Changing my surgeon and need a full refund, am I entitled to it?

I booked a breast augmentation with a non-board certified surgeon (oops) in New York for March 21st. They told me to book an appointment I needed to pay in full (is this normal?). I canceled it 2 weeks ago, they told me I am only able to get 70% of the total surgery amount. I needed to sign 2 documents but was unable to send it. Since I canceled it 7-8 weeks before surgery and they do not have my signature agreeing to anything, am I entitled to the full amount?

Doctor Answers 19

Surgery Fee Refund

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Be sure to check your surgeon's financial policy you should have received with your original surgical quote. Most offices do require a deposit to hold a surgery date that is often non-refundable. However, the deposit is usually in the range of 10-20% of the total surgical cost. Look over your paperwork carefully and call the office to clarify. Best of luck, Dr. Kludt

Stockton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Everyone's policies are different

I think that keeping 30% when you've cancelled 2 months in advance is a bit absurd.  If you hadn't signed anything, I would think you have some recourse though.  If you paid by credit card, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company.  If you paid cash, you may be out of luck.  I wish you the best!

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Check with the clinic's financial policy

Thank you for the question.  Each clinic has different ways in handling their financial affairs.  Best to visit their office and discuss this issue with them.  Best of luck, Dr. Michael Omidi

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Breast Augmentation : Information

Dear Ms. Ariel1121, First, you did the right thing: Canceled your surgery (doctor not being Bd. Cert.).Second, I would make a in person appointment with the doctors adminstrator and discuss with her that you have have done research (RealSelf) and the amount of non refundable deposit is not consistent with most Plastic Sutrgeons offices and would  she would work you.  Some of us apply the deposit towards goods and services within the office aesthesticians, products etc.Thirdly, if that doesn't work ask to speak to the doctor directly.Fourthly, if that doesn't work write a very factual and non emotional letter expressing whythe office should lower the deposit kept.I then recommend that you make several consultative appointments with Plastic Surgeons who are experienced and Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In addition ideally they are members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (denoting by membership as having met additional criteria and a focus on Cosmetic Plastic Surgery).I wish you my best and successI wish you my best and success,R. A. Hardesty, MD, FACSDiplomate and Certified by the Am. Bd. of Plastic Surgerywwwimagineplasticsurgery.com4646 Brockton AveRiverside, Ca 92506(951) 686-7600

Refund policy

Every office is different. Best to deal directly with the office itself. Best of luck with your future surgery.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews


It does sound like you are paying a premium for your procedure. In our office our initial consultation fee is free. In order to book surgery a 500$ deposit is required. The full cost of the procedure has to be paid 2 weeks in advance. IF the patient cancels surgery then the 500$ plus a rescheduling fee is held and the remaining money is refunded. It really depends upon the paperwork contract that was given to you. So, if you are eligible to have your money refunded then it should be spelled out in the contract. Every practice is a bit different as far as their refund policy is concerned.

Best wishes,
Dr. Ravi Somayazula

Ravi Somayazula, DO
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Refund Following Cancellation of Surgery?

Financial practices vary from office to office so you will need to carefully review the documents that were sent to you. Common practice would be to require a 10% non-refundable scheduling deposit at the time that you scheduled your procedure. Requiring full payment at that time would be unusual, but it should have been clearly discussed with you in advance. Most practices collect the full amount several weeks prior to surgery, usually at a pre-op visit but that can also vary for out-of-town patients. Usually there is some type of document that you sign which specifically outlines the policies regarding payment, and in most states that document would be considered a contract, and you would be legally held to the terms of that contract if you signed the document. 

And then there are situations which fall into a grey zone where you may reside. If the office where you scheduled your surgery is not in possession of a signed agreement that specifically states that you are required to make full payment when scheduling, and you only get a 70% refund if you cancel, then you will likely have a very strong legal argument for a full refund of your money. However you may have to fight to get it back. If you truly canceled your surgery two weeks ago, that would have been almost two months in advance of your surgery date. Thus the surgeon would still have plenty of opportunity to fill that surgery date. In that situation many practices would consider refunding you most or all of your money just to avoid the headache and ill will of a dissatisfied patient. 

Refund on surgery

It sounds like you hadn't even seen the surgeon yet for a consultation, but had already scheduled your surgery. Most of us see the patient before booking the surgery. Offices that would accept something like this are more likely to have problems with people backing out, therefore are more likely to have penalties for cancellation. You likely did get told something about the cancellation policy but don't remember it. Entitled to a full refund is a legal question not a medical question.

We charge for the consultation but then credit this amount to the surgery if the patient books with us. Free consultations tend to get you a lot of no shows and people who aren't serious about surgery--otherwise known as a waste of the surgeon's time. Scheduling surgery requires a deposit of $1000. I will refund the surgical fee entirely (not the consultation) if the surgery is cancelled more than 2 weeks before the date. There is a cancellation fee if cancelled within 2 weeks of the date of surgery.

There are a large number of really good plastic surgeons in Chicago. There are even more surgeons available if you are willing to drive a little. I have seen patients from the Chicago area, as have most of my colleagues in the Milwaukee area. The surgeons in Racine and Kenosha see even more from the Chicago area. The good thing about staying local is that you don't have a really expensive trip for your follow up care. God forbid you have a complication, you should be able to see your surgeon for treatment. If you will review some of the other patient questions on follow up care after medical tourism, you will see that they have a really hard time finding a local surgeon to take care of them when they have problems. So consider the 30% the cost of a lesson learned and move on.

Tracy E. McCall, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Depends on the documents

Your refund depends on the documents you signed. Hopefully you have a copy and can review the refund policies.  The refund is based on your contract.  Best wishes.

Refund after canceling surgery and switching to a new surgeon for breast augmentation.

Cancellation policies vary from surgeon to surgeon. It sounds like you're paying quite a premium. In my practice if the patient has scheduled the operation which requires a $500 deposit, that would be forfeited. However, if the patient has a reason for canceling such as a medical issue this money would not be kept by my office.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 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.