Safety is the top priority in elective surgery. Cosmetic treatments are the most elective of all procedures in the fields of medicine and surgery and deserve the most intense consideration for patient safety.
Safety is a process, a never-ending, ongoing process that encompasses the patient, all members of the surgical team, the facility, and the recovery process. It is not a diploma, it is not membership in any type of professional society, it is not inherent to the completion of any residency training program, fellowship or postgraduate course and it is not inherent to any specific type of facility.
Proper patient selection is the most critical component of the safety process. Simply stated, cosmetic surgery is not an option for every patient who makes the request. Certain medical conditions, surgeries, injuries, allergies, and anatomical factors prohibit certain cosmetic operations because they increase the risk of complications related to the operation itself, anesthetic agents or wound healing. A thorough medical evaluation including bloodwork analyses and age-appropriate cardiovascular testing forms the basis for patient selection. Factors which affect the postoperative recovery process such as the patient’s ability to comply with physical restrictions, to be available for planned outpatient monitoring of the healing process, and to have an assistant or aide as determined by the expected magnitude of the convalescence also play a critical role in determining the appropriateness of the planned operation or of its timing.
A safe surgical team is comprised of individuals working together to monitor and assess information relevant to the patient’s safety through the pre-operative, intra-operative and postoperative phases of treatment and execute protocol-driven actions based on that information. Action driven by information supersedes seniority or rank. The latter is a modern concept adopted from the airline industry’s landmark studies on accident prevention. The key to team safety is communication and it is incumbent upon each member of the team to convey essential information to team members when needed without delay or fear of reprisal. A well-trained team functions smoothly and efficiently through the surgical process and adapts to changing conditions and situations without delay by following established protocols.
The surgical facility must address the safety needs of the patients being operated, the modes of anesthesia being utilized and of the procedures being performed. Minimum standards are mandated by law and a truly safe environment goes beyond this level by tailoring its safeguards to the specifics of the type of work being performed. Common sense dictates that any medical facility should possess a basic capability for resuscitation from common yet unexpected events and the capacity to expedite triage to an appropriate facility for emergent care when needed.
Safety is the foremost consideration in cosmetic surgery. The International Society of Cosmetogynecology faculty and members are highly trained professionals dedicated to delivering the safest effective aesthetic solutions to their patients and disseminating the techniques and knowledge necessary to achieve this goal for the benefit of surgeons and women worldwide.