Multiple Procedures – “Could I ‘Supersize’ That?”

‘Supersizing’ Isn’t Always Better

Occasionally a patient will ask me about more than one recontouring procedure during a consult. This happens most frequently with patients who have experienced a significant weight loss. Invariably, some of these patients inquire whether they can have more than one of these procedures at the same time for convenience sake.  Most of the time, this desire comes from people watching various “Extreme Makeover” television presentations.

supersize that

Dr. Bartell Wants to Ensure His Patient’s Safety

While some plastic surgeons are willing to perform multiple procedures at the same time, I rarely do. For me, it is simply a question of keeping the patient safe.  Numerous scientific studies have shown that surgery under general anesthesia lasting more than four hours are associated with an increased post-operative complication rate and can include complications such as

  • pulmonary embolism (blood clots traveling to the lungs
  • pneumonia
  • infection

While they can be rare, some complications can prove fatal.

Lengthy Procedures Should Only Be Performed In A Hospital

Surgery under general anesthesia lasting longer than four hours certainly can be performed, but to do so in the safest manner possible, I believe it should take place in a hospital setting with a brief hospital stay to closely monitor for any possible complication.  As a physician, I must insist on conducting my practice in the safest manner possible for my patients, even if this means a return trip to the operating room for the additional procedure.  For me, safety trumps convenience every time.

Blog post by Dr. Thomas Bartell.