How to Evaluate Your Surgery Center and Anethesiologist
Because cosmetic surgery is now relatively safe and predictable many people have become relaxed about safety precaution. A lot of emphasis is placed on trusting your cosmetic surgery doctor or board-certified plastic surgery doctor to give you the results you expect. This means many patients find out about their surgeon's qualifications and neglect to find out about the anesthesia or the accreditation of the surgery rooms.
These areas are easy to overlook because anesthesia is far too technical to understand (thank goodness all anesthetists are doctors and medically trained specialists) and the facilities for having surgical procedures vary.
What are some ways I can Safeguard my Safety?
Anesthesia - ask what type of anesthesia will be used for your procedure and find out as much about it as you can. Dr. Hodgkinson prefers to use general anesthesia for larger procedures because he said under general anesthesia the airways are controlled and an anesthetist helps the patient to breathe during the operation.
Day Surgery Centers - ask whether the center you are having your procedure in is accredited or licensed. All facilities administering general anesthetic should be licensed by the State Board of Health. Day surgery centers must go through a rigorous accreditation process before they can become licensed. "These guidelines allow the patient to have the security that they are in the least likely circumstances to actually get a complication," said Dr. Hodgkinson. "There's really no other way to give the patients the security as there are no office surgery standards in Australia."
Trust is vital, but only give it after much research and don't be afraid to ask questions - your surgeon cares about your safety as much as you.
An area that patients don't know much about is anesthesia. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the different types and many patients have unfounded fears, particularly about general anesthesia. Here are the basic types explained:
Local anesthetic is just as it sounds – an injection is given at the site of surgery or the nerves near the site so the nerves are non-functional for the duration of the procedure.
A local anesthetic allows minor procedures to be performed with no discomfort to the patient.
Twilight sedation is not a term used by anesthetists. It makes the patient sleepy during the procedure and a local anesthetic is used in combination.
Patients are able to respond throughout the operation, however most report they have no memory of events afterwards.
General anesthesia is the most controlled form of anesthesia. The patient is completely asleep and breathing is monitored and controlled by a specialist anesthetist. Often a local anesthetic is used as well to lessen post-operative discomfort.
Contrary to popular belief, local anesthetic alone can be dangerous just as general anesthetic can be. However when used and monitored correctly, both have a very low rate of risk. While patients often fear general anesthesia, in fact, statistically, Australia is the safest country in the world to have a general anesthetic. Dr. Hodgkinson, along with many other cosmetic surgeons, believes a specialist anesthetist should always be present to administer any type of anesthetic to ensure the safety of the patient.