Elective surgery

What is Elective Surgery & Three Procedures to Improve Quality of Life

Does the thought of having surgery make you nervous? Having surgery, regardless of the reason, can make most people anxious. Surgery is a significant event that comes with both risks and benefits. But what about elective surgery, and what exactly is elective surgery? In this blog, we’ll answer that question and discuss how three elective surgical procedures you may not be aware of can help improve the quality of your life.

What is Elective Surgery?

By definition, elective surgery is a surgery that can be scheduled in advance as long as the condition is not a medical emergency or life-threatening. One can delay these non-time-sensitive surgeries without posing a significant risk to one’s health. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t important to one’s health. Read here for more on the differences between elective and non-elective surgery. 

It’s not uncommon to consider elective surgeries as not medically necessary. While elective surgeries include cosmetic procedures such as removing a mole or a wart, they also include joint replacements, repairing hernias, and removing kidney stones. 

Elective surgery characteristics.

Some of the key characteristics of elective surgeries are to:

  • Correct a medical condition
  • Address a health concern
  • Alleviate pain
  • Repair an injury
  • Improve the quality of life

    Three Elective Procedures You Can Benefit From

    As noted above, elective surgeries and procedures are scheduled in advance for conditions not deemed life-threatening. However, the absence of an emergency does not lessen its importance to a person’s overall health. 

    While there are many elective surgical procedures, in this blog, we’ll look at three procedures that address specific health concerns and how they aim to benefit and improve the quality of life. 

    They are:

    Varicose veins

    Heartburn/acid reflux


    Varicose Veins

    Varicose veins appear as enlarged and swollen veins in the leg that often look like twisted ropes under the skin. They are more common among women than men. Varicose veins can appear with age or after childbirth and can be genetic or trauma-induced. 

    Varicose veins often cause a dull, achy feeling in your leg. They can cause changes in the skin, such as a rash or a discoloration, and can cause the skin to become leathery and hard. 

    Elective surgery can help with more severe cases of varicose veins.

    For most individuals, the above treatments may not help alleviate their symptoms. In those cases, surgical options exist for those with more severe symptoms.

    There are two surgical options for varicose veins. They can be removed or taken care of with a closure procedure. Both procedures have to be pre-approved by your health insurance. Most will also require you to wear compression stockings for three months and have documentation of your symptoms before approval of any surgery. 

    Both surgeries are outpatient and same-day surgery. The recovery is minimal and often requires a day or two off of work, refraining from vigorous exercise for one to two weeks, and wearing compression stockings until the swelling is gone. 

    Many people think they can do nothing about varicose veins, which isn’t the truth. If you have varicose veins and want to learn more about your options, contact your doctor, who can refer you to a vascular surgeon, like myself, to look at your options.  

    Heartburn / Acid Reflux

    Heartburn is a burning feeling in your chest or a sour taste in your mouth. Other symptoms can be a cough or a hoarse voice. Acid reflux is when stomach acid rises into your esophagus, causing heartburn or other symptoms. Both are common in men and women. 

    Most people take prescribed or over-the-counter medications for their heartburn or acid reflux. Many people think they’ll have to take medicine forever for their heartburn and acid reflux. They aren’t aware there are other options, especially for severe cases. 

    In my work, I often see people who have been on these medicines for years, and frequently, their heartburn isn’t getting any better; it’s getting worse. As vascular surgeons, we get referred in these situations to perform an endoscopy. We look down the throat and usually see irritation in the esophagus or sometimes a stricture, where the esophagus is scarring shut. Long-term heartburn or acid reflux can even lead to esophageal cancer if not treated. 

    When I see patients for an endoscopy because of long-time heartburn, I want to educate them about the surgical options available to them. They can have a Nissen Fundoplication or a TIF (transoral incisionless fundoplication). Both procedures are same-day surgeries. 

    The benefit of these elective surgical procedures for heartburn and acid reflux is being able to stop taking medications and prevent esophageal cancer and complications like stricture. If you have long-term heartburn or acid reflux and are taking medications every day, ask your doctor about the available surgical options.


    Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins that occur around the anal canal. They are caused by increased pressure in that area stemming from constipation, straining during a bowel movement, and most often from pregnancy. 

    The most common symptoms from hemorrhoids are drainage, itching, or discomfort in the area, and sometimes bleeding. If you have bleeding with your hemorrhoids, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to make sure there isn’t anything more serious happening, such as a polyp in the colon or colon cancer. You may need a colonoscopy with your hemorrhoid surgery, depending on your symptoms and age. 

    Hemorrhoid surgery is the most effective surgical procedure for removing hemorrhoids and is a same-day surgery. It’s often thought of as a pretty painful procedure. Still, with advances in anesthesia and pain medication, it can be performed with minimal discomfort. There is also minimal downtime, and most only need over-the-counter pain medications for their pain.  

    Hemorrhoid surgery is another elective surgical procedure that most people often don’t think about. Many people frequently believe they’ll have to live with them forever and use hemorrhoid cream. This procedure is often easy to get covered by insurance. If you have severe hemorrhoid symptoms, reach out to your doctor today to see what this surgery could do for you. 

    Making a Decision for Elective Surgery

    Before deciding about any elective surgery, it’s crucial to look at the whole picture, including potential pre-operative assessments, potential risks and complications, the recovery process, and any alternative treatment options. Having any of these or other elective surgeries can provide many benefits and improve your quality of life. Be sure to have a thorough discussion with your doctor and surgeon. If you need help deciding what questions to ask your surgeon beforehand, I’ve compiled some of the top questions to ask, which you can read here

    Elective surgeries offer many advantages for those looking to enhance their health and overall well-being. From this blog, I hope you’ve understood elective surgery and its potential benefits to improve the quality of your life. With this glimpse into the world of elective surgery, I aim to provide you with care beyond the visit.

    * It’s good practice to verify whether your insurance company requires pre-authorization before undergoing any medical procedure.

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