Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) continue to be the focus of healthcare industry leaders seeking to reduce overall care costs. The expansion of care delivery outside of the traditional hospital setting correlates with falling costs, improved outcomes, and increased rates of patient satisfaction. Because of their limited offerings and outpatient focus, ASCs can offer diagnostic and outpatient procedures at lower rates than hospitals and other inpatient centers — often with shorter wait times for patients.

According to Definitive Healthcare's commercial claims data, the most common surgical procedures at ASCs were largely diagnostic and focused on the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Colonoscopies and  esophagogastroduodenoscopies appeared 5 times on our list, with a combined total of 2.1 million procedures. Cataracts-related surgeries also made several appearances on the list, with more than 1.2 million total claims across three types of procedures. 

In addition to cataracts and GI-related procedures, epidural injections are the next most commonly-performed procedures. This trend is consistent with the role of ASCs in healthcare delivery, which is to offer affordable and effective care that does not require overnight observation or other hospitalization.

Top 25 Surgical Procedures at Ambulatory Surgery Centers

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CPT/HCPCS CodeDescriptionNumber of ProceduresAverage Charges/ProcedureExplore These Claims
1.66984Cataract surgery w/intraocular implant 1 stage939,706$2,869 Explore This Code
2.43239Esophagogastroduodenoscopy w/biopsy818,663$1,645 Explore This Code
3.45380Colonoscopy and biopsy714,440$2,417 Explore This Code
4.45385Colonoscopy w/lesion removal537,534$1,711 Explore This Code
5.20610Arthrocentesis, aspiration and/or injection, major joint or bursa479,423$284 Explore This Code
6.45378Diagnostic colonoscopy444,726$1,748 Explore This Code
7.36415Routine venipuncture309,851$15 Explore This Code
8.67028Injection eye drug239,291$525 Explore This Code
9.64483Injection(s), anesthetic agent and/or steroid, transforaminal epidural, with imaging guidance220,014$1,927 Explore This Code
10.66821Discission of secondary membranous cataract 199,618$1,002 Explore This Code
11.64493Injection to paravertebral facet joint lmbar/ sacral spine 1 lev155,509$2,017 Explore This Code
12.62323Injection(s), of diagnostic or therapeutic sub­stance(s), lumbar/sacral spine148,340$1,590 Explore This Code
13.64494Injection to paravertebral facet joint lmbar/ sacral spine 2 lev119,804$1,446 Explore This Code
14.64415Nerve block injection brachial plexus100,289$1,251 Explore This Code
15.64636Paravertebral facet joint nerve destruction93,202$2,013 Explore This Code
16.69436Create eardrum opening92,433$2,812 Explore This Code
17.64484Injection into foramen, epidural add-on92,029$1,469 Explore This Code
18.64635Paravertebral facet joint nerve destruction, single facent joint85,461$2,721 Explore This Code
19.66982Cataract surgery complex74,897$3,118 Explore This Code
20.29881Knee arthroscopy/surgery73,505$5,021 Explore This Code
21.43235Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, diagnostic brush wash72,863$1,157 Explore This Code
22.20611Arthrocentesis, aspiration and/or injection, major joint or bursa, w/ ultrasound70,056$378 Explore This Code
23.20550Injection into tendon sheath/ligament69,345$204 Explore This Code
24.17000Destruction of benign or premalignant lesion68,440$120 Explore This Code
25.29826Shoulder arthroscopy/surgery67,527$4,310 Explore This Code

Fig 1. Data from Definitive Healthcare based on 2018 commercial claims data. Commercial claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States. Data is updated monthly.