There are many reasons to have surgery. Some operations can relieve or prevent pain. Others can reduce a symptom of a problem or improve some body function. Some surgeries are done to find a problem. For example, a surgeon may do a biopsy, which involves removing a piece of tissue to examine under a microscope. Some surgeries, like heart surgery, can save your life.
Some operations that once needed large incisions (cuts in the body) can now be done using much smaller cuts. This is called laparoscopic surgery. Surgeons insert a thin tube with a camera to see, and use small tools to do the surgery.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Cryotherapy (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Getting a Second Opinion Before Surgery (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
- Informed Consent (American College of Surgeons)
- Laparoscopic Surgery - What Is It? (American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons) Also in Spanish
- Medication Use Before Your Operation (American College of Surgeons)
- Minimally Invasive Surgery (American Society for Reproductive Medicine)
- Speak Up: Help Avoid Mistakes in Your Surgery (Joint Commission) - PDF Also in Spanish
- What Is a Ventilator? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- What Is Elective Surgery? (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation)
Health Check Tools
- Question Builder: Be Prepared for Your Next Medical Appointment (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Surgery of the Future App (National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering)
Statistics and Research
- Technologies Enhance Tumor Surgery: Helping Surgeons Spot and Remove Cancer (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Surgical Procedures, Operative (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Diagnosis and treatment of sciatica.
- Article: Safety and Cost-Effectiveness of Outpatient Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty in the Ambulatory...
- Article: Hospital length of stay following first-time elective open posterior lumbar fusion...
- Surgery -- see more articles
- Laser Surgery -- see more articles
- Postoperative Pain -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Blood donation before surgery (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Getting yourself healthy before surgery (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Smoking and surgery (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Tests and visits before surgery (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- The day of surgery for your child (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- The day of your surgery - adult (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish