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Get Plastic Surgery at a Lower Cost by a Resident at a University?

In a question posted on Realself asking if it is possible to get a rhinoplasty for under $1000, a plastic surgeon suggested that it is possible to get rhinoplasty and other plastic surgery procedures at a lower cost at a major university such as UCLA or USC by a resident under the guidance of an experienced plastic surgeon. I just wanted to confirm if this is a possibility.

Doctor Answers (16)

Rhinoplasty by resident

+2

The learning curve on rhinoplasty is very gradual and it easily takes 10+ years to reach a level of mastery to produce consistently good results.  I would rank rhinoplasty as the LAST cosmetic procedure you would want to have done by a resident


Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 137 reviews

Lower fee for rhinoplasty by a resident

+2

Though the price of $1000 is very low, even for a resident-performed rhinoplasty, it is possible. That being said, you need to be aware of exactly what that means. Although the low cost is very tempting, you usually get what you pay for. Even in experienced hands, rhinoplasty is a challenging operation and there is always a risk of a result that des not fully meet your expectations. When you are having it performed by an inexperienced surgeon, this risk is greatly amplified. In my experience, patients who focused on price and went for a "bargain" procedure regretted it and ended up requiring secondary complex procedures, which were very expensive, to repair the damage caused during the initial surgery. Best to save and research to find the surgeon in your area most experienced with the procedure. 

Mark Samaha, MD
Montreal Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Lower Cost by a Resident at a University

+1

Yes, it is possible to receive savings by utililizing a resident through an university affiliated teaching hospital. However, rhinoplasty is complex procedure that a surgeon will gain better results with experience. Rhinoplasty has the potential for many complications, and is difficult to revise. Therefore, it is best to choose an experienced and expert surgeon for rhinoplasty. The risk is not worth the minor savings that you might recieve.  

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

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Resident Plastic Surgeon

+1

I trained at UCLA and did cosmetic surgery in the resident clinic.  You can obtain very good results through the residents.  They are supervised by an attending surgeon for these cases.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Get Plastic Surgery at a Lower Cost by a Resident at a University?

+1

  Yes, it is or at least it used to be when I was training and later the head of Facial Plastic Surgery at one of those institutions.  However, things have changed and it might not be so easy to pay and have a Rhinoplasty as a day surgery anymore.  The other thing to consider is that Rhinoplasty is perhaps the most technologically difficult plastic and cosmetic surgery procedure and may not be the best one to be a training case.  At the end, of the day however, only you can decide if the risk outweighs the potential gain.

   IMHO, the most important thing in selecting your Rhinoplasty Surgeon is their ability to understand and follow the proper aesthetics of facial (and nasal) beauty for the creation of a naturally, more attractive nose.  

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Lower cost surgeries at a University.

+1

It is a great idea to contact a University for the cost of surgery by a resident under the guidance of an experienced plastic surgeon.  The cost can be signifincatly lower.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

University Rhinoplasty

+1

Rhinoplasty can certainly be performed at a university with a plastic surgery residency training program.  Residents will be supervised by an experienced professor in almost every case.  I would not expect that any university would be able to perform the procedure for under $1000, and your fees may also include not only the surgeon's fee, but also fees for the anesthesiologist and fee for the time in the operating room.  Some of the most accomplished rhinoplasty surgeons in the country operate in university settings with plastic surgery residency training programs, and most procedures performed by these professors would also incorporate some portion of the procedure being performed by residents, in accordance with their training and skill level.

All the best,

Dr. Skourtis

Mia E. Skourtis, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Cheap Rhinoplasty and Plastic Surgery at Teaching Hospitals

+1

Yes, it is likely that cosmetic surgery can be done for significant less money at a  university affiliated teaching hospital via the "residents clinic" than a private practice Plastic Surgeon.. .At some point every plastic surgeon in training needs to practice and learn how to do all procedures both cosmetic and reconstructive. You are trading the potential risk of inexperience and therefore less predictable outcome for cost savings. On the other hand as a former tenured professor at one of the universities you mentioned, I can tell you that surgeries are usually staffed by experienced and well trained professors who oversee the work being done, so the risk vs benefit question becomes hard to make sense of. I think what I would do in your circumstance is ask the resident/fellow how many of these procedures he/she has done, and the name of the Attending Doctor/Professor (look him up re: credentials) and ask if he will be present during the entire case. The other consideration is that the resident surgeon will graduate or otherwise move on to another facility and you may not have access to him/her for long term follow-up.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Resident surgery

+1

I run the resident clinic at Stanford University and can only speak about our program personally. Our residents are supervised by board certified plastic surgeons. These physicians are there to ensure that the surgery is done appropriately and that sound judgements are made.

Our goal is to have happy patients. The last thing we want is for a patient to be unhappy or seek a revision elsewhere. That would not make for a sustainable practice. 

Sure, rhinoplasty is one of the hardest operations in plastic surgery to master. The key to having a successful result in my opinion is finding a physician whom you are comfortable with. That they understand your goals and you are confident in their abilities. 

David M. Kahn, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

You get what you pay for

+1

While this is possible, I would not recommend this to my family or friends unless there was no other option.  Rhinoplasty is an incredibly complicated surgery.  There is a significant chance for complications that may require revision surgery.  The subsequent corrective surgery may be significantly more expensive and your final result may be less than ideal.  I have personally performed many revisions on resident cases.  There is no guarantee that the "experieced surgeon" is experienced and that this surgeon will be present for the entire surgery.  My recommendation would be to save the money until you can afford to have an experienced surgeon perform your operation.  Warmest regards.

Dr. Pippin 

Gregory Pippin, MD
Metairie Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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.