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Plastic Surgery Yes, Hospital No

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These days, many plastic surgeons do all or most of their procedures in what’s known as an ambulatory surgical facility, or, more commonly, an outpatient surgical center. Why? The simple answer is economics. It costs a plastic surgeon much less to operate in his or her own facility than in a hospital, thereby making surgical procedures more profitable.

But that’s not the only reason plastic surgeons spend lots of money and deal with a huge load of bureaucracy to establish their own facilities. Other advantages for the surgeons include:

• The supplies they need are always on hand
• They select and supervise the staff
• The schedule is their own to make

Should you have plastic surgery in one of these facilities rather than in a hospital? If you’re in good health with no underlying conditions that could complicate surgery, the answer is a qualified “yes.”

For one thing, many people feel that outpatient surgical facilities are usually more pleasant places to spend time than hospitals. They’re smaller, quieter, and oftentimes more modern and less clinical in feel. And, their clientele are those who elect surgery. No emergencies, little trauma, reduced drama.

More importantly, ambulatory surgical facilities are typically very safe for elective procedures like cosmetic surgery. In fact, they can arguably be safer in that there’s less chance of coming in contact with infection.

To ensure your prospective surgical facility is up to par, you should determine that it’s accredited by one of the leading organizations that perform this function. AAAASF, or the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, is one. Another is the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). These organizations oversee surgical facilities and make sure they meet strict standards covering critical surgery components including anesthesia, and other important aspects of care such as infection control, records and patient rights(AAAHC1). They also perform scheduled inspections (AAAASF1).

There are another couple of steps you can take to boost your confidence in this aspect of your surgery. Ask your plastic surgeon pointed questions such as these:

• What emergency equipment do you have on hand, and how old is it?
• What steps do you take during/after surgery to minimize problems?
• How many of your team are trained in advanced lifesaving techniques?

Finally, ask where your plastic surgeon has hospital privileges and find out how close that hospital is. In the very rare case of an emergency, having a hospital nearby that would welcome you and your surgeon is a must.


“What Does the Accreditation Association Review?” Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Web. April 28, 2011.

“For Surgical Facilities.” American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities. Web. April 28, 2011.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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