This 49-year old patient is 4-mos post abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and 10-years post gastric bypass surgery. See the before photo in part 1.
Affording Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss:
My Bariatric Life: Do board-certified plastics surgeons cost more than cosmetic surgeons or general surgeons?
Dr. Capella: I don’t know but we discussed earlier why it is very important that you choose a surgeon board certified in plastic surgery.
MBL: What about resident clinics at teaching hospitals wherein surgeons-in-training perform the body contouring procedures?
Dr. Capella: They’re probably more affordable. You are going to someone who is in training. And we’ve talked a lot today about the necessity for the surgeon to be experienced specifically with the massive weight loss patient. So ask the resident how many of these procedures he or she has done. And get the name of the Attending Physician Professor and look up this surgeon’s credentials. Ask if he or she will be present during your entire surgery or not because this varies. Another thing to consider is that the resident surgeon will graduate or otherwise move on, so you may not have access to him or her for long term follow-up.
MBL: I see that some plastic surgeons are assisted by a second plastic surgeon in the O.R. While other plastic surgeons are assisted by a physician’s assistant (P.A.) or surgical assistant. Does this affect price?
Dr. Capella: It may. That’s very specifically why I have a P.A. He has literally done thousands of these operations with me and he has the routine down better than any other plastic surgeon ever could help me. He sews just as well as I do. So it works out very well because these surgeries are labor intensive. In some operations surgeons might put in four-hundred stitches or more. So to do that yourself, that’s where you may not do the same quality job because you’re so tired. That’s why having a P.A. is very important for these kinds of surgeries.
But even when we have a simple breast augmentation it’s nice to have someone with you who knows every step you do. So you can really focus on fine-tuning aesthetics and stuff like that, that you may not be able to do if you’re working with a nurse who’s never helped you before on this operation.
MBL: Is it cheaper to have the procedure in the surgeon’s private surgical suite or an ambulatory facility rather a hospital?
Dr. Capella: No. I don’t think so. And keep in mind what we discussed earlier about the risk of anemia. In larger cases there may be a need for transfusions. Most out-patient facilities cannot provide a blood transfusion so the patient then has to be transferred to the hospital where the doctor has admitting privileges.
MBL: What about financing such as medical loans, 401k loans, equity line of credit on home, and anything else?
Dr. Capella: Well that’s all that I’m aware of. We don’t do internal financing because we just don’t have the personnel to do it. In order to have accounting to send a bill every month I’d have to have a much more expensive practice. So by not having it I think I can keep fees as reasonable as possible. We do participate in CareCredit financing.
MBL: Discount deals online?
Dr. Capella: Some doctors create incentive programs. I don’t like that to encourage surgery. I will avoid all of that stuff as long as I can.
Continue to part 10 of the Interview with Dr. Joseph F. Capella.
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Published On: September 13, 2013