“Chain” stores are a well-known middle ground for consumers across the whole market. In the restaurant industry, for example, you may have fast food chains at the low-end of the market, niche, extreme quality singular restaurants at the high-end, and a middle section full of “chain” restaurants that blend the two together.
The same is true in the automotive industry, the retail industry, and even the plastic surgery industry. A recent article posted by a plastic surgeon discusses her experience working for one, having a procedure in one, and how it compares to private practice. The No Spin Live panel reacts.
Are There Any Problems with Plastic Surgery Chains?
In the current economic upswing, more and more folks have disposable income. As many plastic surgeons has noted, a hot economy leads to more patients coming in for plastic surgery procedures. While not all will have the kind of disposable income to afford major procedures from elite private practices, many may be curious into plastic surgery chains that offer the same procedures at a lower rate. The article in question sheds light on this and how it differs from private practice.
“I thought it was great, the perspective is unique in that most of us haven’t done all of those things that she’s done. Been a plastic surgeon in a private practice, worked in a chain plastic surgery center, and then even from the patient end of a plastic surgery center,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ned Snyder, who has himself a private practice in Austin. “She went on and gave some pretty good advice in looking for red flags, things that all patients should be aware of and looking out for.”
“As I always say, discount plastic surgery is like discount sushi. It may work out! If it doesn’t, you have a big problem.” – Theo Nyame, MD
The main issue with plastic surgery chains is a lessened physician-patient bond. Board certified plastic surgeons who operate private practices generally utilize their added resources to create a doctor-patient environment whose #1 goal is patient safety and results. The results part includes deep discussions with would-be patients not about what they want, but about what they actually need. If a patient comes in looking for liposuction but really needs to address diet and exercise then entertain liposuction may not get the same advice from a plastic surgery chain.
“I worked at a place like that when I first went into practice for about a year and a half, so I have that perspective about that vs. private practice,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Pozner, who has a private practice in Florida. “At these clinics, most of the time, you’re going to find young plastic surgeons who are just out there looking for some cases.” This doesn’t necessarily indicate that the young plastic surgeons are not extremely skilled and talented, but rather that the technical side of surgery is being met while the doctor-patient aspect may be lacking. Because of this, patients may receive a great procedure, but it may not have been what they needed specifically and their post-care may be non-existent.
Be Wary Always of Discounted Plastic Surgery
The discount that plastic surgery chains may offer is helpful financially, but doesn’t always translate to achieving patient goals.
“As I always say, discount plastic surgery is like discount sushi. It may work out! If it doesn’t, you have a big problem,” shares Dr. Theo Nyame, a board certified plastic surgeon at the private practice Charlotte Plastic Surgery. “I think this article gave a unique perspective. Sometimes people are coming in and they’ll say, ‘Well, this guy is charging this.’ Well, why is there a discount? With something this important, do you really want to gamble on it?”
In this sense, discounts for plastic surgery are wildly different than discounts on clothing or a restaurant. A patient isn’t buying a meal or a suit that was marked down, they’re buying a surgical procedure that will put them at risk via surgery. This isn’t to say that plastic surgery chains are more dangerous than private practices, but rather that surgery is always, no matter what, serious business. General anesthesia has risks, every patient may have unique traits that amplify risks, and complications during surgery can always arise. Considering these truths, are patients comfortable with a more business-like take on handling them? Or a pointedly medical and experienced take, as with a private practice surgeon who spends immense time in surgery and working with their patients to achieve their goals.
Dr. Pozner shares his own experience now in private practice vs. back when he worked at a plastic surgery chain outfit. Great, valuable, and critical experience was gained with his time there, but the procedures he performs now decades into his career are much more refined. “Just as an example, my breast aug today is not the breast aug I did 20 years ago,” he shares. “I’m down to thinking about millimeters vs. back then it was a whole different world.”
At the end of the day, patients will have to make the ultimate call whether it is right for them. Procedures via a plastic surgery chain may turn out great, and the majority are probably as safe as you’d find anywhere else. However, this isn’t a guarantee, and neither are results from a patient-prescribed procedure. Utilizing the wealth of experience, training, and education board certified plastic surgeons involve themselves with, as well as the importance of a doctor-patient relationship, is the best guarantee of not only safety, but extreme success with results. It’s on the patients to decide whether or not spending the extra money is worth it to them.