Disclaimer :: FWMB partner, Dr. Emily Kirby, graciously answered these questions posed by some of our FWMB readers.
Fort Worth City Moms recently asked what you would like to know about plastic surgery and gave me the honor of answering. While there were too many questions to address in one post, I’ve answered the most asked, based on my years of experience as a board certified plastic surgeon.
1. How much does plastic surgery cost?
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery provides national averages for surgeon’s fees, but there are other costs that will factor into your total. When you receive a quote, it should include:
- Surgeon’s fees.
- Operating room and anesthesiologist fees.
- Devices & garments (breast implants, compression wear, etc.).
For example, average surgeon fees may be $3,700 for silicone breast augmentation, but total costs may range from $6,000-$7,000 once everything is added up, especially if a breast lift is needed to achieve a satisfying result. Body lifting procedures will have higher quoted ranges. A friend’s mini-tummy tuck may have cost $4,000, but if you need an extended tummy tuck, the same surgeon may quote $6,200 or more.
If pricing is a barrier for you, DO NOT seek bargain surgery; you may risk your life or disfigurement. It is better to select a highly qualified board certified plastic surgeon and use patient financing to pay over time. At Kirby Plastic Surgery, we offer payment plans via medical credit cards, which can be used for a variety of healthcare services.
2. What questions should I ask a plastic surgeon at a consult?
Ask anything you need to get a clear idea about your options and the surgery process — an informed patient is more likely to enjoy a smooth recovery and get the results she wanted. That said, you should always ask:
- Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? Any medical doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgery, even without formal training. American Board of Plastic Surgery certification ensures a surgeon has a high level of surgical knowledge and completed 3+ years of plastic surgery residency training. I would go one step further and choose a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). These surgeons have met additional standards and operate only in accredited surgical facilities, which is essential for patient safety.
- How many times have you performed the procedure I want? Choose someone who has plenty of experience in your desired procedure and performs it regularly.
- Can you show me results for patients like me? Many patients look for ideal “after” photos, but pay more attention to what patients with a similar body type looked like before surgery to see what a particular surgeon can do for you. For example, a surgeon may be able to provide attractive augmentations for young patients with nearly symmetrical breasts, but if you have factors such as asymmetry, sagging, or a hollow chest, you’ll want to see the results they’ve delivered for patients with those features.
- Is this procedure safe for me? Is this the right time? Have a frank conversation with your plastic surgeon about risks and benefits. Be open to his or her advice if he or she says you should first lose weight, finish having children, or quit smoking.
3. What’s the difference between a full and a mini tummy tuck?
A full tummy tuck removes sagging skin and tightens abdominal muscles to restore a firmer, flatter belly. The belly button can also be reshaped and moved to achieve a beautifully proportioned midsection. A mini tummy tuck focuses on the area below the navel, removing excess skin and fat to address a lower belly “pooch.” Stretch marks on the lower abdomen can be removed with both procedures.
The benefits of a mini tummy tuck are a shorter scar and quicker recovery; however, the dramatic improvements possible with a full tummy tuck are worth the extra downtime to most patients. Which procedure is most appropriate depends on your starting point before surgery.
4. What non-surgical options exist for skin tightening?
Few of us moms escape childbearing without stretched or sagging skin somewhere on our body! If this bothers you, there are options for tightening loose tissues without surgery.
One new option for women is FemTouch, a non-surgical laser treatment to tighten and tone stretched vaginal tissues. It’s safe to use between pregnancies, improves sexual sensation and natural lubrication, and curbs stress urinary incontinence. We’ve been offering it at Kirby Plastic Surgery for a few months now, and our patients are thrilled with the benefits!
CoolSculpting can help reduce a modest fat bulge and also firm skin in the same area — while primarily a fat reduction treatment, our patients often experience a skin tightening benefit too.
Have more questions? I’m here to help.
Dr. Emily J. Kirby is a plastic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University College of Medicine, Dr. Kirby sees patients at Kirby Plastic Surgery in Fort Worth.