One of the most common questions we get from potential patients via phone or email is “How much does procedure [fill in the blank] cost?” And while our answer, “It depends,” may sound evasive, it’s really the BEST answer we can give when we haven’t met in person and we have no idea what factors might play into a cost estimate for your procedure. These factors include age, weight, skin condition, your overall health and the time/technique involved to perform the procedure – all things that we assess in great detail during our initial consultation (and why these are so important no matter what procedure you are planning!).
An example. Two women call our office. Each woman expresses interest in having liposuction of the abdominal and thigh areas. Both women ask the receptionist how much the procedure will cost.
The details. Woman #1 is 30 years old, has never had kids and is very active but has some “trouble” spots that just won’t go away no matter how diligent she is with her diet and exercise.
Woman #2 is a 45-year-old mother of three. Her weight has gone up and down over the years and she is starting to see some laxity or sagging of her skin. She has about 25 pounds to lose before she says she would feel great in her body again but wants to jump start her progress with liposuction.
The facts. I might decide to conduct Woman #1’s surgery in one of my surgical suites – not the hospital – where I could use a lighter anesthesia (something a bit like a local anesthetic), because I expect her procedure will not be a long one. The fact that she is younger and in good shape with just a couple of targeted areas where fat has accumulated makes it a fairly straightforward liposuction case – i.e. she’s an “ideal” candidate. It also means her price will be different from Woman #2.
From the initial description it sounds as if Woman #2 may want to consider a mini-tummy tuck in addition to liposuction if her pregnancies have caused loose skin that liposuction won’t effectively address. Adding a tummy tuck to the liposuction procedure will certainly increase the time in the OR, the technical aspects of the case as well as the type of anesthesia (general anesthetic). Further, I would only operate in a full hospital surgical suite. All of this adds up and makes the price quote for her higher than that for Woman #1.
Moral of the story is that responsible, board-certified plastic surgeons should only give a price range for any procedure until they have a detailed, in-person consultation with a prospective patient. This even goes for Botox, Juvederm and other fillers – it’s impossible to know how much product will be needed until I see a patient and his or her goals are clarified.
Here is a list of average price ranges on The American Board of Plastic Surgery website. This is a good start for your research. Be sure to bring that knowledge into the office when we meet and discuss your particular case in person!