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Cosmetic Surgery Team Play

Cosmetic Surgery O.R.: patient eye view

As March Madness winds down, viewers can easily see how players work together and depend on each other to perform a task. In this case, win basketball games and, hopefully, a championship.

But it’s actually the same in a cosmetic surgery operating room and well worth asking your surgeon about his or her own O.R. team before you actually go under the knife.

For instance, to wind up with a perfectly sculpted nose job, about three highly trained and experienced professionals are required to assist the surgeon, the “captain” of the team. Every team member in the operating room helps make patients happy with facial changes, be it a nose job, revision rhinoplasty, face and neck lift or eyelid lifts.

          (See some revision rhinoplasty before & after photos)

A surgical assistant is included in each cosmetic surgery operation. The surgical assistant — who may or may not be a Registered Nurse – has been trained to quickly and correctly pass medical instruments to the surgeon who keeps his keen eye on the task before him. A surgical assistant is always at the operating table with the cosmetic surgeon.

A Registered Nurse must also be in the O.R. during the procedure. His or her role is providing and recording medications used during the surgery, assisting the anesthesia specialist as needed and acting as chief quality control officer.

           (Look at some permanentnon-surgical nose job before & afters.)

Most cosmetic surgery operations are performed with an anesthesia specialist at the operating table to ensure patient comfort and safety. That specialist may be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) or an M.D.-anesthesiologist. The surgeon decides which of these two to use.

The operating room work flows something like a well-trained sports team. Because O.R. and sports team “play” the same position daily in their respective theaters, they both develop rhythm, consistency and efficiency.

Why is that important to the patient? An efficiency of movements allows the surgeon to disturb less tissue going in and then closing incisions. Combine that with accuracy – thanks to team help — so swelling and bruising are also reduced. Thus, shorter operating times with no sacrifice of quality means the patient may recover more quickly and spend less time in recovery.

So, when a prospective patient asks a cosmetic surgeon about having a particular procedure, ask about the surgeon’s team, how often he or she works with them and if a Nurse Anesthetist or an M.D.- anesthesiologist will be delivering the anesthesia and watching the patient’s vital signs.