The internet has become a fantastic education tool for patients. It allows you to research your procedures of interest, plastic surgeons in your area or beyond as well as “after” photos of other people who’ve had a tummy tuck or breast augmentation, for example. The major downside of all of this information, however, is that it comes without context. This can lead to confusion for many of my Boston area patients such as where to have your procedure – surgery center, hospital, or office? Any aesthetic procedure that I perform is tailored to your individual anatomy, health, needs, and lifestyle. These factors help determine the kind of procedure we choose, surgical or non-surgical, and if it’s the former, what type of anesthesia you’ll need. All of these decisions affect where you can have your procedure — surgery center, hospital or office.
Accredited Surgery Center
I perform almost all of my surgical procedures in an accredited outpatient surgery center. This includes:
- Breast Augmentation
- Breast Lift
- Breast Reduction
- Mastopexy Augmentation
- Tummy Tuck
- Mini Tummy Tuck
There are numerous advantages to an outpatient surgery center. For starters, you go home to recover in your own bed! It’s also a very safe place to have your procedure. Since I am a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, I only work in an accredited surgery center. This means that the center has passed the same kind of rigorous review that I’ve undergone to attain my certification. It also means that you can rest assured that the anesthesiologists are also board-certified.
Benefits of Surgery Center vs. Hospital
An outpatient surgery center is basically a smaller version of a hospital. Our anesthesiologists can administer all levels of anesthesia:
This enables me to perform my full range of body contouring procedures. You’ll still receive appropriate care from licensed members of my staff at all times, and we have all the necessary equipment to deal with any issue that may arise. Having said that, documented research has shown that surgery centers are extremely safe with a low rate of severe complications. They can also be less expensive than a hospital.
Factors for Hospital Setting
However, there are certain factors that would require you to have your procedure in a hospital setting. These generally include:
- Any pre-existing medical condition that requires more monitoring
- High BMI
- Previous issues with anesthesia
- Procedures that take over 5 hours
In general, I don’t perform procedures in a hospital setting. Patients who have the kind of health risks that prohibit a surgery center are probably not the best patients for an elective aesthetic procedure. The exception to this would be massive weight loss patients. If I am doing extensive body contouring that involves multiple procedures that will require more than 5 hours, I will split the procedures into stages. I think this is not only a safer approach, but it allows the patient to gently lean-in to his or her new body contour as opposed to shocking the system. Physically, it gives the body more space to heal while emotionally, it allows the patient more time to process.
Office Based Procedures
The office is the location of choice for any procedure that requires minimal downtime or minimal anesthesia. This may include:
- Neurotoxins such as Botox®
- Dermal fillers
- Earlobe repair
- Laser Skin Resurfacing
- Liposuction under local anesthesia
Most of the face work that I perform can be done in an office setting, under sedation with an anesthesiologist. Whether or not your liposuction procedure can be done under local anesthesia will depend on the location and volume of the fat that we plan to remove. I make it a point to be very upfront with my patients so I will be able to give you a much better idea of what, where and how during your initial consultation.
To find out more about body contouring, a facelift, or any other surgical or non-surgical procedure with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.