Safety in Cosmetic Surgery

Aesthetic plastic surgery is a purely elective procedure. Unlike other medical conditions, where you may rely on your primary medical provider to point you towards other surgical specialists for any invasive procedure you may require, cosmetic surgery is usually self-referred. You have the power and responsibility to choose the best provider for your cosmetic services. Since these procedures are elective, your safety is our number one concern. As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, we have pledged to make your safety paramount when providing your cosmetic services, both surgical and non-invasive. All cosmetic surgical procedures that require more than a local anesthetic will be performed in either state- or nationally-certified surgical facilities. Common surgical facilities include in-office surgical suites, accredited ambulatory outpatient facilities, or hospitals. We choose to operate in an accredited outpatient surgical facility (Jewish Medical Center East) because we like the advantages that it presents to our patients. While private rooms with flat-panel TVs are nice for patient comfort, we feel very secure in knowing that all of the same safety considerations that a hospital would have are present. These type of facilities have operating rooms with the most updated and constantly-scrutinized monitors, anesthesia machines, oxygen delivery, and instrumentation. The staff is trained specifically for the operating room and they maintain certification from their national societies. We also like the fact that all of the ancillary services that may be necessary are available. These facilities have X-ray, laboratory, and emergency room services. There is also a redundancy of both people and machinery. In the unlikely event of failure of a machine, another one is immediately available. There is also the availability of specialists in most medical disciplines in the unlikely need of such consultation. With all of these advantages of the accredited, certified ambulatory outpatient facility, we feel strongly that they outweigh the convenience and familiarity of the in-office operating suite. Our surgical team has worked with Dr. Salzman for many years. His surgical assistant, Susan, has been working with Dr. Salzman since 1994. Together they have done thousands of cases.


Cosmetic surgery is elective, outside of fixed reimbursements like insurance-based medicine. Therefore, the fees associated with it are more controlled by standard market forces such as supply and demand. Surgeons with more experience, better outcomes, and more skill or artistry may command a higher fee. This is no different than any other purchase of services or items you may consider. Choosing a cosmetic provider based on cost can be counterproductive. Revisions, redos, and corrections may cost more than any perceived savings. Like anything, you get what you pay for. If you have cost questions, contact Melissa, our Surgical Scheduling and Finance Manager.

Patient Factors

There are also many patient factors when considering safety in cosmetic surgery. Obesity, bleeding disorders, smoking, sun exposure, hypertension, and diabetes can all increase the risks of complications from cosmetic surgery. We may require a clearance for surgery from your primary care or specialist physician if any of these risk factors are present. This will both address the degree of risk that each of these may present and allow us to optimize your health and possibly improve the outcome of surgery. Obesity is a common confounding patient risk that we see. Some surgeries will be less effective if large amounts of weight are lost after the surgery is completed (facelift, breast lifts, or breast reductions). Other times, we may ask that you lose any excess weight before we contemplate a cosmetic surgery. Herbal medications, herbal teas, and other over-the-counter medications may interfere with both anesthesia and/or the healing of your surgery. Some doctor-prescribed medications may make an anesthetic riskier. At the time of your consultation, we go over your medications and herbal supplements and make recommendations of which will be problematic for your surgery. At your pre-op visit three weeks prior to your procedure, you will get a list of all of the drugs and herbal supplements that we would like you to stop before your surgery. Some medications take longer than others to leave your system.

Advantages of Board Certified Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

These days, there are multiple physicians and physician extenders (PAs, Nurse Practitioners) offering their services in the arena of cosmetic medicine. There is no shortcut to the mastery of aesthetic surgery. It cannot be learned in a weekend course. The American Board of Plastic Surgery requires at least three years of general surgery training and two years of plastic surgery residency. During these years, under the watchful eye of seasoned plastic surgeons, the young plastic surgeon learns the craft, art, and methods of safely, deftly and skillfully carrying out these cosmetic improvements. Dr. Salzman underwent five years of general surgery and three years of plastic surgery training. We are surgeons first and foremost and adhere to all of the basic tenets of delivering a safe outcome for our patients.

The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has devoted a part of their website to safety in cosmetic surgery, and you can find a link here.