The Surgical Setting for Cosmetic Surgery Abroad - ISAPS

The Surgical Setting

Because regulations vary from country to country, it can be difficult to determine whether the surgical setting your surgeon uses is safe for your cosmetic plastic surgery abroad. The most reliable measure of safety is to verify that your surgeon uses an accredited hospital or outpatient clinic. To become accredited, the facility must pass a comprehensive evaluation and operate in accordance with patient safety standards.

ISAPS is dedicated to cosmetic plastic surgery safety. Find an ISAPS accredited outpatient facility.

Safety Protocol

The World Health Organization (WHO) developed a 19-question surgical safety checklist that, when consistently implemented, can reduce surgical complications and surgical deaths. This simple checklist, much like a pilot's pre-flight checklist, can be used in a variety of surgical settings without additional costs. The checklist is divided into three phases of surgery:

  • Before anesthesia
  • Before an incision is made
  • Before the patient leaves the operating room

For each phase, a designated staff member must confirm that the surgery team has completed the listed tasks before it proceeds. Ask if your surgeon and surgical facility uses the WHO checklist or a similar protocol.


If your procedure is to be performed in a hospital, verify that the hospital is accredited or certified. Ask your surgeon for certification information and the name of the certifying body. Healthy patients should not be exposed to patients with infectious diseases. In a safe hospital setting, healthy aesthetic plastic surgery patients should not be treated in the same operating room, cared for by the same medical staff and share recovery areas with patients who are ill.

Outpatient Facilities

The American Association for Accreditation for Ambulatory Surgery Facilities International, (AAAASFI), formerly known as Surgery Facilities Resources, Inc. (SFR), is an international organization that provides accreditation to surgical facilities. ISAPS partners with AAAASFI to provide patients with means of determining whether a facility operates under safe practices.

The certificate of AAAASFI accreditation signifies to patients that the accredited facility has voluntarily opened itself to the scrutiny of an international organization dedicated to patient safety. Accredited facilities must meet stringent national standards for equipment, operating room safety, personnel and surgeon credentials. When you choose a surgeon who uses an AAAASFI accredited facility, you can be confident that your procedure will be performed to the highest standards of safety.

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