What goes into the final tally

One of the biggest factors that can deter prospective cosmetic surgery patients is the cost of the procedure itself. Since cosmetic surgery is, in most cases, discretionary, it’s not typically covered by insurance, so the cost of the procedure falls upon the patient. With surgical procedures running a tab of a few thousand dollars, and even non-surgical options like Botox costing a few hundred, it’s not surprising that some people balk at the bill.

But that price tag isn’t arbitrary. A lot of work and people go into any given procedure, whether it’s apparent or not. Here’s how the cost of a typical procedure is usually broken down.

Surgeon’s Fee

This one’s pretty straightforward – it’s what your surgeon makes. Your surgeon is a skilled, specialized practitioner providing a service, so naturally he or she deserves to be paid. But this fee doesn’t just go into the surgeon’s pocket. Part of this fee has to be divvied up between the surgeon and his or her staff, office rent, insurance, and even student loans. The exact amount this fee entails is decided upon by the surgeon.

Anesthesia Fee

When you undergo surgery, your surgeon isn’t the only doctor in the room. Another specialist, the anesthesiologist, is also there to carefully administer and monitor your anesthetic so that there are no complications or unpleasant, unscheduled wake-up calls on the operating table. Several factors, such as the kind of surgery and the type of anesthetic (local, regional or general), determine the amount of this fee, which is usually discussed ahead of time by the surgeon and the anesthesiologist.

Facility Fee

In order to operate, you need an operating room. Most surgeons have access to an OR, rather than have one on-site. They need to be able to pay for nursing staff, medical materials, and other costs that go into running an operating room. This price is usually at a fixed rate. Materials specific to a surgery, such as breast implants, may cost extra.

When all is said and done, your couple thousand dollars needs to be spread between a lot of different things. And believe it or not, these fees would generally be higher if they were insured. Cosmetic surgery is one of the last areas of medicine where market forces have an effect on cost, so it has to be more affordable to the average consumer.

When you go in for your consultation, be sure to ask your surgeon about each of these fees and how they’ll apply to you.