What determines the cost of liposuction?
Here, we will dive into what determines the cost of liposuction in NYC. We can break down this question into several parts. First, the cost of liposuction depends on how the surgeon performs the procedure: what kind of liposuction is performed? What kind of anesthesia is used? The answers to these questions depend on factors related to the patient such as their anatomy and what needs to be done in their case. Next, there are a set of factors that depend on the surgeon, like what is their level of experience and reputation?. Finally, the setting of the procedure will likely affect the cost: liposuction in a major city at a world-renowned clinic is probably more expensive than liposuction in a small town performed at a brand new practice. We will consider each issue in detail to help patients better understand how much liposuction costs. Specifically, we will address
Liposuction Cost Breakdown
This table presents a reasonable expectation for low, average, and high prices for common areas of liposuction. These estimates do not include energy-based devices, facility fees, or anesthesia fees if applicable.
What are the different kinds of liposuction and how much do they cost?
In terms of technology, liposuction at its core involves making tiny two-to-three-millimeter incisions in well-hidden parts of the body, then injecting a numbing solution into those incisions to numb the areas that the surgeon will work on. This basic form of liposuction In New York City (where we are located) can be expected to range from about $3000 to $6000 per area treated.
In some cases, liposuction on its own will not be enough to achieve the best results possible. Specifically, if the patient has some loose skin, various forms of energy may be added to the procedure to heat and tighten the skin, like BodyTite (radiofrequency energy) or SmartLipo (laser energy – read more here SmartLipo). BodyTite in NYC adds approximately $1500 to $2500 per area treated to the cost of the procedure. SmartLipo in NYC tends to be $1000 – $2000 more expensive per area than standard liposuction. Other technologies may also be used to tighten deeper tissue, like ultrasound energy (read more here – VASER). VASER can also be very useful in patients that have had liposuction in the past, as they may have tough scar tissue that can limit liposuction results. VASER breaks up that scar tissue so the fat is easier to remove. Some surgeons prefer to use VASER liposuction in specific areas in secondary liposuction cases. This means people have had liposuction previously and now have scar tissue in addition to excess fat and connective tissue. The ultrasound used with the VASER liposuction can make removing a significant amount of fat from those scarred areas a lot easier. The other place they may prefer to use VASER liposuction is also very useful for gynecomastia reduction (male breast reduction) . This is because the connective tissue in the male breast and chest area can be very fibrous. The VASER system can free up much more fat and do some very effective contouring of the male chest in the context of gynecomastia.In NYC, VASER tends to add $1500 – $3000 per area to the cost of the procedure.
How does anesthesia impact the cost of liposuction?
The type of anesthesia used can significantly affect the cost of liposuction. Surgeons essentially use three kinds of anesthesia to perform a liposuction procedure. The first one is straight local anesthesia, which means tumescent fluid is used to make the area numb. Patients might get some medication by mouth to make them less nervous, but local anesthesia essentially means you are awake but the area being treated is made numb, like at the dentist’s office.This is generally used for limited areas of liposuction, including small abdominal cases, the flanks, the inner or outer thighs, or the arms. There is generally only minor discomfort when an expert performs small areas of liposuction under local anesthesia. Conversely, when multiple or larger areas need liposuction, it is probably best to use twilight anesthesia or general anesthesia.
Twilight anesthesia is when patients are given medications to make them drowsy and dissociated from what is happening. In addition to the numbing medicine, it makes them comfortable enough that they are not bothered by the procedure, and this is a reasonable way to perform larger liposuction cases.
Some of the largest volume liposuction cases may call for general anesthesia. This is when the patient is completely asleep for their procedure. The defining characteristic between twilight anesthesia and general anesthesia is that with twilight anesthesia, the patient is ultimately awake and breathing on their own. In contrast, they are asleep with general anesthesia, and require a tube in their mouth to breath.
The type of anesthesia affects the cost of a liposuction procedure because with local anesthesia patients only receive the tumescent solution (numbing medicine)and there are no medications affecting consciousness. Therefore, the presence of an anesthesiologist is not needed. Simply put, there is no need to be paying for an anesthesiologist in addition to a surgeon. However, as soon as patients get into twilight or general anesthesia, an anesthesia provider is needed to administer these forms of anesthesia in a safe manner.
The anesthesia provider may be a board-certified anesthesiologist that is a physician, or a CRNA, which is a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
Dr. Darren Smith prefers to work with a board-certified anesthesiologist in his private surgical center because he is a conservative surgeon that values safety first. In general, the more advanced the anesthesia, and the more highly credentialed the anesthesia provider, the higher the cost of anesthesia.
How can patient factors affect liposuction cost?
Now that we have addressed the procedure-related factors determining how much liposuction costs, we will examine the patient factors that affect the price of a liposuction procedure. Patient factors typically come down to three things: the number of areas that will receive liposuction, the volume of those areas, and the complexity of the case.
Most surgeons price a liposuction procedure by the number of areas it involves. For example, the abdomen is considered one area, the flanks or love handles one, the arms one, and so forth. The more treatment areas there are, and the larger those areas are, the more the procedure will cost.A significant factor is also the volume of those areas. In a much larger person, the price per area of liposuction is likely to be more than in someone relatively small. This is because it takes longer to do liposuction on a larger person than it does to do liposuction on a smaller person.
The other factor previously mentioned is the case’s complexity and how difficult it is for the surgeon. For example, if a secondary procedure is being performed (the person previously had liposuction or another body contouring procedure like CoolSculpting), there is likely to be scarring present and this can make the procedure more difficult to perform. An extreme example of this is PAH (“paradoxical adipose hyperplasia”) in which prior CoolSculpting has caused fat to grow instead of shrink. This PAH fat can be stubborn and difficult fat to remove. Anatomically difficult areas like the calves may also be more expensive, as special care is required to ensure an ideal contour. Each of these factors is patient-specific and determines the cost of a liposuction procedure.
How does your choice of surgeon affect liposuction cost?
The next thing to look at in determining how much a liposuction procedure costs are surgeon-specific factors. Surgeon-specific factors include the surgeon’s experience, level of training, and qualifications. Regarding surgeon experience, this refers to how long the surgeon has been in practice and the number of surgeries completed. Your surgeon’s experience determines if he or she is prepared to deliver an excellent aesthetic result. Your surgeon’s training includes where they did their residency or if they completed a dedicated aesthetic surgery fellowship. These are surgeon-specific factors that will affect pricing. Finally, research if your plastic surgeon is board certified by the of selective professional societies and if they are board-certified plastic surgeons by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The more experienced the surgeon is, the better their training, and the more advanced their qualifications, the more the cost will be.
How do geography and setting affect liposuction cost?
The next thing that affects liposuction cost is geography. For example, suppose a patient has a procedure done in a major metropolitan area where the cost of living tends to be higher. In that case, the cost of the plastic surgery procedure will also be higher. Similarly, a liposuction procedure performed at a state-of-the art facility with the most modern technology and equipment will likely be more expensive than a liposuction procedure performed at an older facility that is struggling to maintain its accreditation.
How does post-surgery care affect liposuction cost?
This can vary a great deal from practice to practice. Items that could potentially add to the cost of your procedure include compression garments, post-operative massages, and aftercare visits. We recommend having a conversation with your surgeon’s office to ensure a clear understanding of what is and what is not included with your procedure.
What are the different parts of a liposuction quote?
The factors above will largely determine the cost of the liposuction procedure. However, another thing to understand is that there are a few different parts of the quote for a liposuction procedure: the surgeon’s fee, the anesthesia fee, and the operating room or facility fee. It is generally safe to assume the anesthesia and facility fee will be anywhere from about $500 to a few thousand dollars. The facility fee covers the cost of running the operating room itself (staff, supplies, and general overhead). The anesthesia fee covers the professional fee of the provider administering anesthesia. This may be higher in centers using board certified anesthesiologists as compared to those using CRNAs.
At Dr. Darren Smith’s practice, we can comment from direct experience on the surgeon’s fee in a New York City-based plastic surgery practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.. In this market, for the first area of liposuction with a reputable surgeon, patients typically pay somewhere between $3,000-$6,000. Then, each additional area generally decreases slightly until it levels off at approximately $2,000-$3,000 per additional area.While it is possible to find lower rates, patients may be sacrificing quality and safety. Even though an inexpensive procedure may cost less upfront, patients may accrue high costs in having things fixed afterward, not to mention the possible health consequences of having a suboptimal procedure.
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