Concerns have arisen over reports of deaths occurring after certain outpatient plastic surgery procedures. Here, the authors present a national analysis, reporting on deaths occurring after outpatient cosmetic surgical procedures and venous thromboembolism screening.
A retrospective analysis of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities database was performed for the years 2012 to 2017. The authors retrieved data for all deaths occurring in association with cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. Patient demographics, procedural data, venous thromboembolism risk factor assessment, and cause of death were analyzed. Deidentified medical records, including coroner’s reports, were reviewed where available.
Data for 42 deaths were retrieved. Of these, 90.5 percent (n=38) were female, and 61.9 percent were Caucasian (n=26). Mean age was 51.6 years, while mean body mass index was 29.5 kg/m2. Overall, 54.8 percent of these deaths occurred after abdominoplasty: 42.9 percent in isolation, 9.5 percent in combination with breast surgery, and 2.4 percent with facial surgery. Of the causes of death, most (38.1 percent) were thromboembolic in origin. Notably, in 25 of 42 cases, venous thromboembolism risk factor assessment was incorrect or absent (59.5 percent).
Accreditation agencies provide transparency and insight into outpatient surgical mortality on a national scale. Results suggest that adoption of venous thromboembolism screening techniques may not be universal despite an existing large body of published evidence. Optimization of thromboembolism prevention pathways remains vital, and consideration of anticoagulation in those undergoing abdominoplasty may be important in lowering outpatient mortality.