The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.
Determining the Safety of Office-Based Surgery: What 10 Years of Florida Data and 6 Years of Alabama Data Reveal
Article first published online: 19 OCT 2011
© 2011 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 171–177, February 2012
How to Cite
Starling, J., Thosani, M. K. and Coldiron, B. M. (2012), Determining the Safety of Office-Based Surgery: What 10 Years of Florida Data and 6 Years of Alabama Data Reveal. Dermatologic Surgery, 38: 171–177. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2011.02206.x
- Issue published online: 6 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 19 OCT 2011
This is a continued examination of 10 years of prospectively collected Florida in-office adverse event data and new comparable data from mandatory Alabama in-office adverse event data reporting.
To determine which office surgical procedures have resulted in reported complications.
This study is a compilation of mandatory reporting of office surgical complications by Florida and Alabama physicians to a central agency. Reports resulting in death or a hospital transfer were further investigated over the telephone or on-line to determine the reporting physician's board certification status, hospital privilege status, and office accreditation status.
In 10 years in Florida, there were 46 deaths and 263 procedure-related complications and hospital transfers; 56.5% (26/46) of deaths and 49.8% (131/263) of hospital transfers were associated with non-medically necessary (cosmetic) procedures. The majority of deaths (67%) and hospital transfers (74%) related to non-medically necessary (cosmetic) procedures were from procedures performed on patients under general anesthesia. Liposuction and liposuction with abdominoplasty or other cosmetic procedure resulted in 10 deaths and 34 hospital transfers. Thirty-eight percent of offices reporting adverse events were accredited by an independent accrediting agency, 93% of physicians were board certified, and 98% of physicians had hospital privileges. The most common specialty of physicians reporting adverse events was plastic surgery (45% of all reported complications). Dermatologists reported four total complications (no deaths) and accounted for 1.3% of all complications over the 10-year period.
In 6 years in Alabama, there were three deaths and 49 procedure-related complications and hospital transfers; 42% (22/52) of hospital transfers and no deaths were associated with non-medically necessary (cosmetic) procedures. The majority of hospital transfers related to cosmetic procedures (86%) were from procedures performed on patients under general anesthesia. Liposuction accounted for no deaths and two hospital transfers. Seventy-one percent of offices reporting adverse events were accredited by an independent accrediting agency, and 100% of physicians were board-certified. Plastic surgery was the most common specialty represented in adverse event reporting (42.3% of all reported complications). Dermatologists reported one complication (no deaths) and accounted for 1.9% of all complications over the 6-year period.
Continued analysis reveals that medically necessary office surgery does not represent an emergent hazard to patients. The data obtained from 10 and 6 years of adverse event reporting in Florida and Alabama, respectively, are comparable and consistent. Medically necessary surgical procedures performed in the office setting by dermatologists have an exceedingly low complication rate, and complications that arose were largely unexpected, isolated, and possibly unpreventable. Cosmetic procedures performed in offices by dermatologists under local and dilute local anesthesia yielded no reported complications. Complications from cosmetic procedures accounted for nearly half of all reported incidents in Florida and Alabama, and in both states, plastic surgeons were most represented in adverse event reports. Liposuction performed under general anesthesia requires further investigation because deaths from this procedure continue to occur despite the ability to use dilute local anesthesia for this procedure. Requiring physician board certification and physician hospital privileges does not seem to increase safety of patients undergoing surgical procedures in the office setting. Mandatory reporting of adverse events in the office setting should continue to be championed. Reporting of delayed deaths after hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgery center procedures should be implemented. All data should be made available for scientific analysis after protecting patient confidentiality.