Is There a Safe/legal Time Limit for General Anesthesia in an Accredited Outpatient Setting?

Doctor Answers 5

Safe Length of Time for Outpatient Surgery

Most sources generally consider 6 hours as the upper safe limit for outpatient surgery, whether it is performed in a hospital or surgery center. After 6 hours,the rate of  post-operative complication rises. The patient's overall health and which procedure(s) is to be performed should also be major considerations. Larger body contouring procedures may result in more blood loss.  Large volume liposuction , especially when combined with other procedures, can make balancing the patient's fluid volume more difficult. Regardless of the procedure, any patient  should  make sure their surgeon has  admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case an unexpected situation arises and the patient needs extended monitoring

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Safe Amount Of Time in Operating Room?

Although there is no “legal” time limit, duration of surgery is certainly one of the factors that need to be taken into consideration when performing multiple/combined procedures for a patient.  I certainly tried to keep the procedures performed under 6 hours of duration.

 Other factors such as selection of plastic surgeon,  exact procedures planned, estimated blood loss, duration of surgery,  recovery considerations, anesthesia provider, surgery facility are all important  considerations.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Safe length of surgery in accredited out patient surgery center

Thank you for your question about the safe length of cosmetic surgery in an accredited outpatient surgery center.

  • Complications are related to many things - including length of surgery.
  • After 6 hours, complications rise a lot. The cosmetic surgery goal is minimal risk
  • I limit my accredited out patient surgery center cosmetic operations to 5 hours - surgery may take longer than expected.
  • For cosmetic surgery for people with significant risk factors - e.g. obesity, smoking  - 4 hours is better. Hope this helps. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Safety of Outpatient Surgery

Good question. General recommendations for safe outpatient surgery involve surgical time limits of under 6 hours for a general anesthetic case. If time exceeds 6 hours, surgery is more safely done in a hospital setting.

Hayley Brown, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Is There a Safe/legal Time Limit for General Anesthesia in an Accredited Outpatient Setting?

Most plastic surgeons like to keep total procedure time under 6 hrs.  I like to keep the total time under 4 hours.  Even when I liposuction 5 liters from multiple areas of the body and transfer 1500 cc per buttock for the Brazilian buttlift, the total surgery time is about 2 hrs.  Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of liposuction procedures each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

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.