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Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: Safety for the Office Staff with Dr. Kenneth Hughes

When Dr. Kenneth Hughes was a clinical instructor and fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess at Harvard University, he gave frequent presentations about all aspects of plastic surgery including safety for the office staff.

Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: Safety for the Office Staff

Kenneth Hughes, MD
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard University

Intended Audience

  • Office Staff
  • Including nurses, surgical technicians, and office managers
  • It is of paramount importance that all of the office personnel be focused on improving patient outcomes along with the plastic surgeon and anesthesia providers

Safety Measures Outline

  • Preoperative Safety Measures
  • Intraoperative Safety Measures and Protocols
  • Postoperative Safety Measures
  • Review Questions/Quiz

Preoperative Safety Measures

  • Most aesthetic plastic surgery candidates should have good general health and few, if any, comorbidities if they are to be done in the office setting
  • Additionally, some patient characteristics can disqualify the patient for the surgery, because the risk of complication is too high as to be acceptable to the plastic surgeon
  • These characteristics may vary based upon an individual surgeon’s technique and perspective

Preoperative Safety Measures

  • From the time the patient enters the office, certain key items should be identified
  • Tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
  • Nothing gets you taken off the OR schedule for a facelift faster than a smoking history

Preoperative Safety Measures

  • Allergies (not just medication but adhesives, skin prep, and latex)
  • It can be difficult to explain to a patient why she has partial thickness skin injury after a known offending adhesive was applied for dressings

Preoperative Safety Measures

  • Medications including birth control products (BCP), over the counter drugs (OTC), vitamins, and herbal preparations
  • Numerous herbal preparations can negatively impact clotting, while BCP put patients at risk for deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary thromboembolus

Immediate Preoperative Measures

  • Patients should be free of ingestion of clear liquids for 2 to 3 hours and of solids for 6 to 8 hours prior to induction
  • Patients should be normothermic prior to entering the operative suite
  • Preoperative warming should be performed to achieve normothermia
  • This issue is critically important in larger liposuction cases, body contouring cases, or during longer duration or multiple procedure cases

Immediate Preoperative Measures

  • The patient’s risk factors for deep venous thrombosis have been documented and prophylaxis has been administered
  • All patients should have some form of lower extremity venous compression devices that are started prior to induction of general anesthesia
  • Any patients with multiple risk factors should receive additional chemoprophylaxis (eg. Lovenox)

Special Mention for Abdominoplasty

  • This procedure is associated with the highest risk of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary thromboembolus as reported in the literature
  • This procedure performed by itself or in conjunction with other procedures in most cases requires some form of chemoprophylaxis

Intraoperative Safety Measures

  • Assure that the compression devices continue to cycle
  • Everyone should perform periodic checks of the blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation
  • This is particularly true during and immediately following positioning changes and administration of local anesthesia

Fire Safety

Particularly during facial procedures, everyone must be aware of

  1. Electrocautery use
  2. Presence of combustible substances (i.e. drapes)
  3. Presence of Oxygen

Fire Safety

  • If oxygen is being used, the source must be turned off for at least one minute before electrocautery is used
  • In most circumstances when electrocautery is to be used frequently, it is probably safer to not administer oxygen unless the patient’s condition mandates

Fire Safety

  • Skin preparatory agents should be dry or wiped dry
  • Wet sponges or towels can alleviate some of the risk

Emergency Protocols

  • There should be written protocols displayed prominently in the OR for cardiopulmonary emergencies
  • Everyone should know the protocols for the expeditious transfer of patients
  • Everyone should know the fire evacuation protocol

Postoperative Safety Measures

  • Attention to detail in the immediate postoperative period can be just as important as intraoperative and preoperative safety measures
  • The end of the surgery does not signal the end of vigilance for patient care

Postoperative Safety Measures

  • High blood pressure must be recognized and treated as it can lead to hematoma formation
  • Vomiting, coughing, as well as straining of any kind can lead to hematoma formation as well

Postoperative Safety Measures

  • Patient positioning is critical as well
  • Head elevation is important in any facial procedure (eg. facelift or rhinoplasty)
  • Patient positioning is also critical after abdominoplasty
    — patient should remain flexed at the waist to theoretically prevent wound separation

End of Presentation

Review Question #1

Lower extremity compression devices should be placed

  1. After induction
  2. Before induction
  3. on a case by case basis
  4. instead of Lovenox

Review Question #2

Fire safety involves awareness of all of the following except

  1. Electrocautery
  2. Oxygen
  3. Drapes
  4. Wet sponges

Review Question #3

High blood pressure has been shown to increase the rate of

  1. Vomiting
  2. Hematoma
  3. Straining
  4. Coughing

Review Question #4

Which of the following procedures has the highest risk of development of deep venous thrombosis?

  1. Liposuction
  2. Rhinoplasty
  3. Abdominoplasty
  4. Facelift

Review Question #5

Following the repositioning of the patient, which of the following should be closely monitored?

  1. Blood loss
  2. Urine volume
  3. Temperature
  4. Oxygen saturation