New York Times: To Discount or Not to Discount, That is the Question

white piggybank from above

Many of us, consumers and businesses alike, have been riding high on the last two decades of rapid growth in income and therefore consumer spending. And now the bottom is dropping out. This affects us all: clothing stores, car sales, home sales, restaurants, education, and yes, even cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is unlike surgery for medical conditions. If you have a hernia, for example, surgery can be put off for only so long. However, surgery is still surgery and therefore should not be taken lightly. Some patients who may have been thinking about a facelift or blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) know that putting that off is not going to affect their overall health, but it certainly is going to affect their sense of well-being, self confidence and outlook on life .  So where is the balance between personal desires and personal finance?

I have found for my own practice and that of a number of my colleagues that all surgeries are down. However, this has affected the number of rhinoplasties a little less than other procedures, especially revision surgery. I feel that this is because when people are unhappy with the appearance of their noses, especially if they can’t breathe well, it is more than just a cosmetic issue. An unsightly nose is a feature that has been with them for life and can affect personal growth as well as acceptance by their peers. For these people, rhinoplasty is more than a cosmetic procedure. A nose that doesn’t fit one’s face may supersede what might be considered more frivolous aesthetic procedures designed to combat facial aging.

In The New York Times last thursday, there was an article by the renowned medical reporter, Natasha Singer, discussing which physicians discount surgery and other treatments such as Botox and facial fillers. This is a very personal issue. Personally, I had discount courtesy cards made up as gifts for my patients that we never got around to mailing. Well, we mailed them today. I think these are great pick-me-ups for looking better fast and I want to share that with my patients. According to a recent survey of patients by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery [AAFPRS], when it comes to surgery feeling secure with their choice of surgeon is more important than price.

To quote Dr. John Conely, one of the greatest teachers of both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head and neck of the past 50 years: “I have never seen anyone die from a wrinkle, but some thought that they might.”

In closing I would like to reassure you that my practice is still thriving and that, as always, I am plugged into the zeitgeist. To show my sensitivity to these more austere times in which we presently live, I am offering you a 20%-off Botox, Juvederm and Restylane through the end of 2008.