Although 8 out of 10 cosmetic plastic surgery patients are satisfied with their surgical experience, nearly 40 percent believe they should have been more proactive in learning about potential side effects and complications before surgery, according to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons? (ASPS) survey released today conducted by Harris Interactive?.
Interestingly, the findings suggest that some additional knowledge about potential side effects and complications may have improved patients? surgical experience and outcome. Before surgery, 91 percent of cosmetic plastic surgery patients said they knew what to expect; however, fewer than half recalled being informed of some common side effects and complications such as bleeding (48 percent), nausea and vomiting (42 percent), or blood clots (34 percent). Patients who experienced a side effect or complication reported being unable to accomplish tasks (35 percent), decreased energy levels (32 percent), and time away from work (27 percent) as negatively impacting their daily life during recovery.
In addition, some cosmetic plastic surgery patients failed to ask questions to help them evaluate whether their doctor was qualified to perform their procedure. Shockingly, nearly one-third (28 percent) of cosmetic plastic surgery patients did not check their doctors? credentials before surgery. Furthermore, 37 percent did not check if their surgeon was certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and 54 percent did not check if their surgeon completed an accredited residency training program in plastic surgery.
?While it is encouraging that most patients surveyed were pleased with the outcome of their surgery, the findings stress the continued need for patients to do their homework,? said ASPS President Roxanne Guy, MD. ?Ensuring your physician has the proper training and credentials and learning all you can about possible side effects and complications are essential when considering any medical procedure. You can afford to be nonchalant about some things, but surgery is not one of them.?
The survey was designed to assess the differences between 301 patients who had cosmetic plastic surgery (breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction, etc) and 316 patients who had medically necessary surgery (gynecologic, orthopedic, ophthalmic, etc). However, both groups reported similar experiences, perceptions, and attitudes regarding their surgical experiences. Survey respondents were never directly asked about side effects at any point in the survey, but instead were asked about risks and complications, which in several questions included some well-known side effects such as nausea, vomiting and pain.
?The study suggests patients are not as aware as they should be when it comes to understanding possible side effects and complications after surgery,? said Dr. Guy. ?Patients need to take a proactive role in their surgical experience, including asking how post-surgical side effects and complications could affect them and how to manage them. Listening closely to what your physician tells you about the potential risks of your procedure is also important.?