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Anesthesia: Why Board Certification Matters

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South Bay Plastic Surgeons places patient safety in the highest regard. We only use board-certified anesthesiologists to administer sedation and monitor vital signs throughout surgery. It is of utmost importance that a specialist is present to handle this so that our surgeons can focus on their work. If you get a quote for cosmetic surgery and it contains a nominal fee for anesthesiology, you should investigate who is administering the sedation. Is it the surgeon? Is it a nurse? The importance of finding a doctor who values your well-being above everything else can not be overstated.

Is anesthesia safe?

We are constantly asked about anesthesia and it remains one of the largest concerns going into surgery. However, anesthesia is very safe. The American Society of Anesthesiologists states that complications from anesthesia have declined dramatically over the last 50 years (1). Since the 1970s, the number of anesthesiologists has more than doubled and at the same time patient outcomes have improved. While complications attributed to anesthesia were approximately 1 in 1,500 some fifty years ago, today that number has improved nearly ten fold; that’s a dramatic increase in patient safety. Currently, the chances of a healthy patient suffering a complication attributable to anesthesia is less than 1 in 200,000 when an anesthesiologist is involved in patient care. This means that you are much more likely to die from a lightening strike than from anesthesia! (3)

Joan Rivers’ death was covered heavily in the news recently. Not just because she is a well-known celebrity but also because of the errors surrounding what should have been a simple procedure. A cause-of-death report release recently said that Ms. Rivers’ blood pressure and pulse decreased while she was on the operating table on Aug. 28 between 9:12 and 9:26 a.m., yet cardiopulmonary resuscitation began at 9:28 at the earliest.“The physicians in charge of the care of the patient failed to identify deteriorating vital signs and provide timely intervention during the procedure,” said the report, issued by investigators for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2). Even more frightening is that she was thought to have been given twice the recommended dosage of Propofol, a sedation drug. All these issues may have been avoided by having the right team.

Sources:
1. https://www.asahq.org/For-the-Public-and-Media/Press-Room/Anesthesia-Fast-Facts.aspx
2. http://documents.latimes.com/report-clinic-treated-joan-rivers/
3. http://www.livescience.com/3780-odds-dying.html

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