specific purpose of performing surgery. They know all about the potential complications and have stocked up on supplies in the rare case that those complications arise.

In fact, you may have more access to these materials than you would at a hospital. 

Hospitals have a larger number of patients and they’re dealing with emergency situations more often which means you may have to compete with other patients for essential equipment.

In addition, hospitals are far larger buildings than surgical facilities. It will take longer for staff to get emergency equipment if it’s in the next room compared to a quarter of a mile away on a different floor of a hospital.

5. Number of Available Staff

As you may already know, hospitals across the country have struggled with staff shortages for years. There are plenty of theories about why it’s happening.

In some cases, it’s the fact that hospitals often pay less than other medical facilities. It may also have to do with the rising cost to get a medical or nursing degree. And, with our aging population, there’s also more demand for healthcare workers than ever before.

Whatever the reason is, it’s likely to impact the care you’ll get at a hospital. There’s no reliable way to know if your hospital is adequately staffed ahead of time. After all, it’s not something hospitals tend to advertise.

Surgical centers, on the other hand, don’t typically have the staffing issues hospitals do, leaving you more likely to enjoy a full, knowledgeable staff.

6. Scheduling

Scheduling surgeries at a hospital is a complex art (and a gamble). No matter how much planning a hospital does, unexpected emergencies happen. They never know when a patient will come in needing emergency surgery.

If your surgery isn’t time-sensitive, you’ll be the first one to get bumped off the schedule. Some patients have to reschedule their surgeries several times because emergencies have popped up. And, when you’re trying to arrange time off work and get a ride home from surgery, rescheduling can be a major problem.

This isn’t an issue you need to worry about at surgical centers and specialized surgical hospitals. These facilities typically only provide non-emergency surgeries, and as a result, provice a better chance of completing your surgery on time the first time.

7. Infection Rates

One of the largest risks for patients after surgery is developing an infection. Infections aren’t just painful and lead to a longer recovery; they can also become severe and life-threatening.

While some patients think of hospitals as more formal and sterile environments, they aren’t. In fact, surgical infection rates are far higher at hospitals than they are at surgical centers.

There are plenty of theories about why this happens. It may be that hospitals have more patients to handle or are short-staffed so they don’t follow through with as many safety protocols. Whatever the reason, it’s a risk you don’t want to take with your health.

8. Connected Staff

As we mentioned above, hospitals don’t always have enough staff to give all their patients as much attention as they need. However, their staff as a whole is far larger than a surgical center’s staff.

As a result, hospitals are more likely to take a tag team approach to patient care. In a busy surgical recovery room, your care may get passed around between a variety of staff members. If those staff members aren’t communicating well about your care, the information could fall through the cracks.

At a surgical center, on the other hand, the staff/patient balance is more controlled. Each nurse oversees fewer patients at a surgical center compared to a hospital, so each patient gets the attention and care they deserve. 

If there are aspects of your health that need extra monitoring, the more cohesive the staff’s communication about it is, the better.

9. Environment

Stress has a serious impact on your health, especially when you’re going through a surgery. Issues like heightened heart rates and increased blood pressure put you at risk for surgical complications. In fact, data shows a link between stress levels and higher complication rates.

This shows us how important it is that you’re comfortable in your surgical environment. For many patients, hospitals are intimidating places that make them think of the worst case scenario.

Surgical centers, on the other hand, are built for a better surgical experience all around. They create a more comforting and calming atmosphere so you can have a safer, less stressful surgery.

This doesn’t just affect you. It also impacts family members or friends in the waiting area, too. (They can wait for you in the surgical center’s positive environment rather than watching others whose loved ones are dealing with life-threatening issues.)

Taking Charge of Your Surgical Experience

Surgery is always an important experience in a person’s life. Maybe your surgery aims to resolve a painful condition or improve your appearance and your confidence. Whatever the reason, you need to take the planning seriously.

As you choose the surgeon and the timing for your procedure, don’t forget about the facility. Ask your potential surgeons what facilities they use to perform surgery and why.

You may be surprised to find out how many surgeons would rather perform surgery in a surgical center instead of a traditional hospital. After all, they’ve seen all the benefits listed above with their own eyes!

If you’re planning surgery and want to find out more about your options, we’re here to help. Contact our surgical hospital to ask any questions you may have about precautions, staff and more…or to take the next steps toward your surgery!