What is the difference between "undergo" and "have been through"?

I have undergone a 10 hour surgery to fix my bone fracture.

I have been through a 10 hour surgery to fix my bone fracture.

  • 1
    There's no significant difference between to undergo and to go through in your context except that the former is slightly more "formal", and thus slightly less common (particularly in casual speech among less educated people with smaller vocabularies). People with more extensive vocabularies would be more likely to say I underwent a 10-hour surgery, but that's very slightly "quaint" to some. Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


In your example there is no difference. However, there are some differences.

For example, one would say

I have been through the worst.
I have undergone the worst.
( meaning: I come through the worst )

We have been through thick and thin.

but not

We have undergone thick and thin.

Also undergone could mean one is still undergoing something

He's undergone surgery and should be finished in two hours.

He has been through surgery.

is strictly in the past and is equivalent to

He underwent surgery.

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