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Total number of outpatient surgeries in past 12 months

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For sample children who had surgery during the past 12 months (SURGERYR), SURGRYROUTNO reports the number of outpatient surgeries they had during that time period. Interviewers asked, "Including any time you may have already told me about, how many different times has [sample child] had surgery done as an outpatient during the past 12 months?"

Note that the question associated with SURGRYROUTNO refers only to outpatient surgery, while the filter variable (SURGERYR) refers to both inpatient and outpatient surgery. Beginning in 2004, the NHIS no longer collected information only about the number of outpatient surgeries for sample children. Rather, beginning in 2004 for sample children, interviewers asked as a follow-up question to SURGERYR, "Including any times you may already have told me about, how many different times has [sample child] had surgery during the past 12 months?" Thus, beginning in 2004, information was collected on the total number of (inpatient and outpatient) surgeries sample children had during the previous 12 months (SURGERYRNO).


Differences in the survey instrument for the question associated with the filter variable SURGERYR (Had surgery in past 12 months) limit the comparability of SURGRYROUTNO across two time periods, namely, 1997-1998 and 1999-forward.


The question associated with SURGERYR asked, "During the past 12 months, [have you/has sample child] had surgery or other surgical procedures either as an inpatient or outpatient?" Beginning in 1999, interviewers were instructed to read, if necessary, "This includes both major and minor surgery such as setting bones or removing growths." (No guidance was given to interviewers on when such elaboration was "necessary").

Because the general public may not automatically equate "surgery" with minor procedures like the removal of a benign growth or the setting of a broken bone, the inclusion of the follow-up statement classifying these treatments as "surgery" probably increased completeness of reporting beginning in 1999. Thus, the pool of people giving responses in SURGERYRNO was probably more limited, and the definition of surgery they implicitly used was probably narrower, in 1997-1998 than in subsequent years. Analysts should therefore exercise caution in comparing results for 1997-1998 with those from later years. For further discussion of this point, see the variable description for SURGERYR.


  • 1997-2003: Sample children under age 18 who had surgery in the past 12 months.


  • 1997-2003