Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on May 10, 2012

Sources

Robert Kotler, MD, FACS Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon of the Face and Neck Clinical instructor, Division of Head & Neck Surgery, UCLA Medical School.

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Video Transcript

Narrator: Why is good post surgical care so important?

Robert Kotler, MD : The care of the surgical patient does not end with the last stitch, because success also hinges on the healing, what happens afterwards. The service called post operative care is absolutely essential. And by the way, surgeons who don't offer continuous post operative care are in violation of one of the basic ethics of the American College of Surgeons group for example. It's called itinerant surgery, where you just operate and leave the patient. No, you don't do that. That's not kosher. For example, we've seen situations where a patient would have a very extensive face lift, the surgeon would put on dressings to exert a little pressure and not see the patient for 3 or 4 days. And then when the patient came in, then and only then was it discovered that they had significant bleeding under the skin and the skin was destined to die, a very, very serious complication. That's not a conscientious practice. They are not giving good post operative care. You need to see the patient the next day and probably the day after that. You've got to make sure in the critical 24 to 48 hours after a 5, to 6 to 7 hour operation that everything is just right. And if there are any signs of any bleeding under the skin, it can be dealt with right then and there and prevent the complication. It's as simple as that. Eternal vigilance. You've got to be on top of it. And if you do the face lift on Friday and think that just because it's the weekend, you shouldn't see the patient until Monday, you're not a very conscientious doctor, because complications know no holiday.