No 2 surgeons are the same in the art form of plastic surgery
When considering aesthetic surgery, you have many decisions to make. The most important one is in whom to trust your care. Please realize that plastic surgery is an art form and you only get one chance for a great result so the surgery needs to be done right the first time by the best doctor you can find.
These days, with the economy struggling, even the best plastic surgeons are offering incentives for patients to ease the financial strain of surgery. These may include reductions on regular fees, reductions on fees for multiple procedures or skin care bonuses added to your package as examples. As of this writing there are probably no plastic surgeons who are charging what they did 3 months ago so you may already be getting a great price on a procedure you would have been asked to pay as much as 30% more for this past summer.
Remember you want the best doctor and may need to pay a bit more but in the end it should be worth it!
Caveat Emptor: Filet Mignon or Hot Dogs?
With the increased popularity of cosmetic surgery, there is now increasing competition in the marketplace for patients. Most patients will consult with several plastic surgeons before narrowing their search criteria and settling on one or two who have made the final cut, as to which one will actually do the cutting. At this point, the fee may make the difference between chosing one over the other, and patients may be tempted to "wheel and deal".
However, I believe the decision of who performs your surgery shouldn't be based solely on the fee differential, and it is unwise to attempt to compare apples to oranges. Factors to consider include the experience level of the doctor, the environment in which your care is rendered, and the level of trust you develop in one doctor vs. the other. If you feel more strongly positive about the less-expensive doctor, there is no problem and no need to negotiate. If on the other hand, you feel better about the more-expensive surgeon, should you ask for a discount?
If the surgeon wants "your business", he most likely will offer you some incentive for booking your surgery, such as built-in discounts for each additional surgical procedure performed simultaneously, or perhaps by offering to cover your stay in an aftercare facility, or by giving you a reduced fee for injectables, Botox, or other office procedures.
It is unwise to directly question the fee structure of one surgeon vs. another in the same way you wouldn't ask the Mercedes dealer to match the sticker from the Kia dealer. If you are hunting for bargains, don't expect Filet Mignon treatment on a hot dog budget.
In my practice, fees are quoted by my patient coordinator. In fact, I don't know most of my fees off the top of my head. This is intentional since it keeps me objective and allows me to offer the procedure that I think will best suit the patient, regarless of price.
After discussing your question with my staff, they informed me that we do provide discounts in certain circumstances:
1. If patients undergo multiple procedures during the same operation.
2. If the patients has had a number of previous procedure by me.
3. We sometimes have specials on certain procedure. For example, the Restylane manufacturer may be offering a rebate.
That said, I suppose it never hurts to ask. However, never make a decision about your procedure based on price alone. Always remember that plastic surgery is a service, not a product. Procedures by the same name can yield completely different results. Furthermore, a less qualified doctor may be more inclined to do a procedure for a lower fee.
Plastic Surgery Fees are Not Negotiable
The best plastic surgeons are still busy in this contracting economy, and they are not discounting their fees. At the same time, the most expensive surgeon is not necessarily the most talented, so as a consumer you still have to research this carefully. There is much more to consider than just the price in dollars that you pay: is your plastic surgeon actually listening to you, do they truly understand the appearance that you hope to achieve, do you feel that he or she will be easily available and attentive once the surgery has been performed. If you don’t have a good feeling, don’t stick around to ‘save money’, go somewhere else. Doubt means don’t.
Expertise can actually save you money. Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon that has considerable experience and expertise in both surgical and non-surgical aesthetic treatments. In some cases there may be a non-invasive or less invasive approach that can help you achieve part or all of your aesthetic goals, often at a significantly lower cost. By the same token, don’t take the non-surgical route just because it is less expensive, if what you really need is a surgical procedure to accomplish your goals. Better to hold onto your money and hold off on surgery, rather than spending what you have on a non-surgical procedure that won’t produce the result you are seeking. So expertise is invaluable.
In my Raleigh, NC plastic surgery practice we do offer price consideration to people who have had previous surgeries.
Be very concerned if any practice tries to pressure you into scheduling surgery, if they offer special pricing if you scheule within a particular time period, of if they add a discount if you elect to add on additional surgeries. If you receive a quote for surgery and the practice calls back offering the surgery at a lower and lower price with each passing day, this should be a cause for concern.