Following a story by USA Today that discussed unaccredited surgeons performing procedures usually performed by board certified plastic surgeons, Eugene plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel shared his views on the state of safe plastic surgery today.
In short, Dr. Daniel stresses the importance of a board certified plastic surgeon knowing their patients well. He also shares how plastic surgery procedures can be successful performed in outpatient procedures that are properly staffed and prepared to handle the patient as well as the procedure they undergo.
In my practice, I feel that very personalized care is what sets me apart. In my estimation, the Strax Rejuvenation and Aesthetics Institutes and Lifestyle Lift Centers all across the country have depersonalized aesthetic medicine and seem almost like Walmarts for cosmetic surgery.
I have seen patient after patient who have utilized these services and have had virtually no relationship with the physician/s who they allowed to operate on their bodies. When I have needed to do revisions, it has been virtually impossible to get those centers to send me the medical information that I need (i.e. operative notes, followup notes, etc).
These centers are often destination centers where people from out of the area travel to the bigger cities from their smaller towns, many times hundreds or thousands of miles away. As such, it is very difficult to get the personalized service and care that is paramount in dealing with elective aesthetic surgery.
When a patient decides to go to some of the high-volume centers, they cease being an individual and merely become a number. I pride myself in being the face-to-face person who deals with my patients during their initial consult, their preop visit, and postoperatively. My patients even get my personal cell phone number so that they can reach me directly after surgeries as opposed to going through an answering service or tracking down a cross-covering physician.
Heavily marketed, high volume clinics, just by their nature, cannot provide this type of personalized service. As well, many physicians who have joined these clinics have perhaps had difficulty in private practice or perhaps have not devoted their entire practice life to aesthetic medicine.
I strongly feel that board certification in plastic surgery and a membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are paramount in finding a surgeon who is qualified to fully evaluate the options, who knows of the all options, and who can provide patients with plans that are not only tailored to their individual needs, but plans that are, first and foremost, safe.
I agree that it is smart to save money on paper towels and peanut butter, but when you are considering plastic surgery, if you consider going with the lowest cost, quickest, in-and- out, high volume center, you may get what you pay for!
I currently do all my aesthetic procedures at an outpatient center. It is strictly an outpatient center, and not affiliated with any overnight hospital. Patient selection is very important and patients who are high risk should probably not be operated on. I limit my surgeries to those that can be safely done as an outpatient. I do 6+ hour surgeries on patients virtually every week. The outpatient center has the lowest risk of any facility I have ever worked in.
If I were ever to get quite sick, I would absolutely want to go to a large hospital. The hospital is where sick people go, who have infections, and the bacteria level at hospitals is perhaps a little higher than at an outpatient center. I have tended to have a little higher risk when cosmetic surgeries where done in a hospital setting. As well, the inpatient staff at our local hospitals tend to see the cosmetic patients less frequently and have, on occasion, had some difficulty managing these patients.
One of the aspects of my outpatient center that allows me to have an extremely low risk and complication rate is the anesthesia staff that mans this center. These are dedicated outpatient anesthesiologists. Not uncommonly, with the fast-acting agents that we use for these outpatient procedures, patients are alert and up even in the operating room and able to answer questions and to assist in moving themselves to the recovery room stretcher. It is very rare for patients to have to stay in recovery for very long. Also, getting patients home is an important aspect in their recovery.
It is a prerequisite for all board certified plastic surgeons that work in outpatient facilities to also have privileges at local hospitals. Certainly, if someone needs overnight observation or has a complication, a board certified plastic surgeon can very easily transfer these patients to a hospital.
I absolutely do not feel that doing cosmetic surgery in a hospital setting will decrease risk. It is my feeling that it actually increases the risks and safety concerns. In addition, hospitals charges, with the level of middle management that is typically seen in bigger hospitals, are much higher than those of a well-run, efficient outpatient surgery center. I have seen estimates for hospital facility charges, not including the anesthesiologist fee, that are twice as high as my surgical fees for the same procedure.
Bottom line: I feel that outpatient surgery centers are safer, especially ones that deal with cosmetic patients frequently. They also allow for lower costs and better/safer care than most big hospitals. As well, I would reiterate that one should not only walk away from the large volume, depersonalized cosmetic surgery clinics, but they should run fast!
To learn more about how board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel safely performs many popular cosmetic surgeries in Eugene, please contact us. You can join our mailing list or call Dr. Daniel’s office today at (541) 687-8900.