The Southeast area's first separate facility for same-day or ambulatory surgery opened Monday on the grounds of Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier.
The Same Day Surgery Center, which cost $2.7 million to construct and equip, houses three surgical suites, two recovery rooms and a sitting-room area where patients can be joined by family or friends. About 90 surgeries a week are expected at the center.
Ambulatory surgery, which requires no overnight stay, has been provided by Presbyterian Intercommunity for several years, but hospital officials said the increased demand for such services necessitated opening the new center.
"It came about from a combination of patient and physician demand," hospital spokeswoman Judy von der Nuell said. "Nearly one-third of all surgical procedures done are on a same-day basis, and that figure will continue to grow."
Dr. David Smith, the center's medical director, said the center will be able to provide less costly surgical care.
"It will be easier to keep accurate track of the actual costs without overlap from regular hospital surgeries," Smith said. "We will be able to provide lower prices for patients without shorting as far as equipment or personnel."
Some of the surgical procedures that can be provided on a same-day basis are cataract surgery, biopsies, hernia repairs, and some orthopedic and gastrointestinal procedures.