Surgery is a broad term that encompasses a variety of medical or surgical treatments. Surgeries may be performed to address serious problems such as serious accidents or diseases, development of new organs, repairing damaged internal structures, to alleviate pain or improve aesthetic appearance. Some people are born with physical conditions that make them incapable of eating, breathing on their own, or moving their bowels. In many cases surgery may be the only option for such people. Surgery is not only used for life-threatening emergencies, but is also used for cosmetic purposes, such as correcting cleft palates, reconstructing breasts after a mastectomy, or successfully removing tonsil stones.
The American Dental Association (ADA) defines surgery as “the classification of procedures used to replace, reconstruct, or restore a portion of the human body.” Similarly, the British Dental Association defines surgery as “the procedure for changing the structure and function of the teeth, jaw, tongue, palate, or jaws.” An additional definition is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): “Articles of tissue removed from a patient’s body for therapeutic purposes are called medical procedures.” Thus, surgery can be broadly divided into two general categories: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Each type of surgery may perform a specific function; however, the degree to which each type of surgery duplicates, modifies or renovates the function of the remaining tissue is very different.
This discussion will focus on reconstructive surgery. There are some common questions that doctors commonly receive from patients regarding this broad category of surgery: How is the cost associated with each procedure? How long does it typically take for the patient to recover from each procedure? This discussion will focus on answering these specific and important questions.
The cost associated with each procedure generally varies according to the patient’s location, overall health, length of stay, and other factors. In terms of patient safety, surgeons strive to maintain high standards of patient safety throughout every single step of the process. As such most surgeons adhere to the American Board of Plastic Surgery’s (ABPS) guidelines on certification of plastic surgeons. These guidelines ensure consistent high standards of patient safety and well-trained surgeons.
One of the most effective ways to ensure patient safety and continuity of care during any type of surgical procedure is through pre-surgical planning. One example of this preparation includes discussing the appropriate definition of the procedure and discussing the highest level of skill desired for the procedure. It is also important to consider the reasons for having the surgery in the first place. This discussion of reasons will allow each doctor to develop an accurate talking points dictionary for the duration of the surgery. This definition will help the doctor to clearly communicate with each patient during the procedure.
Once these talking points are reviewed and approved by the medical professionals performing the surgery, a second definition of surgery in the state should be compiled based on the information gained from each doctor. A typical doctor’s definition may include the following: The doctor is the only one authorized to perform the surgery under the laws of his or her specific state. The doctor has no legal or fiduciary responsibility towards any other person.