Top Surgeries in the U.S.

The top surgeries in the United States based on the number of surgeries performed every year are cataract, C-section, joint replacement, circumcision, broken bone repair, angioplasty and atherectomy, hysterectomy, cholecystectomy, stent procedure, and coronary artery bypass surgery.


  • Number of procedures: 3 million
  • Type of Surgeon: Ophthalmic Surgeon
  • Why/ when it is performed: Cataracts can make it difficult to do everyday activities as they can blur vision and cause light to glare. Cataract surgeries are done to treat cataracts and involve the replacement of the eye lens with an artificial lens.


  • Number of procedures: 1.3 million
  • Type of Surgeon: Obstetric Surgeon
  • Why/ when it is performed: C-sections are performed to avoid complications during surgery. Complications can arise from having had C-section surgeries before, issues with the placenta, having STDs like HIV and genital herpes (because of the risk of passing it to the baby during vaginal birth), medical conditions like hypertension and diabetes, having twins or triplets, slow labor, if the baby is too large, the baby is not in a head-down position, umbilical cord issues, if the baby is in distress, and if the baby has certain birth defects.


  • Number of procedures: 1.05 million
  • Type of Surgeon: Orthopedic surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: Joint replacement surgeries include knee (720,000 procedures) and hip replacements (330,000). Joint replacement surgeries are usually done when the patient suffers from arthritis and all other treatment options have been exhausted. The process involves the removal of a painful joint (hip or knee) and replacing it with an artificial one, thereby making walking easier.


  • Number of procedures: 1 million
  • Type of Surgeon: Obstetric Surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: Circumcision is performed as a religious ritual among Jews, Muslims, and some aboriginal tribes in Australia and Africa. In some parts of the world, like the United States, circumcision is a common procedure among newborn boys as it results in better hygiene and decreases the risks of certain diseases: urinary tract infections, STDs, penile cancer, and other penile problems. There may be a medical need for circumcision in adults, such as when the foreskin is too tight and cannot be pulled back easily.


  • Number of procedures: 670,000
  • Type of Surgeon: Orthopedic surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: Broken bone repair surgery is done when casting and splinting won’t help repair a broken bone, like when the fracture is a compound fracture or when the fracture is around the ankle, wrist, or knee joints. The surgery fixes the “broken bone using metal screws, pins, rods, or plates to hold the bone in place”. These surgeries are also performed in case of improper healing of a broken bone.


  • Number of procedures: 500,000
  • Type of Surgeon: Cardiothoracic surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: Angioplasty and Artherectomy are usually performed when the arteries of a patient have narrowed because of atherosclerosis. The narrowing of the arteries causes less blood to flow through them resulting in the lesser supply of oxygen to body parts.


  • Number of procedures: 500,000
  • Type of Surgeon: Obstetric and gynecological surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: A Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of uterus; in certain cases, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed. It is performed when there is either chronic pelvic pain; uncontrolled vaginal bleeding; cancer of the uterus, ovaries or cervix; fibroids; pelvic inflammatory disease; endometriosis; uterine prolapse; or adenomyosis.


  • Number of procedures: 460,000
  • Type of Surgeon: General Surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: Cholecystectomy is usually performed to treat gallstones. It is recommended by the doctor when there are gallstones in the gall bladder or bile duct, the gall bladder is inflamed, or when the pancreas is inflamed because of gallstones.


  • Number of procedures: 454,000
  • Type of Surgeon: Cardiothoracic surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: A stent procedure is usually performed in emergency situations. They are typically done when plaque attaches to the walls of a vessel and causes a blockage; the placement of the stent opens up the vessel. Stents can also prevent aneurysms from rupturing in the aorta, brain, or any other blood vessel.


  • Number of procedures: 395,000
  • Type of Surgeon: Cardiothoracic surgeon
  • Why/when it is performed: Coronary artery bypass surgery is performed when there is significant narrowing and blockage of the heart arteries. The surgery creates new passages for the blood that bypass the blocked or narrow arteries delivering more blood and nutrients to the heart.


The top surgeries performed in the United States have been identified based on the number of surgeries performed annually. Both inpatient and outpatient surgeries have been considered. Information pertaining to the reasons why the surgeries are performed has been gathered from sources such as WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and Healthline.

Surgical Patient: Demographics

An exhaustive search in the public domain shows that information on the general profile of surgical patients is non-existent and media coverage on the specified topic is scarce. The most relevant media mention is on one particular surgery or type of patient. We have provided helpful findings and detailed methodology pertaining to the topic below.



The gender distribution of cosmetic surgeries in the US was as follows:

  • Male: 13% of total procedures.
  • Female: 87% of total procedures.

The age distribution was as follows:

  • Age 13-19: 4% of total procedures.
  • Age 20–29: 16% of total procedures.
  • Age 30–39: 23% of total procedures.
  • Age 40–54: 34% of total procedures.
  • Age 55 and Over: 23% of total procedures.

Out of total cosmetic surgical procedures, the geographic distribution was as follows:

  • New England and Middle Atlantic: 19%
  • East North Central and West North Central: 16%
  • South Atlantic: 19%
  • East South Central and West South Central: 17%
  • Mountain and Pacific: 30%

The ethnic/racial distribution for cosmetic procedures performed was as follows :

  • Caucasian: 70%
  • Hispanic: 11%
  • African-American: 9%
  • Asian-American: 7%
  • Other: 3%



  • The average age of transgender patients who went through gender-affirming surgery was 29.8.
  • The largest income bracket represented was one of those surgical patients who earned over $70,000 a year (50% of patients had income information), with only 4 patients earning less than $40,000 a year.
  • Of all the surgical patients with employment data, 90% were listed as full-time employees.
  • The largest number of surgical patients in this category were residing in New York, California, and Texas.


  • Out of 243,104 patients with cataracts, 23.1% underwent one or more surgical procedures of which 55.1% were female.
  • In terms of geography, the highest age-standardized cataract surgery rate was in Lake Charles, Louisiana (37.3%) which was 5-fold higher than the lowest, Honolulu, Hawaii (7.5%).


  • According to the Center For Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery, the average age of adolescents undergoing surgery in their program is 16 years old.
  • According to a study by the researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, 80% of patients who undergo bariatric surgery in the US are female, despite the rates of obesity among American men and women being equal.


To find out the general demographic profile of a surgical patient, we deployed the following research strategies:

National Association of Surgeons and International Organizations

We started our search by looking into the websites of association of surgeons in search of research reports, white papers, survey reports, and similar articles available. The sources included American College of Surgeons, American Surgical Association: ASA, Association of Women Surgeons, Association for Academic Surgery, and more specific ones such as American Association for Hand Surgery, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, among others. Our aim was to find out either the general demographic profile or any report comparing the demographic data of a specific field of surgery with the overall surgery demographics. However, the data available is only limited to the number of surgeries conducted and segmented according to specific cases only according to the type of diagnosis/disease addressed. We also looked for the data in global databases such as WHO, World Bank or UN, but the data is still limited to the number of surgeries rather than going into the profile of the surgical patient.

Academic and Medical Databases:

Next, we looked for academic study reports as available in sources such as Academia Research Gate Google Scholar, and also in specific medical or surgery related databases which included PubMed from NCBI, The Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA, among others. Although there is information available in sources such as PubMed NCBI, it mostly consists of a specific type of surgery’s demographic details rather than the overall demographic profile of a surgical patient in the United States.

Providers of Surgeries i.e. Hospital Chains

Further, we looked into the websites of some of the largest hospital chains in the United States such as Hospital Corporation of America; Community Health Systems, Ascension Health, Catholic Health Initiatives, Trinity, Tenet Healthcare, among others. Our aim was to find out any report/study/survey that these organizations may have done on surgeries conducted at their facilitates. We were hoping to find out the demographic distribution data of surgical patients for multiple facilities (if available) of these providers so we could get an average of the general demographic profile of surgical patients. However, presumably owing to the confidentiality maintained around patient data, we could not find such demographic studies.

Medical news sources

Finally, we looked into the sources of medical news in the US including sites such as Medical News Today, News-Medical, WebMD, Healthline, Medscape, among others. Our aim was to find out whether these sources did any research on their own as a third party to find out which segments of the populace are the most vulnerable towards surgical procedures. However, these sources only have information around the prevalence of specific types of surgeries in the market in terms of total frequency, new technologies involved, among others. We could not obtain any information relating to the general demographic profile on these sources.
NOTE: After the above strategies, we concluded that information on the general demographic profile of a surgical patient is not available in the public domain. This could be because the research specific to the general profile of surgical patients hasn’t been conducted, the most relevant information found is specific to the particular surgery type or type of patient.

Hospital and Physician Practice Case Studies

Two case studies for successful marketing campaigns include the mixed level marketing techniques of Saint Francis and the SEO marketing campaign of Maricopa OBGYN.


  • Maricopa OBGYN created an ad campaign to gain new clients.
  • The physician practice worked to develop an expert Google Adwords and search engine marketing campaign, which generated new clients through the use of new web pages and specific keyword tactics.
  • The marketing campaign was directed at local women within the Maricopa area.
  • It was based on an advanced SEO metric that used keywords based on how often the keyword was searched and how the competitors used them.
  • The SEO search would direct new clients to a custom-designed web page that integrated into the practice’s existing page.
  • The web traffic would come through two separate advertisement data sets in order to utilize an A/B testing dynamic to better score the click-through rate of each ad.
  • The website gathered contact information from the new clients as well as provided contact information for Maricopa OBGYN.


  • Maricopa OBGYN’s marketing campaign was successful as it resulted in an increased rate throughout several parameters.
  • Within one month of advertising, the physician practice saw an increase of 14,000+ ad impressions with 500 ad clicks.
  • Its click-through rate increased by 3.17%, which was 66% higher than the standard click-through rate for Google Adwords.
  • Its call volume increased by 67%.
  • Maricopa OBGYN also had an overflux of new patients and had to change its hours of operation to accommodate them all.


  • Known as the “Pink Up Campaign,” this campaign was designed to target community awareness and promote mammogram services in the Saint Francis Healthcare chain of hospitals.
  • The marketing campaign uses a mix of marketing techniques, including ads on social media, ads on web page banners, outdoor marketing, direct mail sending, TV commercials, and print advertisements.
  • Examples of advertisements include a print flyer featuring information on mobile mammograms and multiple contact and branding information for Saint Francis. The marketing campaign runs annually throughout the month of October.
  • Saint Francis also uses community marketing by encouraging non-market target residents to “pink up” their homes with pink lights and decor as a way to show support and spread the word of the Saint Francis Pink Up Campaign.
  • The campaign costs roughly $200,000 per year, which is raised through various fundraising services.


  • This campaign has been successful as can be seen through the increase of multiple available metrics.
  • Saint Francis Healthcare Pink Up Campaign has shown that more than 4,100 low-income women and men have followed through with the services as a direct result of the campaign.
  • These services include over 200 free ultrasounds and other medical tests that have been provided.
  • In the Saint Francis Hospitals, a cancerous breast cancer screening is found two times more often than other similar hospitals.
  • Saint Francis Healthcare has raised $1.3 million towards breast cancer research as a direct result of the campaign.
  • On social media, the Pink Up campaign reaches 28,000 Facebook users yearly, has 5,175 followers, 347 likes, and 416 shares.
  • The marketing campaign was so successful such that other cancer screenings are now copying the same marketing tactic. Due to the campaign’s success, the hospital’s population health initiative now includes the region’s other top cancer threats — colon, prostate, and lung.


We defined “successful” by the overall metrics of success for the marketing campaigns of the hospital and physician practice, including their follow-through rates and social media reach, as well as the influx of new patients, which we have provided above.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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