After an embarrassingly long time away from writing and playing music, I recently formed a new band in all the free time I do not have. I used to play the drums, sing, and write original music. I was never great, but it was such a fun experience being a part of the creative process.
While I perform surgery, there is always music on in the background. As each year I am busier, I spend more time in surgery. More time in the operating room means more time to listen to music. Listening to more music makes me think of playing and writing music, and here I am again back in a band.
What does this have to do with you, the prospective plastic surgery patient? Surprisingly, quite a bit. When listening to and writing music, my creative energies spike. This has lead to even more artistic results, and an improved surgical process. Every movement, suture, incision is like a symphony, and each patient an obra maestra.
Some day soon I will share some of my music with you. Just like new technology, products, or procedures, I do not offer them to my patients until I am sure of the quality and benefit. Maybe you will hear it when you come to our operating room.
Sometimes we do all of our homework and select a board certified plastic surgeon who does the procedure we want well and often, and really connects with you. The office is beautiful, the staff is nice, and the fee is agreeable. All done? Not quite.
Where is the procedure being done and who is giving the anesthesia? This is the key question patients forget to ask. This question is also among the most important for patient safety. If your surgeon doesn’t do a good job, you can have it fixed or see another doctor. If the operating room is substandard, or there is no board certified anesthesiologist, you can die.
Make sure your procedure is being done in an accredited ambulatory surgery center or hospital. Your doctor’s office may be legal to operate in, but if it is not certified by AAAASF or JCAHO or AAAHC, it is not inspected or held to the highest standards of safety. All members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons must only operate in certified centers, so if your doctor does not, he is not a board certified plastic surgeon. Ask to see the current certification if you want to be certain.
Make sure you have a board certified anesthesiologist, who is an MD with specific certification in anesthesia. A Nurse Anesthetist is a nurse with additional training in anesthesia, but the y can only do so under the supervision of an MD. Your surgeon is not an anesthesiologist, and is not likely to be helpful in the event of an emergency.
Ask to see the operating room before booking a surgery. Make sure it is clean, modern, and geared to plastic surgery. Some centers do very few cosmetic cases, and the staff is not expert in postop care for these types of procedures. Ask.
Please be safe and check all the necessary credentials, not just the doctor.