Patient Safety: The Patient’s Responsibilities

In my previous posting, I talked about the importance of appropriate training and education for any surgeon performing cosmetic surgery. Following those guidelines will dramatically improve the chances of getting a good post-operative outcome. This next section talks about what you, as a patient can also do to help this process.

Filling out the forms at a doctor’s office may not seem glamorous or even important unless you have a serious illness, but when it comes to surgery, it could make all the difference. Plastic surgery is no different than any other surgery – it involves anesthesia, surgical tools and comes with its own set of risks. Educating patients on the dangers might make the difference between a life-threatening complication and a successful surgical outcome.

Here are some common topics to address:

1) Medication and supplements – while most patients will be quick to let you know they’re taking prescription medication (we hope) for a serious condition, others might not disclose over-the-counter medication and herbal supplements. They might not realize that it could affect blood pressure, hematoma and healing.

– Supplements: Herbal and Dietary [information on possible effects during surgery]—-herbal-and-dietary

– When “Natural” Remedies Mean Danger for Cosmetic Surgery [press release on recent ASJ article]

– Disclose herbal and dietary supplements to your doctor before surgery [great article to share with patients on the ASJ study]
2) Smoking and drinking – we have made great strides in the fight against smoking and alcohol abuse. Most people know they shouldn’t smoke or drink before surgery and right after. However, they might know the severity of the actions, they might think twice.

– When undergoing plastic surgery, tell your surgeon about your smoking habit: a horrifying tale of how smoking affected one patient

– Twins’ Breasts are revealing: Smoking and drinking not only causes complications – they also age the body

– 5 Reasons alcohol and surgery don’t mix

3) Psychological concerns – wanting to have plastic surgery to improve your image and to feel better about something that always made you feel self-conscious is normal. Having plastic surgery to please others or to get out of depression is not. Talk to patients about deeper issues and get them the help they might not realize they need.

– – Does body image improve after dramatic weight loss? [Some interesting information about patient profiles]

– Seven Keys to help ensure patient satisfaction [overview of issues preventing a person from being happy with results]

– Plastic surgery’s link to psychology [interesting story to share with patients]


Additional Information:

Cosmetic surgery safety: Lifestyle factors play an important role–lifestyle-factors-play-an-important-role

Office-based surgical setting patient safety