Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PLASTIC SURGERY DEATHS- Dr. Brueck speaks out

From time to time, Dr. Robert J Brueck MD, a Fort Myers Florida-based plastic surgeon posts messages that he feels are important or interesting on the subject of cosmetic surgery. Thank you for your attention.

Florida has some of the country’s toughest laws concerning outpatient plastic surgery.

In spite of the restrictive laws, 32 people lost their lives in pursuit of beauty. Why is this?

There is no simple answer. There were four South Florida mothers who lost their lives while under going liposuction for love handles and bra rolls.

The number of cosmetic surgeries has mushroomed to over 13 million nationally. The number of physician offices licensed to do cosmetic surgery increased from 285 in 2004 to over 400 now. The increase in cosmetic cases would explain the increase in deaths. I also think the number of surgeons performing cosmetic procedures is exploding and many of them are not even plastic surgeons.

When I came to town 32 years ago there were only four plastic surgeons listed in the yellow pages of the phone book. Go check it out now. It truly has become a buyer-beware market.

We have primary care doctors doing facelifts and other cosmetic surgery procedures in our community. This is wrong and I believe if it’s not illegal, it should be.

I tell all my patients that safety is number one. Patient safety is never compromised. I know I have had patients leave me for another doctor over the years because I’ve insisted they get a physical exam by their internist or obtain certain lab work or perhaps cardiac clearance. That’s me – that’s my practice – that’s what I believe in.

Another concern is the length of sedation for some cosmetic surgery procedures. I constantly hear of patients undergoing cosmetic procedures and being sedated for six, seven or more hours. This directly adds to the risks.

The longer someone is sedated the higher the complication rate. I try to limit my operating room time to less than four hours TOTAL!

Bottom line, make sure your surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery, has a state licensed/certified OR and emphasizes patient safety.

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