Cosmetic Surgery Safety: California requires pre-op medical clearance ("Donda West Law")

By Dr. Sutton Graham on October 18, 2009

Dr. Graham has emphasized safety and patient comfort for almost 20 years performing cosmetic surgery. Our patients receive thorough medical history evaluation and perioperative teaching, appropriate physical examination, and evaluation of our physician anesthesiologist prior to surgery. We contact our patient's primary care doctors, and occasionally cardiologists, to request relevant health information prior to surgery. This is nothing new.

Following an unfortunate well publicized tragedy in California, a local legislator held a public contest to request suggestions for laws. As a result her law requires a preoperative medical evaluation by a physician before cosmetic surgery.

Excerpt: "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law on Oct. 11 legislation authored by District 62 Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter that would requires a health check and a written clearance before being allowed to undergo plastic surgery. Assembly Bill 1116, named the Donda West Law, was inspired by the death of Kanye West's mother. The bill came as a result of her 62nd Districtwide contest, "It Ought to Be a Law." "This law will potentially saved lives," Assemblymember Carter said. "There is a growing trend of people opting to have elected cosmetic surgery, and they are not aware of the risks involved." Specially, the law requires physicians and surgeons, including people licensed by the state holding permits to perform elective facial cosmetic surgery to complete a physical examination including a complete medical history on their patients, prior to performing elective cosmetic surgery."

The text of Assembly Bill 1116 follows:

Accreditation standards for Office Surgical Facilities and hospitals routinely require pre-operative medical history taking and physical examination. All surgeons that are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons ( are required to only operate in accredited facilities. For more information on our quality and safety see our website,

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