A day doesn’t go by in my practice where I don’t get requests for discount pricing for some elective cosmetic plastic surgery procedure. Whether it be by phone, e-mail, internet inquiry, or in a face-to-face meeting with a patient or a chance encounter out in public, the requests to do something for ‘free’ or at a substantial discount are endless. This is not a surprise to me because I am certain this is like a lot of retail businesses…customers always want something for less. Everyone is always looking for the best deal.
On the one hand, I think this reflects positively on plastic surgery in general. People want the services, they want to look and feel better about themselves. On the flip side, however, discount pricing for plastic surgery services is generally not a good idea unless it is an established patient who has ‘earned’ the right to such benefits. People may want plastic surgery services, but they must also place an appropriate value on them. Plastic surgery is not like buying a TV or an outfit, you can’t take it back if you don’t like it. And it exposes every patient to potential complications and side effects…unlike that fflay screen TV.
But, most importantly, discount pricing induces many patients to have procedures that they may not really be able to afford. And what happens if complications occur? Can the patient now afford the costs of treating these complications through more surgery? Every patient needs to consider the potential economic impact of complications in the overall picture of affordability of the procedure. Unfortunately, many patients do not.
Lastly, it has been my experience that discount pricing allows the patient to not value the procedure as much as they should. They expect the same results (in fact, many expect perfection) as if they were paying full price. Discount pricing might not be a bad thing if it lowered patient expectations and required less surgical effort and postoperative care, but it does not. In fact, the highest number of complaints and dissatisfaction with cosmetic plastic surgery in my experience has been from those patients who received a full service at a discounted price.
Dr. Barry Eppley