Frequently asked questions
Are fees for all cosmetic surgery the same?
No. Cosmetic surgery fees vary greatly, and
what you'll pay depends upon:
The surgeon's fee: Physician's charges
vary according to the surgeon's experience
and other variables. Check out the American
Society of Plastic Surgeons' Web site
to see the fee range in your area for the
procedure you're considering.
The hospital or facility fee: Whether
you have surgery in the hospital operating
room or day surgery unit, there will be a
fee. If your procedure requires you to remain
overnight in the hospital, there may be an
The anesthesia fee: You will pay the
anesthesia department separately for anesthesia
We will provide a proposed surgery estimate
— including surgeon's, facility and
anesthesia fees — before you leave the
office. If you're unsure about what the estimate
includes, ask. You will be asked to make a
deposit to hold your surgery date and you
must pay all fees two to four weeks before
your scheduled surgery.
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Insurance carriers don't pay for cosmetic surgery.
Traditionally, insurance providers pay expenses
related to diseases, illness and injury –
reconstructive treatments considered medically
necessary because the condition interferes with
the individual's health and ability to function
normally. When you begin to consider cosmetic
surgery, plan for the expense as well.
Insurance carriers have different definitions
for "cosmetic" and "medically
necessary." In virtually all cases, carriers
don't reimburse for cosmetic surgery, but the
insurer may determine that part of the surgery
is medically necessary. The patient is then
responsible for the part of the surgery the
insurance company considers cosmetic.
If you have a question about insurance coverage,
be sure to ask your plastic surgeon's office
staff. They can help work with your insurer
to determine what may be covered.
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How do I know I'm seeing a qualified plastic
Finding a well-trained, experienced plastic
surgeon is one of the most important steps in
ensuring you get the results you want. Here's
how to find the best physician for you:
Check for board certification. Does
American Board of Plastic Surgery certify
him or her? This is the only board that certifies
Check professional memberships. Is
she or he a member of the
American Society of Plastic Surgeons?
This professional society promotes education
and standards among board certified plastic
Check out the hospital. Is he or she
on the staff of an accredited hospital? Hospitals
can be accredited by any of several private
and public organizations; the most common
accrediting body is the Joint
Talk to your family physician for
information about another physician's qualifications.
Ask your plastic surgeon about his or
her education, training for a particular
procedure and experience with the procedures
Question the source, if you get information
from friends. While they may be able to recommend
a qualified plastic surgeon, friends may also
base their opinions on second- or thirdhand
Read up. Magazines or television programs
may be reliable resources, but be cautious.
Don't base your decision solely on them; check
out the source.
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What about confidentiality?
Although many people are more open about their
own cosmetic surgery now than they once were,
not everyone is. We all want the privilege of
telling family and friends about our surgery
ourselves. Be assured that in most plastic surgery
offices, your privacy is highly guarded. At
Penn, all new staff members must attend training
sessions in how to maintain patients' privacy.
Following the training, each new employee signs
an agreement to follow privacy and confidentiality
principles. Our physicians and support staff
use discretion with patient information.
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Will my cosmetic surgery be obvious to my
This question may reflect some of our inner
conflicts about cosmetic surgery, but it also
illustrates how cosmetic surgery has evolved
over the years. Current fashion now strives
for a "natural" look. We seek a lifestyle
of greater ease. Hair and makeup styles enhance
one's natural features, rather than creating
an artificial look. Cosmetic surgery reflects
We want a renewed appearance without looking
"done over." Just a decade ago, most
cosmetic surgery candidates were at least 50.
Now people between 35 and 50 make up a greater
proportion of patients than ever. People over
50 claim that they don't want to appear younger
-- just more like themselves.
Plastic surgeons work tirelessly to improve
their techniques and achieve more pleasing results.
As they've learned more about the face's structure,
surgeons have been able to achieve results that
look more natural, as well. For instance, a
facelift's lines are softer and no longer give
that "wind-tunnel," pulled look. As
a matter of fact, many plastic surgeons refer
to procedures like facelifts, eyelid lifts,
browlifts and laser skin resurfacing as "facial
Will your cosmetic surgery be obvious to your
friends? It's likely that your friends will
think you look bright, fresh and alive. They
may credit a restful vacation, a lower stress
level or a new hairstyle; you'll look like yourself,
but better! And wasn't that the goal in the
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How long will the effects of my plastic
It's hard to predict how long your cosmetic
surgery's effects will last, because it depends
upon so many variables. First, it depends on
what type of surgery you have. If you have surgery
to change basic facial features, such as nose
reshaping (rhinoplasty), chin
or cheek surgery, the
effects are permanent because the changes are
If you have surgery to decrease the effects
of aging (such as a facelift), the surgical
results' longevity will depend on some of the
- Your heredity/genetics
- Sun damage at the time of surgery (and protection
from further sun damage)
- Whether or not you smoked in the past or
continue to smoke
- Your facial tissues' elasticity
If you have a facelift,
you can expect the effects to last for five
to ten years, with an average of seven years.
If you undergo an eyelid
lift, you can expect the effects to last
for eight to ten years, in most instances.
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How should I take care of my hair before
and after my facelift?
Before surgery, consider growing your hair a
little longer or changing your style to cover
the surgical incisions. If you let your hair
stylist know you're planning to have cosmetic
surgery, he or she may have some styling suggestions.
You may also want to talk to your stylist about
a new hairstyle for after surgery. Take advantage
of your fresher, more youthful look by having
your hair restyled.
After surgery, when your plastic surgeon gives
the okay for shampooing -- usually within 24
to 48 hours after surgery -- use a mild shampoo.
Wash your hair gently; don't rub vigorously
with your hands or the towel. You could pull
on the incisions, slowing the healing process.
Whether your have your hair done or you dry
it yourself, use a cool setting on the hair
dryer. Heat can increase swelling in your incision,
interfering with healing. Also, the area around
the incision may be numb. You can easily burn
yourself without knowing it.
Don't have your hair colored less than a few
days before surgery and for four weeks following
surgery. Hair color products contain chemicals
that may irritate the incisions.
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