A study examining plastic surgery procedures performed in accredited outpatient facilities found that office-based surgery is as safe as surgery performed in hospitals. The study, published in July’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, reviewed more than 1.1 million procedures and found the mortality rate to be significantly less than 1% or 0.002%.

“The study shows that plastic surgery in accredited facilities is safe and deaths are rare,” says Geoffrey Keyes, MD, ASPS member surgeon and study co-author. “However, people should consider plastic surgery with the same seriousness as medically necessary surgery. Most importantly, patients should have their procedure performed by an ASPS member surgeon in an accredited facility.”

The study reviewed data collected from January 2001 through June 2006 by The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), which mandates biannual reporting of all complications and fatalities. The data was obtained from facilities accredited by the AAAASF, which requires that surgeons be board-certified and have credentials at a hospital to perform any procedure being contemplated at an office-based facility. The ASPS requires all of its Member Surgeons to operate only in accredited or licensed facilities.

The study found deaths occurring at office-based surgery facilities are rare. More than 1.1 million operative procedures in AAAASF-accredited office-based outpatient surgery centers were studied from 2001-2006. Deaths were infrequent, occurring 2.02 in 100,000 procedures, which is comparable to the overall risk of such procedures performed in hospital surgery facilities. The vast majority of deaths were due to pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs, blocking major blood vessels). Pulmonary embolism is an uncommon cause of death associated with any type of surgery whether elective or medically necessary.

[ASPS, July 16, 2008]