Surgery: Improving Quality of Life


Each year in New Zealand more than 140,000 elective (or planned) operations are completed within the public health system.

Elective surgery is where patients have a scheduled, non-emergency operation as part of a treatment plan. Although the range of elective surgery operations is very wide, from a child having dental surgery to an elderly patient having a cataract operation, they all aim to improve quality of life.

For example, surgical treatment of dupuytrens contracture, where the fingers bend towards the palm and cannot be fully extended, allows a person to maintain their independence by enabling them to perform everyday tasks such as opening jars and peeling potatoes. Cataract surgery is another example where dramatic improvements to a patient's vision can be made by a simple surgical procedure which replaces the natural lens that has developed an opacification with an artificial intraocular lens.

While some elective surgery will require an overnight stay in hospital, constant improvements in technology and techniques mean an increasing number of people can have their surgery and go home on the same day.