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Understanding the Difference Between a Surgery vs a Procedure

Everyone has heard the words ‘procedure’ and ‘surgery’ when speaking to healthcare providers. These two words may have been used when talking about your health or the health of one of your loved ones. Both words are used frequently and often interchanged, but there is a difference. Being informed about the difference is the number one thing you can do to better understand how your doctor will take care of your health.

Keep in mind, the more informed you are the easier it will be for you to make medical decisions for yourself or others who are important to you.  

What is a Procedure?

Procedures are simple enough that they can be done at a clinic, in a doctor’s office or in a procedural area at the hospital. Procedures are less invasive than surgery. They have fewer risks of complications and have a quick recovery time for example:

  • Vasectomies
  • Fine needle biopsies
  • Cardiac catherization
  • Paracentesis
  • Laser treatments
  • Skin cancer removal
  • Colonoscopies
  • Uroscopies
  • Cataract removal and Lasik

Medications that help to reduce patient anxiety and pain are given. This cocktail of medication is different from surgery because as the patient you will not require a breathing tube or extensive monitoring. Most procedures are very quick and take more time to prepare and recover than to complete the actual procedure. However, like surgery, most procedures require you to have someone drive you to the appointment and home after the procedure. Someone should stay with you until the medication that was given during the procedure has worn off.

Once you are home you may only need over the counter pain medications like Tylenol© or Motrin© for any residual discomfort from the procedure. Recovery from a procedure is usually very quick, most people are back to their normal day to day lives within a day or two. There are alternative ways to manage pain without taking medications, check out our blog!

What is Surgery?

Surgery is more invasive and requires more monitoring than a procedure does. Patients who have surgery receive general anesthesia because the surgeon is going to have cut open the skin to work on a joint or an organ. Some surgeries have same-day discharges to home (breast augmentation) while others require extensive hospitalization (open-heart).

Pain is more of a concern with surgery so stronger pain medications like Percocet© are given to be taken at home. Stronger pain medications often comes with unwanted side effects like nausea, vomiting, excessive drowsiness, brain fog, loss of balance, urinary retention, and constipation. You will need to have someone with you at all times after surgery to make sure you are recovering ok and to take care of you until you can take care of yourself. If your family or close friends can’t help, or maybe you would keep your surgery private, you should hire a private nurse to take care of you.

Being informed-Recovery

Pain control, deep breathing, and walking are just a few of the ways to help you quickly recover from your procedure or surgery. Proper nutrition and hydration is vital to help your body heal. Part of completely recovering means going to all your follow up appointments to make sure your body is healing right. If you are in between doctor’s appointments and you are worried about anything related to your procedure or surgery, reach out to them.

Managing our health is often overwhelming. Healthcare is a complicated system and is difficult to navigate on your own. But! You do not have to do it alone. Navi Concierge Nurses are here to help you with the whole process.