How do surgeons and clinics price cosmetic surgery? The cost of any surgery, inevitably plays a role in the decision making process for you so it’s only natural you do your research. You need to feel comfortable you’re paying the right price (nobody likes to be duped) but the question is, how easy and accurate is it to know what the price of surgery is?
Firstly comparing any medical procedure or surgery is not as straightforward as comparing for example, kitchen appliances or holiday packages. When you try to compare prices with surgery, it is likely you will not be comparing like for like. Trying to establish the going market rate therefore becomes a little tricky.
This is because in any service, even under the same name, can vary tremendously making it hard to compare. For example, a procedure such as ‘facelift’ could be a term used to describe a variety of procedures such as eyelift, brow lift, cheek lift or mid face lift. To complicate matters further, there are also many different patient situations that would determine or change the price of an operation.
Another key factor contributing to cost is surgeon’s abilities. It’s very difficult to differentiate a surgeon’s surgical ability and the small nuances that collectively make up the differences between an average result and a great result. It’s likely that most people would not know how to do this.
Why is surgeon’s ability important? Well, I think most people want the absolute best possible result with any cosmetic surgery involving their body or their face and therefore want the best surgeon, not the cheapest surgeon. And please remember there is no such thing as cheap and cheerful when it comes to surgery. After all could you imagine saying ‘at least it didn’t cost too much’ when you’re left with a visibly substandard cosmetic result on your face or even your breasts?
More importantly, you simply can’t get a bad or unsatisfactory result from a procedure such as a facelift, re-done or reversed easily. Improving or revising any failures of a first procedure will simply not be possible until enough loose skin has developed again, which usually takes years rather than months.
HOW TO BREAK DOWN SURGERY PRICES
So what do you have to do to understand or make sense of pricing? First I think it’s important to take into consideration the different elements involved with any surgical procedure; it’s the sum of all these factors that top surgeons masterfully and brilliantly manipulate, in order to get top quality results. Their prices therefore reflect this experience and ability.
To illustrate and understand how complicated this is I’ll use a facelift procedure as an example. For a facelift you need to be aware of the following key technical issues:
- Does the surgeon’s techniques support and secure the underlying muscular structures of the face as well as can be? This will ensure your lift lasts as long as possible and your face can function and move correctly.
- Will the skin be dissected, released and re-draped as naturally as possible. This will ensure you’re not left with the ‘windswept’ look.
- How does the surgeon deal with the ‘dead space’ developing under the skin flaps during and after the operation?
- Will the surgeon have the skill to handle your tissues and vital structures, such as nerves and skin, in the gentlest way possible to ensure the least trauma, swelling and bruising? This will contribute to a quicker recovery.
- Are the scars positioned accurately in the natural creases as much as possible away from obvious lines of vision or are they visible because of poor planning?
- What experience does the surgeon have in handling adverse reactions or a complication? Complications can occur in the best hands however its how these are handled which will determine whether or not you get the best possible outcome.
- What is their follow-up care and back up like?
- Where is the surgery being performed? You should always try to opt to have your surgery performed in an accredited surgical hospital facility rather than an outpatient surgery centre. I personally prefer to do all my operating in a hospital operating room so there is safety backup if any problems arise. Of course this adds to the cost because hospital fees are usually higher than outpatient surgery centres especially if an overnight stay is included.
So as you can see there are a lot of considerations but bear mind I’ve only listed a few, so the full list of factors determining the price of a surgery and the surgeon’s skills and abilities is actually far longer and greater!
From a surgeon’s perspective navigating around all of these issues makes the difference between an average or not so great facelift and an exquisitely performed one, and that’s why prices can vary. A very experienced top surgeon, who guides his way around these issues with great skill to consistently deliver great overall results, knows his worth and usually prices his surgery accordingly.
Younger more inexperienced plastic surgeons that do not have long-established practices, or surgeons who are not even specialist plastic surgeons may subsequently offer a facelift at lower cost. It takes many years of experience to become proficient in face lifting (or any operation!) and it’s also true to say that some surgeons may never become totally proficient in a particular type of surgery – in the same way not all footballers will become a Cristiano Ronaldo no matter how much they play.
That’s not to say of course that paying a big surgical fee will guarantee you a great result or eliminate the possibility of complications, because in medicine there is no such thing as a guarantee no matter who performs the surgery. It’s just that with the very best top surgeons they are probably in a better position, as a result of more experience, knowledge and refined techniques, to offer you a more favourable result.
UNDERSTANDING PRICE OF NON-SURGICAL TREATMENTS
You may think that treatments such as wrinkle-reducing Botox are the same anywhere you go. After all, they are using the same product right? Wrong! When it comes to Botox, factors such as how much you use and how the product is used greatly influence results.
I often use the analogy of three chefs using the same ingredients to make a soufflé yet results can vary enormously. Similarly, just because two practices have the same laser device, it doesn’t mean they will achieve the same results. The use of different settings and applications on these devices can make all the difference in results.
WHAT IF THE SURGEON I WANT IS TOO EXPENSIVE?
In summary, when considering any cosmetic surgery, it’s really important you think quality first and price second. But I hear you cry: I don’t have enough money for the surgeon I know is the best! What do I do? My suggestion would be to wait until you have saved up enough to go to them.
Remember cosmetic surgery is not an emergency. You do not have to have it done right now. If you don’t have the funds now, you’ll only end up regretting it if you go elsewhere and find yourself disappointed with results. When it comes to your face (or any part of your body for that matter) you want the best and deserve the best, so wait until you’re ready for that best!