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Dec 26

Holiday Surgery

Most people do not consider the holidays as the perfect time for undergoing a surgery of any kind. They would rather be spending time with friends and family than lying in a hospital bed or recovering at home while everyone else is having fun. However, there may be good reasons to consider having surgery over the holidays. Think about these points.

It may be a good financial decision. Insurance deductibles reset to zero on the first of the year, and if you have met your deductible it makes financial sense to have the surgery before the end of the year. For example, if a Medicare patient has met their Part A deductible for a given year, having the procedure might save over $1300.

Paid vacation and sick leave may not carry from year to year. Many people get paid vacation over the holiday and can combine the vacation and sick leave. This also allows them plenty of time to recover before returning to work.

Patients may get greater support during the holidays. Of course, this cuts both ways. In some cases, the holidays may be less convenient for your family. However, if they have fewer outside obligations that have to be met at this time of year, and can give a family member the extra care they might need, it may make sense to have a late-year procedure.

A lot of general surgery procedures can be safely put off until a time chosen by the patient. Gallbladder surgery, thyroid surgery, hernia surgery and some cases of vascular surgery can often be performed at a later date. However, there are some circumstances where no delay is possible. There have been some studies finding that holiday surgery is more dangerous than procedures performed on non-holidays. There seems to be greater morbidity and mortality on days like New Year’s Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving.

When you think about it, there is a good explanation for this. Like all people, the surgeons and operating room staff want to be home for the holidays; for that reason, only the most urgent procedures are performed. They would be the most high-risk patients on any day they were done. For the typical patient, end of the year surgery is certainly safe, and it may be a desirable option.

Our office will be more than happy to answer any question you may have about procedures like laparoscopic hernia surgery, minimally invasive breast surgery, bariatric surgery or other areas included in general surgery. Please contact our office by phone at (386) 210-9794 or by using Contact Dr Birkedal. Our offices, located in Daytona, New Smyrna and Palm coast are all part of the Florida Hospital Network.

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