Top 5 Safety Tips
Essential steps for a safe cosmetic surgery experience
1. Choose an experienced, highly trained plastic surgeon
Any licensed doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgery, regardless of how much cosmetic surgery training they have. That’s pretty scary, but you can easily dodge unqualified docs by making sure your plastic surgeon has received the proper residency training and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). A surgeon who meets these qualifications has undergone at least 6 years of surgical residency training (with 3 years solely in plastic surgery) and has passed rigorous testing to demonstrate proficiency.
For cosmetic procedures, it’s also important to make sure your plastic surgeon specializes in aesthetic plastic surgery vs. reconstructive surgery only. A good way to identify an aesthetic surgery specialist it to choose a plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Finally, make sure your plastic surgeon has experience with and regularly performs the procedure you want.
2. Make sure your procedure will be performed in an accredited surgical facility
There are several reputable accrediting organizations, so look for one of these in a prospective surgeon’s credentials:
- AAAASF. American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities
- JCAHO. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
- AAAHC. Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
Any of these accreditations mean the operating facility maintains proper standards for safety, equipment, personnel training, and emergency preparedness. While outpatient surgery centers and hospitals can be safe, suitable arenas for plastic surgery, a fully accredited, private surgery suite allows a plastic surgeon and support staff to concentrate fully on your surgery in a more intimate setting with fewer potential distractions.
3. Quit smoking before having cosmetic surgery
Healthy, non-smoking patients are at a greatly reduced risk for complications, and they enjoy a faster, more comfortable recovery. Smoking and nicotine use inhibits circulation, reduces blood oxygen levels, and puts you at an elevated risk for anesthesia complications and poor healing.
You MUST quit all nicotine a minimum of 4 weeks prior to and 4 weeks after having a tummy tuck, breast lift, breast reduction, or another procedure where skin is repositioned, such as facelift or rhinoplasty. Reputable surgeons often refuse to perform these procedures on patients who currently smoke. While quitting is not mandatory before every procedure, it is always better for your health to stop smoking.
4. Disclose your complete medical history to your surgeon
Being honest and thorough about your health history is a huge factor in your safety. Many supplements, medications, and herbs can increase anesthesia risks or risk of bleeding after surgery, so you must tell your surgeon everything you take so that you can discontinue use of potentially risky substances well before surgery. Chronic medical conditions may also affect whether or not a procedure is safe and how your surgeon approaches surgery.
5. Make sure you have support during your recovery
If you, like many patients, are normally very active and independent, taking downtime after surgery can be a challenge. It’s essential that you have support from your friends or family as well as your surgical team throughout the recovery process to help you stay comfortable and assist you with certain activities until you are healed enough to complete them safely. When you interview surgeons, find out what you can expect in terms of communication and care from the practice before and after your procedure. We believe patients should have around-the-clock access by phone so that any question or concern that pops up can be addressed quickly.
We make patient safety our top priority at Granite Bay Cosmetic Surgery. You can learn all about our approach to patient care at a personal consultation with Dr. Christa Clark.