You have just scheduled your cosmetic surgery procedure. You were careful researching your Plastic Surgeon and procedure, making sure everything was just right.
- Did you look into the hospital or facility where the procedure will be performed?
- Are you sure you chose to have your surgery performed in an accredited surgical facility?
This is a detail that many people overlook, assuming the operating room will be fine. However, choosing an accredited facility is vital for a safe experience. Why would a Plastic Surgeon consider using a non-accredited facility? The answer is painfully obvious - the cost. An easy way for a surgeon or hospital to cut their overhead is to use the cheapest operating room possible. No respectable Plastic Surgeon would take this shortcut, so if you find out there is not an accredited surgical suite included in your surgical fee, it is time to find a new plastic surgeon. The added expense will be worth it. The facilities that I use include my private practice procedure room, St George's and Southern Cross Hospitals - all are accredited to New Zealand standards and are part of a continuing assessment program overseen by external auditors. This ensures that all aspects of my surgical practice are up to date with contemporary requirements, and overall this provides my patients with the best possible outcome to their plastic surgery. Reasons Accreditation Matters:
- An accredited facility will monitor and report incidents of infections, complications, and other issues related to patient safety to the health ministry.
- Protocols for emergencies, such as emergency patient health issues or facility fires, are in place and are constantly being reviewed.
- Surgeon's certifications are checked routinely, making sure no unlicensed professionals are working.
- Quality management ensures the best patient care standards are met.
- Patient care and treatment plans are reviewed and updated.
- Patients' rights and responsibilities are clearly displayed.
- Drug and medication expiration dates have not lapsed.
- Surgeons serve as peer review monitors for each other, ensuring continuity and quality of care.
- Anesthesia standards are clearly set, and always administered by a licensed anesthesiologist.
- Accredited ambulatory facilities are shown to have exceptionally low rates of serious complications and low mortality rates.
Unfortunately, many cosmetic surgical tourism facilities are neither hospitals or accredited. This compromises surgical care, for example:
- cosmetic surgery not being performed by a certified Plastic Surgeon or even the surgeon you consulted with.
- facility nurses are not registered or trained in operating theatre practice - this compromises sterility and increases infection risk, which can cause your procedure to fail or at worst be life threatening in a foreign country with no emergency back up.
- aftercare facilities that are not registered and may simply be a hotel room with care provided by an untrained and unregistered "nurse" - unable to provide appropriate pain relief or recognise post-operative complications such as bleeding, leg clots or infection.
- use of expired anaesthetic or pain drugs, and even breast implants. Commonly breast implants are counterfeit copies or even different to those paid for. The complication profile of these implants are high in respect to devices bursting, infection and capsular contracture.
Overall, when seeking out a cosmetic surgical procedure it is important to have profiled your Plastic Surgeon but equally important to profile the facility where the surgery is to be performed. You will truly get what you paid for.