Following the tragic death of Donda West, mother of hip-hop star Kanye West, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) says physicians should remind their patients that plastic surgery is real surgery and they should keep into consideration the benefits and the risks of the procedure before undergoing treatment.

“The death of a patient is always tragic and devastating for all involved, particularly the patient’s family and the medical team,” says Richard D’Amico, MD, ASPS president. “However, we don’t want to unnecessarily frighten the public. While this situation is rare, the decision to have a plastic surgery procedure is serious. No-risk surgery doesn’t exist.”

ASPS recommends that physicians talk to their patients about the following six factors before patients decide to undergo plastc surgery:

1. Do homework. Patients should research the procedure, the benefits, and the risks. Visit  www.plasticsurgery.org for the latest information on plastic surgery procedures.

2. Patients should have realistic expectations. Physicians should inform patients about the benefits and risks of surgery, including side effects, and recovery time.

3. Patients should be informed about the procedure that they are seeking and should talk to other patients who have had the same procedure so they know what to expect.

4. Patients should ask their physician tough questions about their procedure. They should also discuss their full medical history to determine the most appropriate treatment.

5. Patients should choose an ASPS member surgeon.

6. Patients should confirm accreditation of outpatient surgery centers.

[ASPS, November 13, 2007]