Reader Laura’s Comment
“This story talks about the deficiencies in controlling infections at surgery centers, where procedures such as plastic surgery and colonoscopies are performed. Is there a way for patients to be able to check out the surgery center before they go into surgery? You can do a lot of research about your surgeon but what about the place where you are going to have your surgery? What would you recommend?”
Ambulatory surgery centers, where procedures such as plastic surgery and colonoscopies are performed, have deficiencies in controlling infections, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study of 68 centers found that 67% had at least one lapse in infection control and 57% had been cited for deficiencies.
You have to be very careful when you read these kinds of reports. The real question is whether or not it is safe to operate in surgery centers. In my experience, good surgeons keep an eye on the surgical facilities at which they operate. I operate in two surgery centers with really low infection rates. As part of my practice I follow infections when they occur and change operating facilities when and if a pattern arises.
When the article reports a “Lapse in infection control” what exactly does that mean? Did the patient concerned get an infection? When they say “cited for deficiencies” it does not always mean that something bad happened. On the other hand, some surgery centers are dirty. I don’t operate in those. Much of this comes under the heading of find a good surgeon and trust him.