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This idiom pops up in many articles, yet I have yet to find a definition of it, because it's always used in a specific context (e.g. surgical stabilization of the spine)...

I know that the meaning of stabilization is to keep a patient's state from degrading too much until he can be treated at a medical facility, but is this even related to surgical stabilization?

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  • Have you consulted a dictionary for "stabilization"? – Bryan Krause Mar 10 at 14:37
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    Stabilization can happen anywhere, inside a hospital or out. It's not necessarily just to prevent degradation until reaching a medical facility. A surgeon tying off a bleeding vessel would be an example of surgical stabilization and that would almost always happen in a hospital. Needle thoracostomy and surgical cricothyrotomy would be examples of surgical stabilizations that are sometimes performed by paramedics outside of a hospital. – Carey Gregory Mar 10 at 16:09
  • Okay, so it can happen anywhere, that makes sense. But if I got that right, surgical stabilization is nothing more than, basically, stabilization achieved through surgical procedures (i.e. it doesn't refer to a specific kind of procedures, they just have to stabilize a patient's condition). – David Cian Mar 10 at 17:08
  • Yes, you're correct in the above comment. @CareyGregory, I would not consider a needle thoracostomy or a stat cric "surgical" any more than needle aspiration of a cyst is surgical. They are invasive and may be life saving (thus do stabilize), but surgical stabilization is more than that. Surgical stabilization implies a need to visualize the thing one is attempting to repair surgically, like a leaking aortic aneurism. – anongoodnurse Mar 10 at 20:53
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    @DavidCian I think you've got it right. You should consider answering your own question. – Carey Gregory Mar 11 at 0:12
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Stabilization means taking action so that a patient's state does not degrade. While this is often performed by paramedics, in order to be able to transport a patient to a medical facility for further treatment, it is also performed in hospitals, e.g. to stop bleeding during surgery.

Surgical stabilization is stabilization through surgical means. For instance, plating a fracture to ensure primary bone healing may be considered a form of surgical stabilization. In this case, it is a stabilization in the mechanical sense of the word as well, as the two bone fragments are stably held together.

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