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Patient Safety in Plastic Surgery

Trussler, Andrew P. M.D.; Tabbal, Georges N. M.D.

doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31825dc349
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Learning Objectives: After reading this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Recognize risk factors for venous thromboembolism and identify patients who would benefit from prophylactic anticoagulation; 2. Describe the effects of hypothermia in the perioperative period. 3. Understand the importance of blood pressure control in the plastic surgery patient.

Summary: This article provides a summary of important factors that contribute to improved patient safety in plastic surgery. The identification of patients and procedures that have an increased risk of complications enables the physician to carry out prophylactic measures to reduce the rate of these complications. Venous thromboembolism, hypothermia, bleeding diathesis, and perioperative hypertension are identifiable risks of plastic surgery, which can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. An evidence-based system and individual practice measures can help to decrease these risks. Thorough preoperative patient evaluation, detailed informed consent, and perioperative care delivered in a safe environment can contribute to improved safety in plastic surgery.


Dallas, Texas

From the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Received for publication October 22, 2011; accepted February 2, 2012.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial conflicts of interests to disclose.

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Andrew P. Trussler, M.D.;

©2012American Society of Plastic Surgeons