Choosing An Outpatient Surgery Center
Times have changed in surgery. About fifteen years ago, just about all surgery -- no matter how routine or small the procedure -- was done in the hospital. Now, the majority of all surgical procedures are performed in outpatient surgery centers. These facilities are usually freestanding and are not attached to the hospital.
Now, even relatively complex and lengthy procedures are performed in outpatient surgery centers. These facilities are sometimes also called ambulatory surgery centers. More than 90% of all plastic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation as well as rhinoplasty and liposuction are performed in outpatient facilities. This is especially the case with plastic surgery in Los Angeles.
This shift puts the burden on the patient or consumer to choose wisely. Surgery of all kinds has never been safer or more effective. But it is still a serious undertaking and the facility where it is performed is a key component of overall safety.
As a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, I can say there are several things to look for when evaluating whether you should use a particular outpatient surgery center. The most important issue is safety. You should check on the certification of the outpatient surgery center. Some states offer licensure of these facilities, while others do not. There are certifying organizations that inspect facilities. Some of these include AAAHC and Medicare. When a facility has these sorts of certifications, they have been thoroughly inspected for their physical layout, staff training, safety equipment, and emergency protocols to assure they have the highest level of professionalism and safety.
You should ask your surgeon why he chooses to use the given surgery center. Has he found the surgery center to be safe and convenient for patients? You should ask if the surgery center has a transfer agreement with a local hospital. In case of a problem, this confirms that you can get quick access to emergency care in the hospital setting. You should ask about the safety equipment on hand at the facility. Following your procedure in an outpatient surgery center, you likely will go home. You should ask your surgeon what provisions are made for contacting him and her with questions and concerns during off hours. You should also ask who will be performing your anesthesia. Is the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist experienced in outpatient surgery? You might also ask to receive any prescriptions for post-procedure medications prior to your surgery day, so you need not go to the pharmacy following your surgery.
Outpatient surgery is now routine and safe. But it is important to check on the outpatient surgery center prior to deciding where to have your procedure performed.