I can’t begin to tell you how often we get calls to the office with someone who is just “shopping around” and wants a price for surgery. “How much do you charge for a mommy makeover” (an impossible question to answer in the first place, since this is just a general term for any surgical procedure that a woman who has had children may want). Give them a price, and they say “thank you” and hang up. They aren’t interested in the doctor’s experience or qualifications—just the price.
For a surgery which is pretty standard, such as a breast augmentation with a saline implant, we can give a price on the phone. Of course, that assumes that the patient doesn’t need a breast lift and is generally healthy. If they want a silicone implant, the price will vary depending on the type of implant they choose, and they most likely won’t know that until they come in for a consult. So even a “simple” surgery isn’t always easy to quote on the phone.
But here is my real questions—are you really just shopping for the cheapest surgeon? If a family member needed to have heart bypass surgery, would you call around and ask what the surgeon charges, and then go with the cheapest? Really?
The lowest price should NEVER be the deciding factor when choosing a surgeon of any kind. I think the problem is that many patients forget that cosmetic surgery is two words, and the second word is SURGERY ! It is real surgery , with real risks and real possible complications .The training, experience, skills, bedside manner, staff, operating facility, and the anesthesiologist all factor into the safety and outcome. That doesn’t mean that the most expensive surgeon will give you the very best results or guarantee that you won’t have any complications—no one can make the guarantee. But safety, proper board certification, and experience do matter, and should matter.
So the next time you are just calling around for prices, think twice. Think three or four times. Even if you are “shopping” for Botox or Juvederm—(it isn’t a real surgery you tell yourself, just someone injecting a prescription drug into your face….) Who is doing the procedure? What is their training? Who is the back-up?
Yes, price matters when the dollars are coming out of your pocket. I get that. But this is your life we are talking about.
The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies to medicine as well. Food for thought.