It’s usually the last question. Patients come in for the free consultation. Who wouldn’t, its FREE! We talk for a while about what they want, what they don’t like about themselves, what they want to change. I examine them – usually with a little self consciousness on the patients part (I can never put someone totally at ease. I guess if I could, they wouldn’t want to change anything). I take some photographs to document their appearance. No, you won’t see any patient photos here.
Next, I talk about what is possible. We discuss the risks, the benefits, the realistic outcomes, and the possible poor outcomes. Then “How much will this cost?”
I usually step out of the room and let my patient care coordinator speak about that. I can’t formulate a clear explanation for it, but I don’t want to be seen as the one asking for money or discussing financing. I think I prefer the role of physician, not accountant.
So what goes in to the cost of having a procedure? Lets break it down and look at a typical plastic surgery – a tummy tuck. First – there is the cost of the place. I choose to do my surgery in an outpatient hospital setting. If I move at a comfortable pace but do a careful job, including liposuction, removing the extra skin, tightening the abdominal muscles, and closing with as fine a line as I can, it takes about 3 hours 15 minutes. That costs $1965.
Then there is the cost of anesthesia (always important). Anesthesia done by a nurse anesthetist under the direct supervision of an anesthesiologist is $1091. Now add on the cost of supplemental insurance (your own medical insurance does not pay for complications). That’s an additional $240. You must also include the post operative binder. Prices vary but average around $50.
Lastly, there is the surgeons fee. My fees run lower than average, but let’s look at the national average. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons published in 2009 a statistical average of surgeons fees. The fee for a tummy tuck was $4936. (Wow, maybe I should raise my fee!)
If you have been keeping score, you see a total of $8282. Seems steep, but how does that compare to other procedures? The Health Care BlueBook lists the total costs of several procedures. Removal of a gall bladder (cholecystectomy) totals $16,435. A hysterectomy comes to $9160. And a hernia repair can be $8156. You see that the cost of plastic surgery is in line with other surgical procedures.
Let’s finish up with financing. Of course paying cash is always nice, but all of the plastic surgeons that I know offer some type of financing plans. We use something called CareCredit. The financing company usually gives the physician the option to pay some of the interest on the financing. That’s a great savings to you. My practice offers a 6 month no interest plan as well as a 24 month and 36 month low interest plans.
Hope that gives you a bit of information. Don’t forget, FREE consultations!