The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Takes Time Out for Patient Safety

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is taking a Time Out to offer some suggestions to patients to help prevent wrong-site surgery and other preventable surgical mistakes for people having aesthetic plastic surgery.

First established by the Joint Commission in 2004, June 20th is the Annual National Time Out Day. In the operating room, Time Out is when the surgical team confirms the patient's identity, the correct surgical site, and the procedure being performed to help make your surgery as safe as possible. For ASAPS, honoring Time Out Day is part of the Aesthetic Society's Campaign for Patient Safety, an ongoing initiative to raise awareness of the steps that plastic surgeons and their patients can take to make cosmetic surgery safer. The Society's first campaign issue was focused on the prevention of venous thromboembolism; the second initiative was about prevention of hypothermia during surgery.

The surgical time out, including active communication among the surgical team, final verification of the correct patient, and marking of the operative site, help your board certified plastic surgeon make your surgery as safe as possible.   However, patients can also “take time out” to do their part to ensure their safety and satisfaction. 

Take Time Out to Check Board-Certification: A doctor's board-certification is the best indicator of his or her training in a particular medical or surgical specialty. Look for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only Board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify doctors in the specialty of plastic surgery.

Take Time Out to Check Facility Accreditation: Cosmetic surgery can safely be performed in a hospital, a surgicenter or an office-based surgical facility: Current published data show that accredited office-based facilities have a safety record comparable to that of hospital ambulatory surgery settings. However, the majority of office-based surgical facilities are not accredited. Another advantage of selecting an ASAPS member is that all ASAPS surgeons operate in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified facilities.

Take Time Out to Have a Thorough Informed Consent: The consultation is an important opportunity for questions to be asked and answered. It should include a candid discussion of risks as well as benefits of the surgery. A thorough consultation also involves a review of medical history including any existing medical conditions. All these factors assist the surgeon in custom-tailoring each operation to best meet the needs of individual patients.

Take Time Out to Get Marked Up: Ask to have the surgical site marked with a permanent marker and to be involved in marking the site. This means that the site cannot be easily overlooked or confused (for example, surgery on the stomach instead of the breasts).

Take Time Out to Check on Follow-up Care: Good surgical care does not end with the surgery. Patients should inquire about follow-up visits and about the doctor's policies should surgical revisions be necessary.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the leading organization of board-certified plastic surgeons specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery. ASAPS active-member plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 

The 2400-member American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is the only plastic surgery organization devoted entirely to the advancement of cosmetic surgery. ASAPS is recognized throughout the world as the authoritative source for cosmetic surgery education. U.S. members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Canadian members are certified in plastic surgery by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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