Do I need a physical examination with my primary care physician prior to plastic surgery?

Plastic surgeons will be prohibited from performing elective cosmetic surgery procedures on patients who have not undergone a proper physical examination up to 30 days prior to the procedure under a law (AB 2968) that took effect on January 1, 2010. This is a law in the state of California and has been referred to as the Donda West Law, after Kanye West’s mother.

The law also requires written clearance from a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant certifying that a patient is able to undergo the surgery.

Interestingly, I have always required preoperative clearance of our patients prior to plastic surgical procedures. A patient’s safety and overall health is our priority. As such, I feel a preoperative evaluation by the patient’s primary care physician and/or Cardiologist is important in making certain our patients are healthy to undergo the recommended procedures. If the patient does not have a primary care physician, I refer our patients to a very well respected Cardiologist on staff at Hoag Hospital for preoperative evaluation and medical clearance…his office is actually in our building and, as such, is very convenient for our patients!

The evaluation usually includes blood testing (CBC or complete blood count, BMP or basic metabolic profile, and PT/PTT) and an EKG as well as a letter from the patient’s physician stating the patient is in good health for the recommended surgical procedures.

If this evaluation deems a patient is not a good candidate for plastic surgery, I may recommend non-surgical options, such as laser skin resurfacing, Botox, and/or injectable fillers.