By Dr. Lawrence N. Gray Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Having an aesthetic procedure is an important personal decision. Most people are very careful to choose the best surgeon for their procedure—the surgeon who has the best credentials, the best reputation, many years in practice and a long list of very happy patients. There is another critical item to examine: Is your surgeon’s facility as safe as it should be? Is it current in all licensure and certifications? Does the facility strive for the highest level of certifications?

There are many components to a safe facility in which to trust your care:

First, Standards of safety have already been established by many states, such as New Hampshire. Those rules and regulations are re-investigated, yearly. A facility that does not meet those requirements will be put on notice and may even be shut down. Ask to see your surgical facility’s licensure and certification before even considering having your procedure done. These certifications are normally displayed proudly. Anyone performing procedures of any level without the proper licensures and certifications is putting you at risk. Board certified plastic surgeons are required to operate in certified facilities.

At Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center, your medical safety is our primary concern. Yes, we want our patients to be very happy with their outcome, but nothing, absolutely nothing is more important than standards of safety being in place and strictly adhered to. Patients come to us to make aesthetic improvements. However, if a situation is not up to our standards of safety, which meet or exceed those of New England’s best hospitals, then we do not take it on. We refuse cases where the patient hasn’t been truthful or followed through fully on pre-operative requirements or if we believe the patient will be at risk. Patients are carefully evaluated before surgery and all high risk patients have their procedure performed at a local hospital by myself. The patient?s safety and successful results are our goal and only acceptable outcome.

Second, there are national organizations that establish standards for certification. The most common one for plastic surgeons is AAAASF, the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery state that “any outpatient facility where liposuction is performed should have proper accreditation by the AAAASF or an equivalent agency.” Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center is a state-of-the-art plastic surgery facility and is certified at the highest level by the AAAASF accreditation. We meet and exceed the strictest standards of safety and equipment met by hospitals. We use only board certified anesthesiologists and are able to offer IV sedation or general anesthesia, for which separate and additional levels of certification have also been met. Surgeons are required to obtain certification for their facility even if the procedure is done under local anesthesia.

Third, Global Certification exists for facilities which have international patients. Patients now commonly travel great distances to find the best surgeon for their procedure. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, or ISAPS, has instituted standards of safety for patients who travel internationally to see their chosen surgeons. Atlantic Plastic surgery Center has had patients from Canada, Egypt, Turkey, the Bahamas, Bermuda and Taiwan. Because we have Global Certification, we are known to have the highest standards for patients who travel internationally.

I have set my own personal standards of excellence for my facility and staff, which are not required. I opened Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center in 1998 and obtained all licensure and certifications immediately. Investigators for the State of New Hampshire have reported my facility, Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center is used as a standard for other facilities around the state as it is well maintained and run exactly according to code. The registered nurses assigned to our operating room are certified in advanced cardiac care and life support. Our recovery room nurses remain with the patient for his or her entire experience. Our warm and knowledgeable staff is dedicated to making sure your experience is pleasant and that you feel as reassured and relaxed as possible. Our nursing staff members belong to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Nurses, and our Skin Wellness Center nurse is a member of the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists. Our registered nurses are also Certified Plastic Surgical Nurses by the Plastic Surgery Nursing Certification Board

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