Patient assessed quality of life is one of the principal end-points after day surgery. The aim of the present study was to describe the natural course, differences and timing of final evaluation for three common day surgical procedures; inguinal hernia repair (IHR), arthroscopic procedures (AS); and cosmetic breast augmentation (CBA). A total of 355 patients prospectively completed an extended eight-item EQ-5D questionnaire (pain, mobility, mood, self-care, activities, sleep, sex, need for analgesic), preoperatively and at one, three and six months postoperatively. Pain and mobility problems were frequently reported prior to surgery among IHR and AS patients, while CBA patients had less deviation from normal in the preoperative health profile. The proportions of patients reporting surgery-related deviations were 35%, 20% and 5% at one, three and six months respectively. After one month, 50% of AS patients still suffered subjective discomfort as compared to 13% and 20% of the IHR and CBA patients, respectively. Pain and ambulation problems were the most common symptoms in all groups. Six months after surgery, 94% of IHR, 89% of AS and 97% of CBA patients were fully recovered. No major morbidity or severe complications were observed and patients' satisfaction was high overall. We found procedure-specific changes in the postoperative health profile after day surgery. AS patients recovered more slowly compared with IHR and CBA patients. We conclude that time for final evaluation differs significantly between procedures.