Distinguishing interventions considered as “procedures” from those considered as “surgery” is important on multiple levels. In an era of team-based care, it is important to designate those interventions which can be safely performed by an appropriately trained and credentialed non-physician provider. These interventions are generally associated with lower risk of complications, including infection, bleeding, scarring, and pain. The classification of an intervention as a “procedure” should be based on the intervention being performed, and not based on the location at which the procedure is performed or the level of anesthesia or sedation being utilized.


A procedure is a short interventional technique that includes the following general categories:

  • non-incisional diagnostic or therapeutic intervention through a natural body cavity or orifice
  • superficial incisional or excisional diagnostic or therapeutic intervention that does not involve repair or significantly alter morphology
  • device placement into a natural cavity 
  • subcutaneous implant
  • injections

All other invasive interventions (including superficial incisional or excisional procedures and placement of devices or implants that require repair) are considered “surgery.”

Approved by the Executive Board: January 2018
Reaffirmed: March 2023