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Safety Considerations

The Patient Safety Diamond

Developed by the 2010 ISAPS President Dr. Foad Nahai, designates four pillars that are required for safe aesthetic plastic surgery: 

Procedure: Appropriate for the patient

Patient. A good candidate for the procedure


Surgical settings

Get ready for your procedure

Read more about the patients safety diamond

If you are considering an aesthetic procedure, ask yourself the following questions 

Does the procedure you are considering provide the improvements you want? 

Have realistic expectations: understand the improvements and limitations of the procedure. For example, you might be considering liposuction when a tummy tuck is necessary. Check out our procedures section for more information about the main aesthetic plastic surgery procedures. 

Do you fully understand the procedure and possible complications? 

Make sure you understand what the procedure entails in terms of scars, recovery time, and risks. Visit our Recovery, aftercare, and complications webpage for more information. 

A good candidate for the procedure

If you are considering plastic surgery it is essential that you think carefully about what you want and communicate it to your surgeon. Safety must always be a priority and do not rush into making a decision. Setting the right expectations is key for a happy patient. 

A satisfied patient comes from having a correct treatment plan which comes from the surgeon listening to you as a patient, then examining you and finalizing the treatment options that are best for you including what can and cannot be achieved. Sometimes, plastic surgeons will advise patients against a procedure they are requesting if they think it is not realistic or achievable, or just not right for them. 

Before going ahead and to ensure you have a happy experience, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What change do I want to see?  
  • Why do I want that change? 
  • Why am I thinking about the procedure now? What triggered it? 
  • How long have I thought about this procedure? 
  • How am I expecting the procedure to change my life? 
  • Are there other ways I can achieve the changes I want? 
  • Do I want a cosmetic procedure for myself or to please someone else or to improve my social life or job prospects? 
  • Can I afford the costs of the procedure and any future costs to maintain the effect? 

Take some time to decide. If you're having treatment for a mental health condition, speak to the person treating you about having a cosmetic procedure and tell your plastic surgeon about any mental health problems you have had in the past or are still being treated for. 

Qualified with the knowledge, training and experienced in performing the procedure.

Choose a surgeon for your procedure

Safe authorized by the countries regulatory system and with trained personnel and emergency procedures in place 

Regulations vary from country to country, but 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. 

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 use 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 

QUAD A is an international organization that provides accreditation to surgical facilities. ISAPS partners with QUAD A to provide patients with means of determining whether a facility operates under safe practices. 

The certificate of QUAD A 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 a QUAD A accredited facility, you can be confident that your procedure will be performed to the highest standards of safety. 

By ensuring that all four of these criteria are met, you will optimize your safety and the success of your aesthetic procedure.