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What is a Medical Procedure?

By Pamela Pleasant
Updated Feb 26, 2024
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A medical procedure is a series of actions performed to help a patient with a medical condition. It can also be done to diagnose an illness or to treat a disease. Tests, including X-rays and ultrasounds, are also considered medical procedures. These procedures are used to determine how to treat the patient. There are several procedures done by medical doctors as well as dentists.

When a patient enters a doctor’s office or an emergency room, there are immediate tests or procedures done even before the initial illness or condition is addressed. This is typically done to check the overall health of the individual. For example, a patient may have to have a blood pressure test. An arm cuff is placed on the patient to measure the blood flow. Every action taken to determine the blood pressure is considered a part of this medical procedure.

Diagnostic tests are done to check for certain conditions or diseases or to test the body’s endurance. A cardio stress test is a medical procedure used to test the strength of the heart. During this test, the heart is stimulated by physical exercise, drugs, or by an electrocardiogram. The patient’s vital signs are recorded before and after the stimulation. This type of medical procedure can determine if any heart problems exist, as well as the overall health and strength of the patient.

Certain surgeries also include a series of actions to correct a problem or to make a diagnosis. A biopsy is a medical procedure in which certain tissues are removed from the body and examined for diseases or abnormalities. This includes removing fluid from a certain area. Cancers can be detected by checking these fluids for abnormal cells. This medical procedure is referred to as an aspiration.

An autopsy is a medical procedure performed on a person who has died. It is done to find out the cause of death or any diseases or injuries that may have caused the death. A pathologist examines the body and, depending on the patient’s history, he can examine specific organs or tissues. Autopsies can sometimes determine if foul play was a factor in the death.

Medical procedures can range from painless tests to life-threatening surgeries. The most common procedures are blood transfusions, child-birth-related procedures and diagnostic tests. Dangerous medical procedures include open heart or brain surgeries.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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