How long does surgery take?

Many patients ask me how long surgery takes. The answer is more complicated than it may seem. Usually, a “standard” cataract surgery is short by surgery standards, but the number of minutes a cataract surgery actually takes from incision to completion does not represent how long the process takes the patient. There are so many steps to get patients ready for surgery and then so many steps after surgery that I always worry that estimates of actual surgery time might be misleading. I usually end up telling patients that they will be at the surgery location for “several hours,” which I hope covers the range of possibilities that can happen with surgery, pre-operative tasks, and post-operative tasks.

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