Plastic surgery is booming. A combination of an aging baby boomer demographic, greater disposable income, affordable surgery and greater awareness, have all contributed to an increase in both surgical and non-surgical enhancements.
Patients are able to enjoy improvements to their face and body appearance like never before. However, along with the highly publicized successes of plastic surgery, there exist pitfalls and drawbacks that patients need to avoid. We call these the dirty little secrets of plastic surgery.
Part 2: The “Free” Consultation: You Get What You Pay For
The first step towards self-improvement through plastic surgery starts with the consultation. Some plastic surgeons offer “free consultations” in order to keep their waiting rooms and surgical schedules full. These usually go hand-in-hand with heavy advertising, phony car dealer-type “discounts” and a slick sales pitch. Ironically, places that lure patients with free consultations often charge more for surgery than honest, reputable plastic surgeons.
The problem with free consultations is that the patient usually gets what they pay for, nothing. Although there are exceptions, it is difficult to have a thorough and meaningful consultation with a plastic surgeon when dozens of other patients are also waiting for their brief “free” consultation. Patients typically complain that they felt like they were taking a number at the supermarket deli counter. I recall one patient who told us that her free consultation consisted of the doctor shaking her breasts and remarking, “Yup, you could use a boob job”!
Our office policy is to charge a modest cosmetic consultation fee. However, even though our fee is modest, it serves as a sufficient screening method. Amazing as it might seem, since plastic surgery is such an important, life-changing process that typically costs thousands of dollars, some patients quibble over paying even a modest fee for a consultation. We’re happy to refer them elsewhere for their freebies.
The decision to have plastic surgery is an important one that should be given the time, effort and seriousness that it deserves. The patient should invest in a thorough, honest and meaningful consultation. We have heard no greater regret than the patient who fell for a free consultation and slick sales pitch only to need to have the surgery redone.
Remember, unlike bad food, bad plastic surgery can’t be cured the next morning. So take your time, avoid “free” consultations, see several reputable doctors, and choose wisely. Remember, it’s your face and your body, don’t compromise.
About the Author:
Dr. Perez is a graduate of The Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has been selected among Castle Connolly/U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Top Doctorsevery year since 2000 (again for 2012-2013). He has lectured internationally and been featured as a plastic surgery expert for major media outlets. A limited number of personalized consultations are offered by appointment only.