Office Surgery: Guidelines for Patient Safety

New York, NY (February 27, 2004) — According
to American Society for Aesthetic Plastic
Surgery (ASAPS) statistics, in 2003, 52%
of all cosmetic procedures (surgical and
nonsurgical) were performed in office-based
surgical facilities (another 23% of procedures
were performed outside the hospital setting
in free-standing surgicenters). Published
data have shown that accredited office-based
facilities have a safety record comparable
to that of hospital ambulatory surgery settings.
However, the alarming fact is that most
office-based surgical facilities are unaccredited.
ASAPS encourages prospective patients to
make sure their office-based cosmetic surgery
meets the following requirements:

  • The operating surgeon is certified by
    the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
  • The office-based surgical facility is
    accredited by a nationally or state recognized
    accrediting agency, or is state licensed
    or Medicare certified. Nationally recognized
    accrediting agencies include the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the Joint Commission
    on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
    (JCAHO), and the Accreditation Association
    for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).
  • The surgeon has privileges at an accredited
    acute care hospital for the specific procedure
    being performed.
  • Patients undergoing procedures that involve
    sedation are appropriately

    monitored by registered nursing personnel.
    If general anesthesia is used, it is administered
    by a board-certified anesthesiologist or
    certified registered nurse anesthetist.
  • The emergency equipment and anesthesia
    monitoring devices in the surgical facilities
    are equivalent to those that would be necessary
    for the same surgical procedure performed
    in a hospital or freestanding ambulatory
    surgery center.
  • Provisions are made for hospital admission
    in the event of unforeseen complications.
  • There is a separate recovery area with
    monitoring equipment equivalent to that
    which would be necessary for the same procedure
    performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgery
  • Until the patient is fully recovered,
    a physician is at the site, in addition
    to a registered nurse.
  • Discharge from the facility is always
    determined by the responsible surgeon.

Ensuring patient safety is key to ASAPS’
mission. As of July 2002, all ASAPS members
have agreed to perform surgeries that require
anesthesia (other than local anesthesia
and/or minimal oral or intramuscular tranquilization)
only in an accredited, state-licensed or
Medicare-certified facility. It is the Society’s
position, backed by published data, that
when the above guidelines are followed,
office-based surgery is a safe, convenient
and cost-effective option for properly selected

This document was updated from September 8, 2003.


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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