Summary: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has signed on as a participant in ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign. The campaign is designed to foster dialogue between patients and their doctors, something that is at the heart of a good plastic surgery practice.

Doctor’s Orders

Most often, what the doctor orders is what’s best for the patient. But that doesn’t mean the patient should be silenced. At the same time, patients will often come into a clinic or hospital setting and demand treatment that is ineffective, unnecessary, or overpriced. Enter ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign, the objective of which is making sure that patients get appropriate, proportional, effective treatment.

Last month, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons announced its participation in the Choosing Wisely campaign by releasing “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question.” Keep in mind, the ASPS is not telling patients to refrain from engaging in these practices, but rather is simply urging a little extra reflection and examination before agreeing to any of the practices listed.

It’s About Dialogue

If you’re interested in the entire list, you can see the press release, here. And there are some good ones on there. For example, one of the recommendations made by ASPS is to “avoid continuing prophylactic antibiotics for greater than 24 hours after a surgical procedure,” on the grounds that there’s little evidence that continuing antibiotics for any amount of time after 24 hours is effective.

While the specific recommendations by the ASPS are important, they’re not as important as the underlying goal behind these recommendations, and that goal consists of encouraging discussion between patient and doctor. Plastic surgery has always had this philosophy in mind, as this is essentially the basis of a consultation. For example, at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, which performs cosmetic surgery in the Twin Cities, the backbone of the consultation is a dialogue between patient and surgeon, in which each discuss what is desired and what is possible given a particular treatment.

Start a Conversation Today

As authority figures, physicians and surgeons have a duty to listen to the patient. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss a patient’s requests as ill informed—but that dismissal should come in the form of more and better information. Luckily, this is something most plastic surgeons have generally been pretty practiced at doing.

Whether you agree with the ASPS recommendations or not, they’re a good starting point. Talk to your plastic surgeon today about what you want and how you want to get there. Starting a dialogue is half the battle. Get started today.

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