Some surgeons charge for their consults, others don't, and there are different philosophies as to why some do and some don't. It's important to understand that whether or not a surgeon charges isn't really a reflection on the quality of his or her work or ethics-- in other words, just because one surgeon offers free consults, it doesn't mean he is any less of a surgeon, and just because one surgeon charges say $150 or so, it doesn't mean he is trying to charge someone unfairly or anything like that. I would recommend seeing the person who you want to see and perhaps even one or two others, just so you may get the most information and be able to make an informed decision about what procedure will work best for you.
Is It Common to Charge for a Consultation?
Doctor Answers 11
Yes it is very common to charge for a consultation
It depends on the area of the country and what other surgeons are doing. Don't pick your surgeon because they give a free consultation. Ask friends, your family doctor, and use all sources. Pick your surgeon based on results and experience, not because he/she may charge a consultation fee (which is usually applied to surgery anyway). In our Santa Rosa plastic surgery practice we charge a very modest consultation fee which is then applied to surgery. It reduces the number of "tire kickers" and allows us to spend more time with those patients who are truly interested.
Charges for a plastic surgery consultation
Before paying for a consultation, do a lot of research on your plastic surgeon. You can learn a lot by spending time on a plastic surgeon's website. View before and after photos, learn about their philosophy and know about their training and education.
Plastic Surgery consultation fees
Every plastic surgery practice differs.
It is common to charge for professional consultation fees. Fees vary by surgeon and region. These fees are usually nominal. Some surgeons put the fees toward a procedure, if you decide on surgery. Some surgeons put the fees toward charity work, such as reconstructive surgery for patients without insurance. Some surgeons put the fees toward teaching and student education.
Regardless, the consultation fee should not be a deciding factor regarding choosing a plastic surgeon. Best of luck.
Every region is different. My office policy is yes. We do charge for a consultation. A full physical exam and discussion is performed and my expert advice is given.
Plastic Surgeon Charge
When you go see your family practice doctor or your pediatrician, you pay a fee or copay. Your plastic surgeon is no different. You are asking for their time and that involves a fee. If you email your lawyer and ask him a question, you will get a bill in the mail for his time.
Having said that, not all plastic surgeons charge a fee however. So you can still look around and find one that does not charge a consultation fee. Just because a plastic surgeon charges a consultation fee, it does not mean that the are good!
Is it common to charge for a consultation?
To quote Nobel Prize winning Economist Milton Friedman whom we could SURE all use today - "There is no such thing as a free lunch..." There is ALWAYS a reason why something is "free".
All well trained professional charge for their time. Lawyers do. Accountants do. Even Plumbers do. When a plastic surgeon does not - there is a reason.
Most "free" consultations are nothing of the kind. They are usually short, rushed screenings conducted by a doctor in a hurry or more commonly they are conducted by a patient coordinator which often derives part of her income based on how many of these "free" consultation patients she "converted" (IE sold) into paying patients. Then you will be under more pressure to schedule then and there.
Personally, I charge a small amount for a face to face, unhurried consultation with the patient. If he/she decides to proceed and have the surgery within 6 months of the date of consultation, we deduct the cost of the consultation from the professional fee of the procedure - thereby the consultation REALLY becomes free.
In my opinion, both the surgeon and the patient benefit from this balanced approach.
I hope this was helpful.
Peter A Aldea, MD, FACS
It is the option of the surgeon to charge or not to charge. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. If paying for the consult offends you, many other great surgeons don't charge, so vote with your feet!
It's not uncommon
It is not uncommon for a plastic surgeon to charge a consultation fee. And, as I believe you have so eloquently heard, does not indicate the level of experience, abilities or ethics of any particular surgeon. I have personally waffled between charging a consultation fee, charging a consult fee and putting that toward the fee for surgery, and not charging a fee at all. Good luck!
Common but not always standard
Some doctors charge. Some don't. Some apply the fee to surgery. Some don't. There is no right or wrong. Some doctors are busier because they do notcharge for consultation. But some high-demand surgeons charge because they can. My practice is to charge for a comprehensive two -visit consultation that includes photos but to not obligate collection of the consultation fee until the patient decides to take the photos. The fee is usually separate from the surgical fee since it is very thorough, time-consuming, and invariably valuable to prospective patients even if they end up not going through the surgery. There is usully a situation and surgeon to fit everyone.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.