We received a phone call today from a distraught new patient. She had breast augmentation one month ago and traveled two hours from our city to the surgeon of her choice. The reason she was willing to travel so far was not the quality of the work, nor the reputation of the doctor. The only reason was price!
This surgeon was willing to do breast augmentation for about 50% of the price of any other doctor in the area. The patient now has a very significant complication that is getting worse with time. Her surgeon has advised her to wait to see if the problem “goes away.” The problem will not go away, and the surgeon is unable to help her. He does not know how to treat this complication. He is not even a plastic surgeon! The most important choice a patient ever makes prior to having cosmetic surgery is the plastic surgeon she chooses.Patients will sometimes intensively research the price of a procedure, when more emphasis should go to the surgeon’s results, experience, and qualifications.
Price, although important, can be deceiving. Many poorly qualified surgeons garner business by being the cheapest, often cutting corners on safety. With the vast resources the Internet provides, a patient should do the following:
- Make certain the surgeon they choose is actually a plastic surgeon.
- Find out what board the surgeon is board certified by. This board certification indicates the type of training they had. (You do not want a breast augmentation by someone who is certified in, say, general surgery without additional boards in plastic surgery.)
- View as many before-and-after photographs as possible.
- Find what how the plastic surgeon handles unforeseen complications.
- Make sure the surgery center is certified. In many occasions, surgeons skimp on cost and perform surgery in exam rooms or uncertified facilities.
- Make sure your anesthesiologist is a board-certified anesthesiologist.
There are no risk-free cosmetic surgery procedures, so choose a surgeon who has been trained to keep the risks as low as possible. A board-certified plastic surgeon has been trained not only how to do plastic surgical procedures, but also how to handle complications appropriately. If you choose your surgeon based on price, you are likely to be disappointed. You can expect to pay more to have a bad result revised, because revision surgery is more difficult and risky than the original procedure. Sometimes a bad result cannot be corrected, and the results are permanent. That means forever. So buy cheap toilet paper, cheap paper towels, and cheap underwear, but don’t skimp on your plastic surgery!