Office Surgery: Background

New York, NY (August 9, 2000) — American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certified surgeons were the first to identify the potential threat to patient safety posed by substandard care in unregulated office-based surgical facilities. In 1980, they created the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) to help ensure patient safety. Today, with more than 500 accredited outpatient surgical facilities, AAAASF is the largest accrediting organization of ambulatory facilities in the U.S.

  • Despite growing concern, the vast majority of ambulatory surgery facilities are unaccredited, operating independent of any peer review and inspection process. In most states, a doctor without surgical training can legally perform surgery in an unaccredited office-based facility, independent of peer review and inspection.
  • In 1996, California became the first state to mandate accreditation for all outpatient surgical facilities that administer sedation or general anesthesia. Subsequent actions were taken by Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and Texas. Others states are expected to follow.
  • Surgical procedures can be safely performed in accredited facilities outside the hospital. Published data confirm that the rate of complications for plastic surgery performed by American Board of Plastic Surgery certified surgeons in accredited office-based facilities was less than 1/2 of 1% (0.47%) in over 400,000 operations, a safety record comparable to hospital surgery.
  • Advantages of office-based surgery include greater privacy and convenience, more personalized attention, and avoidance of possible exposure to hospital-based infectious agents. While costs are sometimes lower, high quality care should be the determining factor in choice of facility.
  • Proof of facility accreditation by a state or nationally recognized accrediting agency, should be requested by anyone considering office-based aesthetic surgery, along with verification in writing of the doctor’s privileges at an accredited, acute-care hospital for the procedure being performed. Surgeons should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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