Ambulatory and Inpatient Procedures

Contact: NCHS Press Office, (301) 458-4800


Series 13, No. 139. Ambulatory and Inpatient Procedures in the United States, 1996. 124 pp. (PHS) 98-1798. GPO stock number 017-022-01438-6. [PDF – 836 KB]

The latest data on surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed in the United States are now available from the National Center for Health Statistics in a comprehensive report covering procedures performed in both inpatient and ambulatory settings. The report presents the latest findings from two components of the National Health Care Survey: The National Hospital Discharge Survey and the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery. The surveys are based on samples of discharges from samples of hospitals and freestanding ambulatory surgery facilities. This report presents data on surgical and nonsurgical (for example, diagnostic procedures such as endoscopies) procedures, including numbers and rates by sex, age, and geographic region. Highlights of this report include these findings:

  • In 1996, an estimated 72 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed on almost 40 million ambulatory and inpatient discharges combined. The number of discharges with procedures performed on an ambulatory and inpatient basis did not differ significantly–about 20 million each–but hospital inpatients were likely to have more procedures performed during the hospital stay than those utilizing an ambulatory facility.
  • Women were more likely than men to have surgery. For ambulatory patients and hospital inpatients combined, women accounted for 59 percent of discharges and 58 percent of procedures. The discharge rate was 37 percent higher and the rate of procedures was 34 percent higher for females than males.
  • Rates of discharges and procedures increased with age. Children under 15 years of age had the lowest number of procedures. Only 4.3 million procedures–6 percent of ambulatory and inpatient procedures combined–were for children. Persons 45-64 had (18.1 million) or 25 percent of the total. More than two-thirds of procedures were for persons 15-44 years age (24.2 million) and those 65 years of age and over (25.3 million).
  • Looking at the patterns by region in the United States, the South had the largest number of ambulatory and inpatient procedures combined, 23.5 million, compared with 16.4 million in the Northeast, 16.7 million in the Midwest, and 15.3 million in the West.
  • The leading surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed on ambulatory patients and inpatients combined were arteriography and angiocardiography, endoscopy of small intestine, endoscopy of large intestine, and extraction of lens. These four procedures were each done more than 2 million times in 1996.