Perioperative considerations for patient safety during cosmetic surgery - preventing complications

Warren A. Ellsworth, Bob C. Basu, Ronaid E. Iverson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Maintaining patient safety in the operating room is a major concern of surgeons, hospitals and surgical facilities. Circumventing preventable complications is essential, and pressure to avoid these complications in cosmetic surgery is increasing. Traditionally, nursing and anesthesia staff have managed patient positioning and safety issues in the operating room. As the number of office-based procedures in the plastic surgeon's practice increases, understanding and implementing patient safety guidelines by the plastic surgeon is of increasing importance. A review of the Joint Commission's Universal Protocol highlights requirements set forth to prevent perioperative complications. In the present paper, the importance of implementing these guidelines into the cosmetic surgery practice is reviewed. Key aspects of patient safety in the operating room are outlined, including patient positioning, ocular protection and other issues essential for minimization of postoperative morbidity. Additionally, as the demand for body contouring surgery in the cosmetic practice continues to increase, special attention to safety considerations specific to the obese and massive weight loss patients is mandatory. After review of the present paper, the reader should be able to introduce the Joint Commission's Universal Protocol into their daily practice. The reader will understand key aspects of patient positioning, airway management and ocular protection in cosmetic surgery. Finally, the reader will have a better understanding of the perioperative care of unique populations including the morbidly obese, massive weight loss patients and the elderly. Attention to detail in these aspects of patient safety can help avoid unnecessary complication and significantly improve the patient's experience and surgical outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Body contouring surgery
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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