All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > Doctors & Hospitals > When Your Child Has Surgery > What Is Elective Surgery?
What Is Elective Surgery?

I've heard the term "elective surgery," but I'm not sure what it means. Is it just a procedure that you choose to get, like a nose job?
- Heather

Though the name "elective" might imply that this type of surgery is optional, that's not always the case. An elective procedure is simply one that is planned in advance, rather than one that's done in an emergency situation.

A wide range of surgical procedures can be considered elective. Cosmetic surgeries fall into this category, but so can things like ear tubes, tonsillectomies, and scoliosis surgery. Although these procedures may be done "electively," they can be significant and potentially life-saving operations.

Another category is an urgent procedure. This is something that must be done that day or possibly the next day (for example, an appendectomy).

If your child is scheduled for elective surgery, you should receive instructions from your doctor about how to prepare and what to expect. You might consider asking questions such as:

An important point to remember is that your insurance company may have specific requirements about elective surgeries. It might only reimburse procedures performed by "in-network" providers or may require you to get a second opinion. You'll want to find out whether or not your insurance will cover the entire cost of the operation, the hospitalization, the prescriptions, and any other associated fees.

It's a good idea to call your insurance provider to check up on these things when you're in the early stages of planning elective surgery.

Reviewed by: Charles D. Vinocur, MD
Date reviewed: May 2012

Related Articles
P    Anesthesia Basics
T    Anesthesia Basics
T    Electronic Health Records
P    Financial Management During Crisis
T    Finding Low-Cost Medical Care
P    Finding Your Way in the Health Care System
T    Health Care: What Do You Know?
T    Health Insurance Basics
T    Health Insurance: Cracking the Code
P    How to Find Affordable Health Care
P    Preparing Your Child for Anesthesia
P    Preparing Your Child for Surgery
P    Talking to Your Child's Doctor
K    What Happens in the Operating Room?
T    What's It Like to Have Surgery?
P    Who's Who in the Hospital
K    Word! Surgery
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved