Q: Dr. Eppley, I don’t know if you are familiar with Groupon (if you are on this planet you must by now) but it has been a wonderful idea for me. I have participated in numerous Groupon deals for a variety of merchandise and restaurants and have saved a lot of money by doing so. i am interested in getting breast augmentation later this year and was wondering if you will ever have a Groupon for breast implants?
A: While Groupon may be very appropriate and a good consumer concept for meals, spa treatments and other conventional retail items, it is a poor idea when it comes to plastic surgery. This makes the very serious endeavor of human surgery a trivial matter and places it as a mere commodity. It brings it done to the level of money-off coupons, day long specials and competition prizes. Besides the very serious breach of ethics of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, such business tactics belittles plastic surgery and the medical profession as a whole. But the real tragedy is in how it may affect patients who will undoubtably suffer complications and even lifelong injuries from such promotional activity. What corners are being cut to provide plastic surgery at such low prices? Equally importantly, what are the qualifications and experience of surgeons who must use this patient draw tactic to get surgery? Aesthetic plastic surgery should be a thoughtful decision that is driven by consideration of the benefits vs the risks of the procedure not by low pricing. You can return a dress you don’t like or never go back to that restaurant where the meal was not very good, but plastic surgery is not ‘returnable’ and often is not even reversible. While the economics of elective plastic surgery (e.g., breast augmentation) is always an important issue, it should never be the most significant one.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Hello, I recently had a consultation with a plastic surgeon in Indianapolis for rhinoplasty and breast augmentation. The doctor told me that I could have both procedures for a low price as long as I did not finance it. I felt the Doctor was not personable. I have looked at your before & after photos and wanted to know if you would discount the procedures if I paid without financing.
A: Financing of elective cosmetic surgery procedures today is extremely common. While once accounting for about 5% of cosmetic surgeries in the United States in 2000, that number is approximating near 40% in 2010 based on my practice experience. While financing has been a boon to plastic surgeons in general, there is a surcharge from the financing company to do it and some of that comes out of the plastic surgeon’s fee. A similar issue applies to credit cards which extracts about a 3% surcharge.
For these reasons, there is always a financial benefit in most plastic surgeon’s offices if a patient can handle paying for their cosmetic surgery without financing. That would be true for just about any other business as well so this not unique to plastic surgery.
When combined cosmetic procedures are done, it is also common practice to provide some discount over what those procedures would be if they were done separately. For this reason, it is always best to combine as many procedures as you desire in a single surgery. This is not only more efficient from a recovery standpoint but financially as well.
Dr. Barry Eppley