Surgery Center: November 22, 2011

Every year, 57 million outpatient surgeries take place in the U.S. To handle the volume communities are welcoming new ambulatory surgery centers. Lee Memorial Health System opened a state of the art facility one year ago.

“The only thing we do here is surgery,” says Kathy Fairfax, Director of the Outpatient Surgery Center of Lee Memorial Health System.

Kathy and her team staff the surgery center. They include anesthesiologists, surgical techs, pre-op technicians, RNs and administrative personnel. Everyone is in place to take in patients.

“Here to greet the patients as early as six o’clock in the morning; we have a team of nurses here at six o’clock as well to meet our patients. We begin the process of getting them admitted,” says Kathy.

The only professionals who rotate in are the surgeons. Dr. William Wittenborn performs many of his breast procedures here.

“As long as the patient’s going to be able to recover within a defined time period and they don’t need significant post operative pain control and they’re a good risk patient, then a lot of things are done typically outpatient,” says Dr. William Wittenborn, a plastic surgeon with Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

The surgery center is well suited for elective, non-emergency procedures. Fact is many of today’s most common procedures don’t require an overnight hospital stay.

Among the more frequent procedures are breast surgeries, urological, gastrointestinal and gynecological procedures. Studies show for discretionary surgeries it’s more efficient than going to the hospital.

“If you start on time and you keep to your time, you can keep on time all day and there’s no delays. As opposed to the hospital where, they have the emergency room, they have people adding on cases that need to be done because people are sick in the hospital,” says Dr. Wittenborn.

Research shows patients are less anxious going to outpatient surgery centers, and are generally happier with the experience.

“Our patient satisfaction scores have been phenomenal and we just want to continue that,” says Kathy.