Is It Common to Charge for a Consultation?

Doctor Answers 12

Is it common to charge for a consultation?

Dear Emy1999,

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

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews


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!


Free versus charged consultation

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.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

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.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Consultation Fee

Every doctor has his or her own guidelines regarding consultation fees. Some doctors offer free consultation appointments to prospective patients. Still, some doctors charge up to $500 for this appointment and some offer free consultations with most applying the consult fee to the surgery fee. Typically, in this case, the fee for the consultation is applied to whatever procedure you have should you choose to move forward with that particular surgeon. 

Sam Rizk, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Charges for a plastic surgery consultation

In my practice I do do charge for consultations. The price of the consultation is certainly not a way to generate revenue, but rather a way to see people who are truly serious about having surgery performed.  In some practices, getting new prospective patients through the door is the first priority. I give prospective patients respect and an hour of my time during the consultation. I cannot imagine having the time to adequately care for my patients post-operatively if I had a schedule full of no charge consultations with people who may or may not be serious about having surgery.

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. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

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.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Consultation fees

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.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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!

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

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!

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.