VIRTUA Ambulatory Surgery Center

The Virtua Ambulatory Surgery Center opened in January 1994, providing the community with a state-of-the-art Outpatient surgical facility. Since that time over 110,000 procedures have been performed, averaging almost 7,000 per year. The ASC is unique in exclusively treating Outpatients, while having the convenience of being located directly across the street from Virtua Memorial Hospital.

There are four Operating suites and two Intervention rooms in which great varieties of procedures take place. Over the past 17 years, thousands of Laparoscopic Gall Bladder and Hernia operations, knee arthroscopies, gynecological, ENT and podiatric surgeries have been accomplished with great success. The Virtua-ASC ranking in categories of unplanned case cancellation rates and admission to hospital rates are among the lowest in the nation.

As verified by quarterly Patient Satisfaction surveys, the ASC has consistently impressed its patients with courteous professional service, in a highly efficient environment. Burlington Anesthesia Associates helped design and organize the ASC 13 years ago, and continues to contribute to its success on a daily basis.

You will typically arrive at the ASC 1 hour prior to your scheduled surgery, have your surgery and then spend an hour or less in the recovery room. However, some surgeries or medical conditions may require a longer recovery room stay.

Prior to surgery you will meet with an anesthesiologist, your medical history will be reviewed, the anesthetic plan discussed and your questions answered. An anesthesia consent form and patient billing form will also be completed. You will then meet with the operating room staff and walk back into the operating room.

Upon completion of the surgery you will spend approximately an hour in our recovery room. Once discharge criteria have been met, you will return to the preoperative area, be given post-operative instructions, and be escorted to your vehicle by one of our staff. You will only be discharged in the presence of an adult. Finally all of our patients will receive a post-operative phone call to ensure the operative experience was satisfactory.

Virtua Ambulatory Surgery Center Celebrates 17 Years of Innovation

Remember when your mom had gallbladder surgery and was in the hospital for a week? Or your husband had shoulder surgery and spent three days in a hospital bed? Well, those days are gone. Today, you can have gall bladder or shoulder surgery and be back home in just a few hours.

Years ago when we opened, we were on the brink of offering outpatient gallbladder and hernia surgeries," says Richard Gargiulo, MD, medical director of the Virtua Ambulatory Surgery Center. "Now, these as well as more complex surgeries are performed here every day. So, as we celebrate the center's 10-year anniversary, we're also celebrating a decade of innovation that has changed the way we do surgery."

Dr. Gargiulo, who has been with the Virtua Ambulatory Surgery Center since it opened, continues: "Laparoscopic technology is among the most significant advances in medicine. Laparoscopy uses a fiber optic instrument and video imaging that allows the surgeons to make much smaller incisions," he explains. "This approach, along with laser equipment, has reduced complications, side effects and recovery times."

Minimally invasive means less stress

An increasing number of surgeries have become minimally invasive, causing less stress on the patient's body. For example, we now regularly perform laparoscopic ovarian surgeries, arthroscopic wrist and ankle surgeries, and laser procedures for retinal, gynecological and orthopedic conditions. The center also offers the latest in pain management techniques designed to directly relieve pain without causing nerve damage including ultrasound guided regional anesthesia nerve blocks.   

"There have also been great breakthroughs in anesthesia," says Dr. Gargiulo, a board-certified anesthesiologist. "New anesthesia equipment and shorter-acting medications allow for rapid recovery and help patients feel more comfortable when they wake up."

Dr. Gargiulo continues: "And, aggressive prevention and treatment of side effects such as nausea help to avoid the need for patients to be hospitalized. In this regard, our scores are better than most other surgery centers in the United States." In addition, the center ranks in the top 10% for patient satisfaction in the United States.

Patients recover at home

One of the most important benefits of outpatient surgery is that patients can recover at home. Dr. Gargiulo explains: "Most patients are ready to leave the surgery center within a few hours. With detailed patient education instructions, they can then recover in the comfort of their home."

Over the past 17 years, the Virtua Ambulatory Surgery Center has proven to be a premier provider of outpatient surgery. As a part of Virtua Health, the surgery center is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and held to the commission's rigorous standards of care. The center's proximity to Virtua Memorial Hospital Burlington County also brings peace of mind to both patients and employees.

Part of a nationwide trend

National statistics show that the trend toward outpatient surgery has steadily increased since the early 1980s. According to the American Hospital Association, in 1980, only 16.3% of a community hospital's surgeries were performed on an outpatient basis. In 2001, that number rose to 63%, and continues to grow as technology and medicine develop further.

Dr. Gargiulo expects the Virtua Ambulatory Surgery Center to keep pace with these advances. "What we've seen in the past 17 years is amazing," he concludes. "We look forward to bringing more innovative surgery options to South Jersey in the decades to come."