Why is REAL aesthetic plastic surgery so expensive?

The excitement of new facial beauty or body satisfaction may be tempered by sticker shock when procedure cost is calculated.  Why so expensive?  “The doctor isn’t giving me anything, he’s working on something that’s already there, my face and/or body.”  “The surgery is only going to last a couple of hours, why is it thousands of dollars?”  These sentiments are understood, but only to the uninitiated, unaware of what is involved in quality care.  Costs that seem high may represent tremendous value, or a liability, depending on your result.  Discussions of costs must be considered in the context of objective surgery expenses and subjective factors as well.  Let’s discuss first what you’re paying for, and second what you’re getting in return.

On a tangible level, your surgery purchase pays for people, places, and things that come together to provide a complex individualized service.  You want safety and perfection, but these cannot be taken for granted. We live in a world of microbes, and our skin is a barrier preventing invasion of disease causing (pathogenic) bacteria.  Surgery breaks the skin barrier, opening your face or body to invasion by a host of pathogens.  Infection is a disaster that must be prevented during surgery.  To do so requires a specialized environment to minimize risk.  A controlled sequestered operating room environment with multiple costly layers of disinfection and defense is required.  A sterile surgical field.  Autoclave(s) to sterilize everything.  Purchase of sterile instruments and disposable one-time use supplies (expensive).  Staff that is trained and experienced in sterile technique.  Preventive antibiotics and antiseptics.  Cleaning staff who regularly disinfect the rooms, and who understand infection control measures.

Anesthesia, especially general anesthesia, totally eliminates all pain associated with every operation, but in the process suppresses life maintaining functions: breathing and circulation.  Your level of anesthesia must be tightly controlled by administration of enough medication to keep your pain level at ZERO, but not too much so that no part of you suffers from diminished life giving oxygen.  This requires costly drugs, an expert professional anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, and costly ventilation (respiratory) and monitoring equipment and supplies.

If you’re getting stitches or implants, they’re extensively engineered and highly tested to rigid quality standards, they’re FDA approved (costly), and they’re manufactured and sterilized in a facility with purified materials by highly controlled processes.   Medical and surgical devices are expensive.

Licensing, accreditation, drugs, linen, administration, insurance, utilities, real estate, and other costs of any business apply to surgery centers, doctors offices, and every medical facility.

The above expenses and others combine to mandate the minimum cost of providing surgical services.

So what are you getting in return for your expensive procedure?  True beauty and confidence in your appearance has no price.  If you get the lasting improvement you were hoping for from your procedure, whatever you paid, it’s well worth it.  Most aesthetic surgical procedures can be life changing, even dramatically so.  However, what if you do not get the result of your vision?  What if you don’t look much better or different at all?  What if you lose your good result after a brief post-surgical duration?  In that case, whatever you paid is likely too much.  So as it turns out, even though the cost of standard surgical procedures is relatively fixed, the value of your procedure depends on the quality and longevity of your result.

It’s best not to shop for procedures, but to shop for results.  Results determine the value you should  expect.  Non-surgical technologies are costly, because expensive devices and trained professionals provide the service.  Results however may or may not be proportionate to what you pay.  Shop for your procedure and your doctor based on outcomes that technology and doctor have provided for others.

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