Top 10 procedures performed at surgery centers 

As medical technology advances and guidelines for routine inpatient surgeries relax, physicians can perform more procedures in an outpatient care setting. This shift in care is often beneficial for patients, as procedural costs at an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) are sometimes lower than at a hospital or other inpatient facility. 

While most hospitals offer outpatient surgery or ambulatory surgery options, ASCs have been praised as a superior choice for certain procedures. This preference is largely due to facility efficiencies and greater regulatory controls for reimbursements under the outpatient prospective payment system.  

Definitive Healthcare tracks nearly 3,000 procedure types performed at more than 11,000 ASCs. The following lists rank the top 10 procedures performed at surgery centers by procedure volume and total charges. 

Top 10 most performed procedures at ambulatory surgery centers 

Rank 

HCPCS/CPT Code 

HCPCS Description 

# of Procedures 

J1095 

Injection, dexamethasone 9% 

1,778,924 

C9290 

Injection, bupivacaine liposome 

1,272,025 

66984 

Extracapsular cataract removal W/O ECP 

1,262,068 

J0585 

Injection, onabotulinumtoxinA 

1,054,763 

43239 

EGD biopsy single/multiple 

534,980 

45380 

Colonoscopy and biopsy 

474,640 

45385 

Colonoscopy w/lesion removal 

442,408 

64483 

Injection, anesthetic agent &/steroid transforaminal EPI L/S 1 

325,617 

66821 

After cataract laser surgery 

277,468 

10 

64493 

Injection, paravertebral facet joint L/S 1 LEV 

236,213 

Fig 1. Data from SurgeryCenterView database is based on 2019 Medicare Ambulatory Surgery Center Limited Data Set. Calendar year data is projected to be released each January by the CMS. The most recent data is from calendar year 2019 due to COVID-19. Accessed July 2022. 

What is the most commonly performed procedure at an ASC? 

It’s important to note that the most recent data are from the 2019 calendar year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2019, CPT code J1095—injection, dexamethasone 9%—was the most performed ambulatory surgery center procedure, with more than 1.7 million total procedures reported. Code C9290, injection, bupivacaine liposome and code 66984, extracapsular cataract removal W/O ECP were the second and third most performed procedures, with 1,272,025 and 1,262,068 total procedures reported, respectively.  

A few of the most common outpatient procedures are diagnostic procedures of the gastrointestinal (GI) system, such as colonoscopies and esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGD). These procedure types appeared three times on this list, with a combined total of more than 1.4 million total procedures in 2019.  

Cataract-related surgeries also topped this list, with more than 1.5 million procedures reported in 2019. 

In addition to cataract and GI-related procedures, epidural injections are also 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. 

The following list details the top 10 procedures performed at ASCs by total charges.  

Top 10 procedures performed at surgery centers by total charges 

Rank 

HCPCS/CPT Code 

HCPCS Description 

Total Charges 

66984 

Extracapsular cataract removal W/O ECP 

$1,192,895,470  

63685 

Insertion or replacement of spinal neurostimulator pulse generator 

$275,199,219  

45385 

Colonoscopy w/lesion removal 

$220,135,623  

45380 

Colonoscopy and biopsy 

$198,832,584  

63650 

Implant neuroelectrodes 

$184,021,963  

43239 

EGD biopsy single/multiple 

$169,234,494  

0191T 

Insertion anterior segment drain int 

$120,803,617  

64483 

Injection, anesthetic agent &/steroid transforaminal EPI L/S 1 

$113,719,666  

66982 

Extracapsular cataract removal complex W/O ECP 

$88,141,441  

10 

64635 

Destroy lumb/sac facet injection 

$83,691,307  

Fig 2. Data from SurgeryCenterView database is based on 2019 Medicare Ambulatory Surgery Center Limited Data Set. Calendar year data is projected to be released each January by the CMS. The most recent data is from calendar year 2019 due to COVID-19. Accessed July 2022. 

The most recent data on surgery center procedures are also from the 2019 calendar year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Extracapsular cataract removal, CPT code 66984, had the highest total charges, with $1,192,895,470, followed by the insertion or replacement of spinal neurostimulator pulse generator, CPT code 63685, with more than $275 million in total charges.  

Similar to the first list, this list of procedures by total charges features codes related to GI procedures, cataract procedures and injections.  

What is outpatient surgery? 

Outpatient surgery refers to medical procedures that healthcare providers perform in outpatient settings like ASCs. Patients having outpatient surgery do not need to stay overnight in the hospitals or other inpatient settings.   

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