I always get asked how much does something cost? How much does a breast reduction cost? How much does a mummy makeover cost? How much do you charge for breast implants? How much are lip fillers? How much is a facial?
I think these are all extremely relevant questions as we need to be able to budget for it and justify paying for something that is not essential, perhaps even a luxury for some, more importantly, an investment for many.
I believe cost really is only one factor in any decision – it’s not the only consideration and it should not be the only factor that determines whether someone chooses to have a service or not.
I understand that there is often guilt with choosing to spend money on oneself, particularly when we have other bills to pay, kids and families to look after but it really comes down to priorities and how much is something worth to you?
This is where I like to think of anything not in terms of cost, but in terms of VALUE.
When comparing 2 things exactly identical such an iPhone X at an Apple store vs say another retail distributor – then the price of the phone should technically be the same – but who you end up buying from takes into consideration other elements such as the degree of helpful, friendly service you receive and perhaps the convenience and location of the place where you are purchasing from.
When we talk about luxury services such as cosmetic injectables – the cost of an ml of filler shouldn’t actually be of prime importance because if it doesn’t give you the desired result, then it’s irrelevant the price of it is.
This is where it’s all about value – what exactly does the ml of filler give you – it then depends on the expertise of the service provider being their experience, aesthetic flair, technique so it is relatively painless without significant bruising, and the product being used as not all fillers are made equally and the environment in which the service is provided in terms of quality of customer service and aftercare.
No different to surgery – how much is a breast reduction? It depends. It can be cheap overseas for example but is there the guarantee of safety and aftercare and are the techniques sophisticated and the results brilliant? If you are not concerned by how it looks and how long it takes to heal and the quality of the scar and the follow-up, then a low priced service is extremely high value.
However, if you place a high value on the appearance, safety and outcomes, then cost is actually secondary and you will find a way to make it happen.
It’s no different to your philosophy on education. Is private school better than public school? Not at all but for parents who want the extra extracurricular opportunities and facilities and pastoral care that some private schools offer them the luxury price tag is worth it and they will find a way to prioritise that ahead of perhaps family holidays or other things.
For parents who believe education depends on so much more than the school then the extra thousands per year is not worth it.
Anyhow, I totally understand why some people choose surgery and cosmetic procedures based on price alone due to financial constraints and how much value they place on it. However, as a plastic surgeon who has spent over 14 years of study, studying 10,000 hours for a plastic surgery exam while working over 80 hour weeks, operated on over 5,000 patients, invested in the latest premium technology and services in luxurious clinics with experienced staff, I choose not to compete on price but rather offer VALUE and instead offer my pledge to do the best that I can do to deliver the best outcomes for my patients. And I will not cut corners to compromise on that.
I see many patients who come to me with all sorts of concerns that are affecting their confidence, their happiness and their life. And understandably cost has always been something that makes them think twice about having it addressed as plastic surgery is a significant investment no different to studying a new online course or renovating a bathroom or a luxury holiday for example.
I always explain to patients that it ultimately comes down to how important it is for them to feel good about themselves and if it will make a big difference to their quality of life then there should be ways to prioritise it to make it happen.
A patient of mine recently shared with me in years how unhappy she was with her breasts to the point she has never shown her husband of 18 years her breasts because she was embarrassed. One breast was an A cup and him other an F cup. This also affected her ability to find nice clothes to wear because she was always trying to hide any evidence of her breast asymmetry. She avoided going to the beach or the gym for fear of being noticed or called a freak.
Whilst she knew this was irrational she knew she had to do something about this as she couldn’t continue living her life unhappy.
We reconstructed her breasts and she felt incredibly free of this enormous weight stopping her from being happy and living life as a “normal” person.
I said to her now in hindsight does the cost of the procedure matter as much as it did for all those years and even leading up to the surgery? Of course, it doesn’t because it’s the best investment she has made for herself and you cannot place a price on the value of confidence in your own skin.