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Safety first: What you can do to mazimize your safety
Ensuring your safety with any surgery or procedure is a team effort among the patient, the facial plastic surgeon, and the skilled staff at the facility. As the patient, it is your responsibility to become fully informed about the surgeon, the facility, the staff, and the procedure, and to explicitly follow the pre- and post-operative guidelines determined by your physician. This will facilitate a safe and reliable outcome for your procedure.
Facial Plastic Surgeon.
Make sure that your facial plastic surgeon is board certified and adequately trained. Physicians who are board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) have had one year of general surgery residency after medical school, followed by four years of residency in otolaryngology head and neck surgery, a one year fellowship in facial plastic surgery (optional), a rigorous two-day exam, and peer review of at least 100 surgical procedures. Be sure to ask your physician about credentials and experience.
Confirm that the facility where you will have your procedure is accredited or in the process of being accredited by one of the following organizations: the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), 847-853-6060 or www.aaahc.org; the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), 888-545-5222 or www.aaaasf.org; the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), 630-792-5005 or www.jcaho.org; or licensed by the state in which the facility is located. The accreditation process makes certain that the facility is adequately equipped; meets fire, sanitation, and building codes; has been inspected and evaluated; and meets specific standards that assure patient safety and the efficiency of the facility and the equipment.
Ask about the training of the office staff. You want to make sure that you will receive individual monitoring by skilled, licensed personnel before, during, and after the procedure.
Provide your physician and anesthetist (if receiving anesthesia) a full medical history. Your physician will also want to know any current medications and supplements that you are taking (and may advise to temporarily discontinue). Follow the pre-surgery guidelines explicitly they are for your safety. Before having your surgery make sure you ask your surgeon questions such as: How long will the recovery take? How much work should I plan on taking off? What kind of help will I need during my recovery? You will be given instructions on medication and care for the optimal recovery process. Your surgeon will advise you on when you can safely resume your normal routine. Also, to avoid pigment changes, protect yourself from sun exposure. Again, it is of utmost importance that you follow the directions and contact your physician with any questions.
Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery can be performed safely and effectively. Your facial plastic surgeon is a specialist and will make sure you feel comfortable with your decision and receive the best of care with optimal results. Remember to acquire information, do your homework, and maintain open communication with your physician.