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Confusion Over Term “Elective” Could Be Deadly


When you hear the term “elective” procedure, do you hear “optional”? If so, you’re not alone. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been lots of confusion over the term elective. Unfortunately, that confusion could have deadly consequences.

An elective procedure or surgery is one that can be scheduled in advance. In other words, it isn’t urgent or emergent. Examples of urgent or emergent conditions include acute appendicitis or trauma.

Just because an elective procedure can be scheduled in advance does not mean that it’s optional. Many elective procedures and surgeries, if not performed, will lead to additional health complications; some of them permanent. For example, most surgeries to remove cancer are technically elective since they can be scheduled in advance.

Part of the confusion may arise from the fact that in addition to treating serious conditions, elective procedures and surgeries can also include optional surgical procedures. Examples of optional, non-medical procedures include a facelift or liposuction.

If there are medical indications for a procedure, it may be elective, but it isn’t optional due to the impact it could have on your long-term health.

Gastroenterology Procedures

In gastroenterology, there may be a medical need for an upper endoscopy or a colonoscopy. If left untreated, some conditions like GERD/Chronic Acid Reflux could ultimately lead to more serious conditions like cancer. An upper endoscopy can be used to diagnose GERD and develop the most appropriate treatment plan.

A colonoscopy, or colon cancer screening, can not only detect cancer but remove precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer. Those who delay getting their colonoscopy will not know if they have precancerous polyps, colon cancer, or a completely clean bill of health. If the patient has colon cancer and it goes untreated, it could be deadly.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US, and it’s largely preventable. However, an estimated 53,000 Americans will die from colorectal cancer this year.

We’re committed to keeping you safe and healthy during the pandemic. That means taking every precaution necessary to prevent transmission of COVID-19 while continuing to offer life-saving colon cancer screenings.

If you’re 45 or older and have never had a colonoscopy, you’re due. Schedule a colonoscopy today.


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