Safety in Plastic Surgery Procedures


When you decide to have plastic surgery, it is important to choose a facility carefully. Although these procedures have a low risk of complications, patients should still take the time to research medical clinics and plastic surgeons. A 2018 review of outpatient cosmetic surgery procedures published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal found that they are safe for most patients as long as they are done at an accredited outpatient facility by a qualified surgeon. You should keep the following in mind when deciding where you want to perform their cosmetic surgery.

Operating Room Standards
Operating rooms where outpatient cosmetic surgery procedures are performed should meet ambulatory surgical center standards. There are various accrediting organizations. Currently, the gold standard for national ambulatory surgery center is set by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), which has established very stringent standards in surgical rooms. These standards ensure that outpatient facilities are able to provide high-quality care in a safe environment, which helps reduce the risk of complications. Facilities that meet these standards have passed thorough inspections that include routine evaluations of operating rooms, recovery rooms, staff and other areas.

Depending on the plastic surgeon you choose your surgery may be performed either at a fully accredited outpatient surgery center or a hospital. Aside from the surgical facility, your choice of plastic surgeon is critical to ensuring the results you want in the safest way possible.

Watch a video on considering surgical facility when selecting a plastic surgeon

Plastic Surgeon Credentials
When choosing a plastic surgeon, you should find one who is Board Certified and maintains privileges at a local accredited hospital. These privileges ensure that patients who do experience complications can be admitted immediately and receive the care they need. Board certification should be given by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The rigorous requirements set by the ABMS provide for the highest standards for patient safety while reducing the risks and complications of procedures. The surgeon should also have experience performing the procedure that the patient intends to have. During your initial consultation, review patient case studies along with before and after photos for your procedure of interest to get an idea about the surgeon’s skills and experience. If possible try to evaluate before and after photos of patients with a natural body that’s similar to yours to get a realistic idea of what your results you may obtain.

Read more about how to look at before and after photos

Staff Considerations
Selecting an outpatient plastic surgery facility also involves making sure that qualified and experienced staff are available. If anesthesia will be used, Board Certified anesthesiologists should administer it, and registered nurses should provide continuous monitoring while patients are sedated. Certified registered nurse anesthetists are also able to administer anesthesia.

Research Surgeons and Medical Clinics
You can mitigate the risks associated with outpatient plastic surgery procedures by choosing a qualified surgeon and accredited surgery center. This research should focus on ensuring that the medical clinic is state licensed and accredited and the plastic surgeon has the proper credentials. Also, you should research the staff at the medical clinics to make sure that they will be receiving care from qualified professionals who have the right experience.
Having your procedure performed by a qualified plastic surgeon at an accredited surgical center to help ensure you can achieve your desired aesthetic goals in a safe setting. To check on the certifications and accreditations check the following sources:

American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) for doctor board certification
Your state to verify licensing
Accreditation organizations like the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)