Making Sense of Certification

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Almost everyone has heard that they should look for “board certification” when seeking a qualified plastic surgeon (or any other physician for that matter). Most people don’t really understand exactly what this means and what is involved in becoming “board certified.” Even fewer people know about certification of operating facilities, who certifies them and what protection such certification offers. Dr Sukkar believes patients need this information to make informed choices in their search for the right surgeon, surgical facility and anesthesia provider. At our office, we have gone to great effort and expense to ensure the highest standard of safety for our patients. That’s why we only operate in certified surgical facilities with board-certified anesthesiologists.

Choosing A Surgeon

It is common for prospective patients considering plastic surgery to interview several surgeons before making a decision. Such comparison is a valuable process. To enable you to compare “apples” with “apples” and not “oranges”, we provide a detailed worksheet for you at your consultation for each surgeon and facility you consider. Small differences in fee quotations between surgeons may actually represent major differences in your safety – both during surgery and in the recovery room. Should an emergency occur you’ll want to know the medical team has the skills and equipment needed. The importance of having a highly-qualified medical team and a certified facility cannot be overestimated. A surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery means that that physician has met the requirements necessary to practice in the field of Plastic Surgery.

Anesthesia Options

Whenever you are heavily sedated or have general anesthesia, you put your life in someone else’s hands. Much of that responsibility falls to the person administering the medications and monitoring your vital signs. You need to know the qualifications of the person assuming that responsibility. Their training can range from specialization after earning a medical degree (anesthesiologists) to specialization after nursing training (nurse anesthetists), to nursing training only.

We have chosen to use board–certified anesthesiologists for all of our general anesthesia and for monitored anesthesia care. Some of our anesthesiologists are board certified in at least one other specialty as well. We choose physicians who are in active practice at a hospital because we believe their skills will be at the highest level in the event of an emergency.

Certification Of The Operating Facility

At the present time there are few local, state or federal laws requiring office-based operating rooms to be certified. No level of sanitation, patient care, monitoring or peer review is required. Unfortunately, tragic consequences have occurred because of faulty equipment, lack of trained personnel and inadequate emergency equipment. Any physician may perform any procedure in an office-based surgery center as long as basic fire and safety codes are met. Unfortunately, just because a physician has an operating room in his office does not guarantee he has the proper credentials to do your surgery. As a result, there will most likely be requirements imposed in the future, but for now certification is purely voluntary. Until that time, the adage “Buyer Beware” is advisable.

Due to a lack of federal regulation at the present time, there are a lot of “Plastic Surgery imposters” out there. A lack of appropriate training, coupled with surgeries being performed in uncertified facilities has led to a decrease in patient safety. If you are considering cosmetic surgery, it should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon operating in a certified surgical facility, who also has the privileges to do the same procedure in a local hospital.