Overview of Bariatric Plastic Surgery Prices

Congratulations on your weight loss! You have reached your goal weight and now you are ready to put the finishing touches on the shape and contour of your body. While weight loss surgery may have helped you lose a significant amount of weight as well as improve your health and reduce your body size, it may have also left behind unsightly flaps of excess skin and areas of fatty tissue. This is common following significant weight loss. Because of this problem, many post-bariatric patients are turning to bariatric plastic surgery to enhance their new, smaller figure and reveal their true body shape.

Bariatric Surgery Patient
Many post-op bariatric surgery patients are turning to cosmetic plastic surgery to enhance body shape and increase comfort

Some of the more popular cosmetic procedures for post-bariatric patients are abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), breast lift with breast augmentation, and liposuction. While many of these procedures are performed for cosmetic reasons, some procedures may be necessary for medical reasons. A panniculectomy, which is surgery to remove the excess skin and fat that hangs from the stomach after weight loss, may be medically necessary to prevent infections from developing under the folds of skin. Plastic surgery not only improves body image, but it can boost your self-confidence and increase your comfort.

Determining the Cost of Plastic Surgery

The full cost of plastic surgery can vary significantly depending on many factors and will not be known until recovery is complete. Even when a cost is quoted, it is only approximate, as it does not take into account any unforeseen complications or necessary revisions.

The first step in finding out the cost for a plastic surgery procedure is to set up an appointment with a plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon will examine the patient and determine a patient's individual needs and requirements.

The main factors that affect the total price of plastic surgery include:

  • Plastic Surgeon's Fee
  • Hospital or Medical Facility Costs
  • Anesthesiologist's Fee
  • Patient's Condition
  • Type of Procedure
  • Implant Fees (Breast Augmentation)
  • Compression garments
  • Medication
  • Complications
  • Revisions and Follow-up Procedures
  • Laboratory Tests and X-Ray Charges

Average Fees of Plastic Surgeons

One of the primary costs of plastic surgery is the surgeon's fee. When comparing fees for surgeons, keep in mind that the amount can vary depending on geographic region, surgeon experience, and individual patient factors.

The following list provides national averages for surgeon's fees in 2011 for some of the more popular plastic surgery procedures (Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery):

  • Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) $3,790
  • Breast Augmentation (Saline implants) $3,308
  • Breast Augmentation (Silicone gel implants) $3,694
  • Breast Lift (Mastopexy) $4,233
  • Buttock Lift $4,498
  • Face Lift (Rhytidectomy) $6,408
  • Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia) $3,277
  • Lipoplasty $2,773
  • Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy) $7,311
  • Thigh Lift (Thighplasty) $4,736
  • Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) $5,278

Also note that the figures listed above do not represent the total cost of the procedure, only surgeon fees. Other costs associated with surgery include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, and other miscellaneous costs related to surgery.

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon - Cost vs Expertise

Choosing a plastic surgeon should not be based on cost but on expertise and credentials. While you may pay more for an experienced and reputable plastic surgeon, you will also increase the likelihood of a positive outcome and reduce the chance of complications. It is important to select a doctor that is board-certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), a certification that indicates the completion of specialty training in plastic surgery.

Hospital Accreditation - Cost vs Safety & Care

Before undergoing plastic surgery, make sure the surgery will be performed in an accredited medical facility (hospital, surgery center, or plastic surgery office). The accreditation is awarded to medical facilities that provide acceptable levels of patient care and safety. Do not try to save money by allowing your surgery to be performed at a non-accredited medical facility.

Health Insurance Coverage for Plastic Surgery

Depending on the procedure, the plastic surgery may or may not be covered by your health insurance. While insurance companies do not typically pay for cosmetic procedures, they sometimes pay for plastic surgery procedures if they are performed for medical reasons. If the procedure is being performed for medical reasons, your doctor should be able to explain this to the insurance company in the pre-authorization request.

Patient Financing For Cosmetic Surgery

Medical financing can help patient's afford plastic surgery when it is not covered by insurance or they don't have the cash available to pay for the procedure. By taking out a loan, the payment amount is broken down into smaller monthly payments over a period of time which makes it more affordable for most people. Usually, the plastic surgeon will have an arrangement with certain companies and will be able to provide you with patient financing information.

Liposuction - Cost and Purpose

The cost of lipoplasty can vary from $2000 to $8000 for one liposuction session, to as much as $12,000 to $20,000 for multiple sessions. While there are many ways to calculate liposuction fees, a general guideline is to assume that the more fat suctioned the more it costs. Depending on the doctor's pricing structure, the cost may be based on volume of fat suctioned, the specific area suctioned, how many areas are suctioned, or how much time is spent suctioning the fatty tissue. As a cosmetic body contouring procedure, liposuction is not meant for weight loss, but it performed to remove remaining areas of fatty tissue after weight loss has occurred.