Caveat Emptor: Buyer Beware

Dr. Larry Nichter

Caveat Emptor is Latin for “buyer beware.” It is only natural that you want the best value for money and Plastic Surgery often falls into one of these categories. Prospective patients often call board-certified plastic surgeons’ offices or try to bargain for the best price indicating that Dr. “X” will do the same surgery for less.

I am sure someone will do the surgery for a low price, but in selecting this person are you limiting your choices to those least qualified to do the surgery?

Your primary consideration should be the skill and experience of the surgeon. Are you comparing the same number of years of training and experience between doctors? Always check out his/her “before and after” photos and ask to see long-term results. Most importantly, ask whether your doctor is trained and a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience over many years in the procedure you wish to have.

Check your surgeon out with some online research. A good place to start is “find a doctor” on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons web sites.

You can also verify whether a doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery by using the Surgeon Search on the board’s website.

If money is the critical issue, then consider contacting a local University Plastic Surgery Residency program. They often can offer reduced rates for a resident to do the surgery under the guidance of a faculty member.

Another way to reduce costs (if appropriate for your procedure) is to have the procedure done under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center, rather than in a hospital. Your surgeon and PMD can tell you if this is a reasonable option.

—Larry Nichter, MD