Skip to main navigation

Seeking a Safer Surgery: States Crack Down on Doctors Who Perform Unregulated Outpatient Procedures

wall street journal.1

It disturbs and saddens me each time that I hear of a bad outcome in relation to an elective cosmetic surgery.  Luckily, these cases are few and far between, and in many instances seem to be the result of insufficient safety standards or post-operative medical monitoring.  I was pleased, then, to read that The Wall Street Journal recently published a report discussing recent crackdowns by states across the country on office-based outpatient surgery. I hope that by increasing awareness of the problem and by enforcing higher safety standards, these unfortunate potentially preventable outcomes will be a thing of the past.

According to the report, 17 percent of outpatient surgeries occur in physician offices, many of which are not accredited.  New York and California, among other states, now requires accreditation of all physician offices that perform surgery requiring moderate or deep sedation, and violators will face stiff penalties from the state medical board.

In states without regulation, physicians can perform surgery in their offices as long as they have a medical license, although some do voluntarily undergo accreditation.

According to the report, outpatient surgeries account for 65 percent of all surgeries in the country, and the number of outpatient surgeries has increased 20 percent in the last 20 years. Of these, 45 percent are performed at hospital outpatient departments and 38 percent occur at Ambulatory Surgery Centers, both of which are generally considered to be safe.

Before undergoing any procedure, it is important to adopt the “buyer beware” stance in order to ensure that you will be in the safest environment possible.  Elective cosmetic surgery should be a positive and rewarding experience.

Read the full article in the The Wall Street Journal at:

Dr. Carolyn Chang, San Francisco Plastic Surgeon