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What Is Elective Surgery?

Elective surgery is surgery that is planned in advance. It is not urgently required due to an emergency. Examples may include hip- or knee-replacement surgery. Many people choose to have elective surgery at some point in their lives.

Elective surgery allows you to prepare in advance for the surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, prior to the procedure, you and your doctor may discuss blood management options if there is a possibility of significant blood loss during the procedure.

A common major elective surgery is arthroplasty, or the rebuilding or replacement of a joint. Knee and hip surgeries are the two most common joint-replacement procedures. Knee and hip arthroplasty procedures are performed on approximately 939,000 people annually in the United States.

In some types of orthopedic surgery, blood loss can be significant. As many as 2 to 3 units of red blood cells may be required for a total-hip or -knee arthroplasty. With these kinds of procedures, it is important that you discuss blood management options with your surgeon. Additionally, as many as 1 in 5 patients preparing for a hip or knee replacement may be anemic.

If you have anemia, your surgeon may choose to treat your anemia or even postpone surgery until your red blood cell count reaches an acceptable level.