Summary: What are the most common surgical procedures and imaging procedures? Well, it’s not exactly what you’d think. We like data, facts and figures, so when North Carolina posted price information recently, it wasn’t just the prices we were interested in.



The data was posted as part of North Carolina’s transparency initiative under a 2013 law. On the state web site, the page Transparency In Health Care Costs carries this information:

“This act is designed to improve transparency in the cost of health care services provided by hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers and to ensure fair health care facility billing and collections practices. The intent is to address the difficulty consumers experience in obtaining meaningful price information prior to receiving services in healthcare facilities. This act requires licensed ambulatory surgical centers and licensed hospitals to provide full disclosure for in-patient and outpatient services in clear, concise language to the public on costs associated with various medical and surgical procedures.”

The statewide 20 most common outpatient surgical procedures for ambulatory surgical centers and hospitals by CPT code, with associated medical descriptions, are listed in below.

The 20 most common surgeries start with shoulder and knee arthroscopies, which is interesting not only because the usefulness of the surgery has been questioned by numerous studies, suggesting that physical therapy is more effective.

Then come tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, several kinds of endoscopies, several kinds of colonoscopies (interesting because that is not exactly a surgical procedure), injections like epidurals, carpal tunnel surgery, cataract surgery and ear tubes.

For imaging, it’s CT scan of the brain, followed by MRI of the brain. Then come a range of X-rays and CT scans.

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20 Most Common Outpatient Surgeries
common medical procedures
North Carolina 20 Most Common Imaging Procedures




Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...