13 Jul How to avoid a botched job
Achieving a safe and reliable outcome for a procedure is paramount. This requires collaboration among the patient, the facial plastic surgeon, and the skilled staff at the office or facility. What can you do? Do your homework—on the surgeon, the facility, and how to be a good patient.
Your facial plastic surgeon
Ask your physician if he or she is board certified; look for a board affiliated with the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS). Visit www.certificationmatters.org to check. Many facial plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, a board recognized by the ABMS. Surgeons 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.
Your surgeon should also be a reputable member of an organization of surgeons who specialize in facial plastic surgery and has privileges to perform procedures at a local hospital or ambulatory center. The Federation of State Medical Boards provides a Web site to verify a physician’s medical license and education; visit www.docinfo.org.
Most physicians have their degrees and certifications framed throughout their office. Don’t be afraid to point and ask for more details about their credentials and their experience. Be sure you enquire about the training of the office staff, as well. You want to make sure that you will receive individual monitoring by skilled, licensed personnel before, during, and after the procedure.
Ensure that the place where you will have your procedure is accredited or in the process of being accredited. This 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. The facility should be accredited by one of the following: the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, (847) 853-6060, or www.aaahc.org; the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, (888) 545-5222, or www.aaaasf.org; the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, (630) 792-5005, or www.jcaho.org; or licensed by the state in which the facility is located.
You as the patient
Provide your physician with a full medical history, including current medications and supplements. Check your motivations for the procedure; your physician will also want to see that you have realistic expectations. Once your procedure is a go, you will be given pre-surgery guidelines—follow these explicitly, they are for your safety. You will also 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. Most importantly, follow the pre- and post-operative directions explicitly and contact your physician with any questions.
Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery can be performed safely and effectively. Take the time to research your facial plastic surgeon, the facility, and the procedure. Maintain open communication with your physician, who will make sure you feel comfortable with your decision and receive the best of care with optimal results.