The two most common surgical operations and procedures performed in EU hospitals (out of all surgical operations and procedures for which data are collected) are cataract surgery and cesarean sections.
In 2021, cataract surgery was the most common surgical operation in the EU, performed 4.32 million times across the EU countries, marking a 4% decrease from 2019 (4.49 million), before the COVID-19 pandemic led to general delays across medical specialties both in consults and surgeries.
France recorded the highest rate of cataract surgery per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021: 1,417 times per 100,000 inhabitants. France was followed by Austria (1,340 times per 100,000 inhabitants), Estonia (1,310), Luxembourg (1,286), and Czechia (1,253).
In contrast, cataract surgery was performed only 261 times per 100,000 inhabitants in Romania. The rates were also low in Hungary (480 times per 100,000 inhabitants), Malta (509), Poland (528) and Bulgaria (662).
In 2021, less than 10% of cataract surgeries in 19 EU countries were conducted as in-patient procedures. Cyprus (0.2%), Slovenia (0.4%), Spain (0.7%), and Denmark (0.9%) reported the lowest rates, while Bulgaria (55.2%) and Romania (54.5%) had over half of their cataract surgeries performed on in-patients.
Over the decade from 2011 to 2021, the proportion of in-patient cataract surgeries declined in most EU countries with available data, except for Finland (increasing by 0.6%) and Estonia (increasing by 0.5%).