How Do I Determine if my Doctor's Office is a Safe Facility?

What do I look for in terms of picking a doctor with a safe operating facility? What are the special accreditations a non-hospital facility needs?

Doctor Answers 31

How do I determine if my Doctor's Office is a Safe facility?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Certification of the facility is critical. There are three bodies that certify Surgery Centers. The Joint Commission, or JCAHO is certifies hospital OR's  and is widely regarded as having the strictest requirements for certification.  AAAASF and AAAHC are also certification bodies. make sure your surgeon's center is accredited by at least one of these certifiying organizations. Many surgeons elect to have dual certification as way to show their commitment to the highest possible standards. 

The surgical team is critical to safety and outstanding outcomes. The team should inclues experienced RN's who serve as circulating nurses, Certified surgical technicians, and each surgery center should have two sterile processing rooms with a licensed cetified surgical processing technician. 

Of course, most surgical procedures require either general anesthesia or MACS anesthesia. Anesthesia should be adminsitered by a board-certified MD anesthesiologist who ideally will ramin at the bedside of the patient throughour the procedure.

Your plastic's surgeons office should be well equipped for any and every plastic surgery event they might encounter, but your surgeon should also have hospital priveleges at several well nearby hospitals in the event an unexpected event were to take place. 

Asking about the surgery center and surgical team and anesthesia provider is critical. The office staff and facility are certainly a reflection of the plastic surgeon who owns the practice. 


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

How Do You Find Out if my Doctor's Office is a Safe Facility?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The key element is to look online to see if they are an accredited operating facility by the AAAASF (American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc.) and also you can go to your state’s health board and find out if the facility has had any significant problems. Specifically ask them to show you the facility accreditation. Certainly, if they are a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and are a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), as part of our membership we must operate in an accredited operating room facility to be a member. So, choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to do your operative procedures.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Safety of outpatient surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is a good question.

There are a number of safety standards for outpatient surgery.

Some surgeons operate in their office facilities which are not certified.  There are No Standards in place for those facilities

AAAASF has the Easiest Standards for outpatient surgery
AAAHC, JCAHC have Medium Standards for outpatient surgery

Medicare has the Toughest Standards for outpatient surgery and holds the surgeons, their RNs, and anesthesia providers to the highest safety standards.

Avoiding general anesthesia when you can also makes you surgery safer.


Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

You might also like...

Facility accreditation is like "board certification" of the practice

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A facility is most likely to be safe if their equipment, policies, and procedures are all held to the strictest standards. There are currently 4 private accrediting bodies (AAAHC, AAAASF, JCAHO, and IMQ) that perform voluntary, objective, outside review of medical practices and in-office operating rooms.


Seek out a physician whose facility, policies, and procedures have passed the high standards of one of the 4 organizations above.

Laxmeesh Mike Nayak, MD
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Facelift - How Do I Determine if my Doctor's Office is a Safe Facility?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Great question - non absolute answer, but you can start by making sure it's an accredited facility.  One place to start is the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, or the AAASF.  Their site at aaaasf dot org will list facilities that meet their exacting standards.  JACHO and AAAHC are other organizations that provide comparable levels of oversight.  You can, of course, have the procedure done in a hospital as an alternative.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Facelifts in the doctors office

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Safety has many considerations:

  1. how old are you
  2. are you healthy
  3. what are the office OR accreditation's
  4. what type of Anastasia
  5. who is doing the anesthesia
  6. is the doctor board certified
  7. what hospital does he have the same privileges in


Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Accreditation is Vital for Patient Safety

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I, like other posters on this site, have an accredited office surgical facility (AAAASF).  Accreditation is a laborious, time intensive process that a Surgeon must put in place (in the State of Florida) to ensure safety in office based surgical facilities. However, there is no guarantee that your Surgeon (or company that hires the Surgeon) will be compliant with regulations.  Therefore, it is up to the patient to perform due diligence. Following suit, look for a facility accredited by AAAASF, AAAHC, JCAHO, or ACHA.  If the facility isn't accredited, don't walk!  Likewise, if a Surgeon or company representative makes any attempt to convince you that accreditation isn't necessary, follow the above advice.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Ask About Accreditation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Ask your doctor to expalin what certificates of accreditation his or her facilty holds.  This process doesn't garuntee you won't have a complication but it does mean the facilty including the operating room and recovery room has to pass a very precise list of standards that are designed for patient safety and protection.  And the process is lengthy ard arduous for the surgeon.  It sends the message that he or she is concerned about your safety and that in the rare event that something goes wrong they will have a protocol for it and will have the necesssary equipment to handle it.

If the surgeon says that the facility is not state licensed or accredited I would run away.  They are cutting corners with the facility and will probably cut corners on your surgery as well.

Those of us who have the certificate are proud of the acheivement and happy to discuss it with anyone who asks.  I just wish more people would pay attention to this since it can be in rare events a very important part of your journey.

Certifications of a safe surgical facility

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is very important to look for a surgeon who performs surgery in a certified ambulatory surgery center.  Federal Medicare certification is the gold standard by which the majority of surgery centers in the country are certified by, including large multispeciality ambulatory surgery centers.  Most hospitals are also Medicare certified.  Many states also license surgery centers.  Other accreditation agencies include AAAASF, AAAHC, and JAACO.  These are all private independent accrediting agencies.  It is also important to have a board certified physician anesthesiologist in attendance monitoring the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and vital functions during the procedure.  

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Facility accreditation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
In NY, it is prohibited to perform any procedure requiring any sedation which can affect conscious awareness other than in an accredited facility. This is defined as an office based surgery facility accredited by the AAAASF or Joint Commission. In order to obtain Joint Commission certification for my facility, my staff and I went through six months of effort, purchased state-of-the-art safety and monitoring equipment and then had to pass an accreditation survey which was 10 hours long and included observation of every part of my office operations as well as review of multiple 5 inch binders regarding processes and governance. We recertified this year and had perfect scores each time. Maintaining accreditation is a full-time job for my senior administrator. The Joint Commission standards change and seek continuous improvement in patient care so we are constantly on our toes. My administrator ran a surprise earthquake drill in NYC months ago. An earthquake in NYC? Well, it actually happened in August and, boy, were we prepared! If your surgeon does not maintain an accredited facility, which may not be required in other states, insist that your surgery be performed in an accredited out patient surgical facility or hospital where safety standards and accountability will be observed.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.