Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on May 27, 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 does my cosmetic surgeon need to know if I use drugs?

Robert Kotler, MD : We ask the patient to tell us everything that we believe is important for their safety. There are some drugs that people don't want to own up to. There are people who, for example have taken cocaine and it's left some damage in the nose and we need to know what the damage came from,. We remind the patient though that this is confidential. It is. It does not go beyond the office, and does not go beyond the operating room, and it is up to the patient if they ever want any of that revealed, because they don't have to have their medical records released to anybody. There isn't a cop in the world that can demand your medical record. They can demand your drivers license, but nobody has the right to demand your medical records without your permission. So they are held in strict confidence. It's much more important that we know these things than that the patient, because we don't want the patient to worry that oh my god, I don't want anybody to know. Now we need to know for the patient's safety. I could recount tragedies that occurred because the patients did not reveal to the anesthesiologist the history of drug abuse and that led to serious complications.