Ambulatory Surgery

Spectrum Orthopaedics Ambulatory Surgery

With advances in surgical techniques and technology, many orthopaedic procedures can now be performed on an ambulatory (outpatient) basis—so you can go home the same day as your operation.

Spectrum Orthopaedics surgeons perform thousands of outpatient procedures each year—making them one of the most experienced ambulatory surgery teams in all of Maine.

They’re supported by a skilled team of anesthesia providers (including doctors and nurse anesthetists), nurses, surgical technologists, sterile processing technicians, and physician assistants who specialize in orthopaedic care in the ambulatory setting.

The orthopaedic outpatient procedures we perform

Our expert surgeons perform a wide variety of orthopaedic procedures  at our ASCs. Below is more information on procedures we most commonly perform.

  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction: The ACL is one of the key ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint
  • Arthroscopic joint surgery: Arthroscopy enables your surgeon to see inside a joint and repair some types of damage with pencil-thin surgical instruments, without making a large incision. It can be used on hand, wrist, ankle, foot, knee, shoulder, and hip joints.
  • Carpal tunnel release and trigger fingers
  • Foot surgery (Portland only)
  • Fracture repair
  • Joint replacement (Portland only)
  • Rotator cuff repair

Where Spectrum performs ambulatory orthopaedic surgery

For your convenience, Spectrum’s orthopaedic surgeons perform outpatient procedures at facilities in southern, central and western Maine.

These include hospital-affiliated outpatient surgery facilities as well as two state-of-the-art Spectrum orthopaedics-only ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) in Portland and Auburn. Our ASCs are:

  • Accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), having met rigorous national standards for quality and safety
  • CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)-certified which means that the facility meets high standards related to anesthesia, operating and recovery rooms, medical staff, and nursing services in order to be reimbursed by Medicare

Find the ambulatory surgery center nearest you.

What to expect from ambulatory orthopaedic surgery

At Spectrum, our goal is to ensure you have a safe, positive and personalized experience at every step of your outpatient orthopaedic surgery:

You’ll have a preoperative interview where we’ll review your medical history, explain what to expect, and answer any questions you may have.

  • You’ll receive written information about your procedure, your care team, what to do in the days prior to your surgery, and how to help yourself heal after you go home
  • Depending on your individual medical needs, you may be asked to have preoperative testing such as lab work or an EKG
  • You may be asked to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, cardiologist, or other specialist to have medical clearance before surgery. We want to be sure that you are as healthy as can be to have your ambulatory surgery and can go home safely
  • You may be required to have a COVID-19 test prior to surgery
  • You won’t be able to drive yourself home after your surgery, so please be sure to make arrangements to get home after your discharge

When you arrive at the surgery center, a nurse will admit you, check your vital signs, review your medications and start your IV.

  • You will see your surgeon to review the plan again and have the time to ask any final questions
  • You and your surgeon will mark the surgical site as well as review the consent form to confirm the planned procedure
  • For cases that do not require any anesthesia care (which we call “local only” or “wide-awake procedures”), you will not have to recover from anesthesia after your procedure. Instead, you are given a local anesthetic at the operative site to numb the area being worked on. If you are a candidate for this, it will be discussed with you and your provider
  • For surgical cases that require anesthesia, your Spectrum anesthesia provider will review your medical history, and discuss the anesthetic plan with you before proceeding
  • When you’re ready for surgery, you may be given IV sedation to help you relax
  • If you need a nerve block for your procedure to help with pain control, the nurse will assist the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery


Throughout your procedure:

  • You will be taken to the operating room and helped onto the operating room table, where your surgery will be performed
  • Your team will secure monitors to you to watch your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and oxygen levels
  • The surgical team will verify your procedure with you before administering anesthesia
  • The operating room team – which includes your surgeon, anesthesia provider, circulating nurse, surgical technologist and sometimes a first assistant, such as an advanced practice provider – will be monitoring you throughout the procedure

You’ll be moved to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and be monitored as you recover from the anesthetic

  • Even though you may not remember it, your team will wake you before leaving the operating room
  • Your nurse, surgeon, and anesthesiologist will continue to oversee your care, assessing and treating pain or other side effects
  • Once you are fully awake, you’ll be given a light snack and drink to ensure you’re feeling ok
  • When you feel ready to go home, you’ll receive instructions about activity, diet, pain medications, and other after-care instructions specific to your procedure
  • You will not be able to drive yourself home, so make sure you have transportation arrangements in place
  • A member of the surgical team will contact you the day after your procedure to see how you’re doing

The advantages of ambulatory surgery

Outpatient surgery, whether done at one of Spectrum’s orthopaedics ambulatory surgery centers or the outpatient surgery department of a hospital, can offer some significant benefits:

  • Easier recovery: The comfort and familiarity of being in your own home usually makes the recovery process easier and less stressful than a hospital stay
  • Lower cost: Because you have a shorter stay with no hospital room charges and related costs, having a procedure performed at an ASC is typically less expensive than inpatient surgery
  • Less risk of complications: Many studies have shown that people who have outpatient surgery in an ambulatory surgery center have less risk of complications than people who have surgery in a hospital


If you have questions about ambulatory orthopaedic surgery, please: Contact Us

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