ASPS Releases New Guidance for Resuming Elective Procedures Amid COVID-19

ASPS is providing its nearly 8,000 members essential tools and resources, including a comprehensive playbook with enhanced patient and staff safety protocols. Photo credit: gilaxia/Royalty-free/Getty Images

As many medical spas and plastic surgery centers begin to open amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is providing its nearly 8,000 members essential tools and resources, including a comprehensive playbook with enhanced patient and staff safety protocols. The Society has also organized access to personal protective equipment to help advance smooth, safe returns. The ASPS also gauged Americans' perceptions of plastic surgery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, analyzing responses from more than 1,000 consumers in a national survey fielded by market research firm Quester. The survey provided insights into how consumers feel about the category and top treatments. The results demonstrate that, during the pandemic, 49 percent of those who haven't had plastic surgery indicated they are open to cosmetic or reconstructive treatment in the future. Of those, 28 percent would consider a first-time cosmetic procedure. Those who had previous procedures reported improved overall confidence, while 29 percent of all respondents indicated specific treatments, such as rhinoplasty, face lifts and breast augmentation, are top of mind for them.

ASPS, In consultation with local, regional and national public health authorities, developed reopening strategies, which include knowing the up-to-date statistics in the community, reviewing patient flow plans that allow for social distancing, availability of COVID-19 testing in the area, reassessing cleaning protocols and daily sterilization of offices, evaluating access to anesthesia supplies and personal protective equipment, spending adequate time to educate staff, and knowing availability of transfer options for your office-based OR/ambulatory surgery center. In addition, patients can also expect enhanced safety protocols for their next in-person visit, including a combination of these measures for reducing the risk of virus transmission including conducting telehealth/virtual encounters in preparation or as a substitute for in-person visits; evaluating which services will be available upon opening and which will be postponed until a later date (e.g., those that require a patient to remove a facial mask); use of online patient portals, electronic communication, mail, or fax to complete registration and other paperwork prior to in-office arrival; screenings, including temperature checks and symptom questionnaires on site; patients wearing masks and waiting offsite before entering; staggered scheduling to accommodate an increasing trend for eliminating waiting rooms; doctors wearing N95 or other FDA/NiOSH approved masks and eye protection/face shields; and identifying all high-touch areas within the facility and scheduling frequent cleanings throughout the day. "Our goal at ASPS is to keep our finger on the pulse of the public and plastic surgeons for all information and questions pertaining to cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery," says Lynn Jeffers, M.D., president of ASPS. "Through our members, our organization continues to be a thought leader for the specialty. ASPS is proud to assist our members in getting back to their practices, and prioritizing the safety of patients, plastic surgeons, and their staff. We encourage patients to discuss questions with their ASPS member plastic surgeons who are committed to setting the standard in excellence and safety as we ramp up our visits and surgeries."

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