HomeSurgery ArticlesThe 10 Most Common Surgeries in Australia

The 10 Most Common Surgeries in Australia

When you’re in pain or when you’re feeling ill, it’s easy to start thinking that you need surgery. However, not all surgeries are suitable or necessary in every situation, and sometimes alternative treatment like physiotherapy can be more beneficial than going under the knife. Here are some of the most common surgeries in Australia, what they treat, how common they are, and why there might be other options available.

1. General Surgery

General surgery, also known as operative or primary care surgery, is a branch of medicine that involves a variety of surgical procedures aimed at treating injuries and other problems of various parts of the body. General surgeons are responsible for treating patients with all types of injuries and conditions affecting internal organs, but they also deal with all areas of skin and soft tissue. In addition to performing routine check-ups, general surgeons may operate on cancerous tumours and perform reconstructive surgery to repair severe burns or wounds.

Having earned a bachelor’s degree, general surgeons spend four years in medical school, followed by a residency program that can take up to five years to complete.

2. Gut Surgeries

According to a report from The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, bowel surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in Australia. Of these procedures, endoscopic or minimally invasive surgery has become a popular option. Here are some statistics on gut surgeries – One out of five colonic surgeries conducted each year is an emergency procedure for haemorrhage. – Surgical emergencies account for about 15 per cent of all hospital admissions for children less than four years old. – In adults over 75 years old, colorectal cancer ranks as the third deadliest cancer diagnosis. – Bowel polyps are often precancerous and can be treated with surgical removal if they’re detected early enough.

3. Orthopaedic Surgery

The most common surgery performed in Australia is orthopaedic surgery, a speciality of surgery focused on the correction or restoration of musculoskeletal issues. Orthopaedic surgeons are typically specialists trained to diagnose and treat conditions that affect our bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. These include conditions such as fractures, joint injuries or pathologies Osteoarthritis that may require surgical intervention.

The most common procedures performed by orthopaedic surgeons include hip and knee replacements, spinal surgery for lower back pain, shoulder surgery such as rotator cuff repairs and elbow surgery for conditions like tennis elbow. Other specialties that fall under orthopaedics include sports medicine and paediatric orthopaedics.

4. Cardiothoracic Surgery

Being ranked fourth in most common surgeries, it accounts for 1.7% of all operations done by cardiothoracic surgeons, which is around 963 operations last year. It includes both simple and complex procedures like coronary artery bypass grafts (84%), congenital heart surgery (4%) and thoracic aortic aneurysm repair (1%). Rheumatology: Rheumatology, or joint diseases and disorders, occupy the first position in terms of most commonly performed surgeries.

This field specializes in treating heart and lung diseases as well as working on heart, lung, throat and thoracic issues. Its commonly performed surgical procedures include coronary artery bypass grafts (84%), congenital heart surgery (4%) and thoracic aortic aneurysm repair (1%). Orthopaedics: Together with rheumatology, orthopaedics accounts for 37% of all surgeries done by surgeons around these parts.

5. Neurosurgery

The most common type of surgery conducted by neurosurgeons is spinal fusion. In a spinal fusion procedure, a neurosurgeon removes bone spurs and/or discs from around a patient’s spinal column to alleviate pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Spinal fusions are typically performed to treat back injuries or scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Due to their high degree of precision, neurosurgeons are typically tasked with performing these procedures.

Epilepsy surgery is another common procedure performed by neurosurgeons. In epilepsy surgery, a surgeon removes the scar tissue or abnormal cells from a patient’s brain that are causing epileptic seizures. There are several different types of epilepsy surgeries, each with its risks and benefits, which make it important for patients to research before making any treatment decisions. Epilepsy can cause seizures lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on how serious it is.

6. Vascular surgery

Vascular surgery focuses on treating conditions that affect blood vessels. These may include diseases of blood vessels such as atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), aneurysms, and vascular malformations. It also includes vascular grafting, which is used to correct congenital and acquired arterial abnormalities. The most common reason for these surgeries is high blood pressure, which affects 40 per cent of men and women over 65 years old; kidney failure is another common cause.   Treatments often involve catheterization or surgical procedures, but they are sometimes done laparoscopically or robotically.

7. Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

This is one of, if not the most common medical procedures performed on patients who have coronary artery disease. During CABG surgery, your heart surgeon will bypass a blockage or narrowing in one or more of your coronary arteries by creating a new path for blood to flow. The goal is to improve blood flow and decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke.

8. Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery involves removing your damaged hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys or high-grade plastics. It’s one of the most common procedures performed on patients with osteoarthritis.

9. Cataract Surgery Cataract surgery

This is one of the most common eye surgeries performed. It’s used to treat patients with cataracts, which are a clouding of your lens that impairs vision. During cataract surgery, your surgeon will remove your cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The goal is to allow you to see again.

10. Appendectomy

Appendicitis is a condition where your appendix becomes inflamed and fills with pus. If left untreated, appendicitis can lead to a ruptured appendix, which will then cause complications throughout your body, such as sepsis or a perforated colon. For that reason, an appendectomy is one of—if not the most common medical procedures performed on children and adults alike.

Surgery Statistics Australia

In 2016, 61% of all medical procedures were general surgeries. This includes breast cancer removals, hernia repairs and tonsillectomies. Nearly 40% of surgeries (39%) were performed on patients over 65 years old. While general surgeries are still very common in 2016, some other surgical procedures have become less popular over time. For example, there has been a steady decline in hysterectomies – both for women’s health issues and benign tumours like fibroids – since 2000.

In 2016, over 5% of people underwent a dental procedure (5,277 total) including oral surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth or gum disease treatment. While they still make up less than 10% of surgeries performed across all age groups, there has been a steady increase in dental surgeries since 2000.

Cataract removal which removes a clouded lens from an eye and replaces it with an artificial one was performed on 9,777 patients in 2016. The number of surgeries for people over 65 has increased since 2000 as baby boomers age and need to replace their eyes’ natural lenses with artificial ones. Cataract removal surgeries are expected to continue increasing as Australians age through 2020.

Knee surgeries are used to treat arthritis, ligament tears, joint pain and other issues with knees. While many of these surgeries were done on people under 65 years old, over half (52%) were performed on patients over 55 years old. Nearly 1% of all medical procedures (936 total) included knee replacement surgeries – a total that has more than doubled since 2000.

This jump can be attributed to ageing baby boomers who need new knees as they age into their 60s and 70s. Knee replacements should continue increasing as we get older, but surgical rates have also increased significantly over time because surgeons have become better at performing these operations quickly with minimal impact on patients’ lifestyles after recovery.


Australian hospitals employ a diverse workforce, ranging from surgeons to general practitioners to medical assistants. Every medical profession plays an important role in keeping Australians healthy and treating those who are not. Most surgeries performed by Australian doctors fall into three broad categories: surgery, internal medicine and paediatric medicine. We hope you found our guide on medical common Medical Surgeries in Australia helpful.


1. What is medical surgery?

There are several medical surgeries you may need to undergo, and depending on which type of surgery you need, will determine if it is considered an invasive or non-invasive procedure.

2. Which medical surgeries are common in Australia?

The most common medical surgeries done in Australia include cataract surgery, open-heart surgery, knee arthroscopy and angioplasty.

3. Why do I need medical surgeries?

Medical surgeries can help treat or remove some types of diseases, infections, tumours and injuries that can cause serious pain and health issues like blindness for example. 

4. Do I have to pay for medical surgeries?

Generally speaking, medical surgeries offered through Medicare are free while private surgeries aren’t subsidized by any government body.

5. How do I book my medical surgery with my doctor?

Your doctor will book your medical consultation after carrying out an examination; you should discuss your symptoms thoroughly with them so they can decide what’s best for your specific case.


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