No matter what surgical technique you are having done, it is going to cost you. A surgeon's time does not come cheap, and between discussing the surgery, coming in for the treatment and having follow-up visits, you use a lot of that time. More simple cosmetic treatments such as skin resurfacing and chemical peels cost quite a bit less but can still be quite pricey.
Plastic surgery is a term for medical procedures designed to improve the appearance or function of parts of the body. It can range from simple skin treatments costing less than $100 dollars to elaborate reconstructive procedures costing many thousands. The cost of a plastic surgery technique is determined by the difficulty of the procedure, the amount of time it takes, the number and quality of technicians needed to do it and the demand for the operation. A simple skin treatment that can be performed by a technician in half an hour will cost a fraction of what a complex reconstructive surgery requiring a whole team of highly skilled doctors will cost. In 2007 in the U.S., rhinoplasty and breast augmentation each ran about $3,800 on average, liposuction around $3,000 and the less complex Botox procedure about $500.
The two main types of plastic surgery are cosmetic and reconstructive. Reconstructive surgery corrects serious problems. Burn victims, people with congenital conditions such as cleft palates and victims of serious accidents are candidates for reconstructive surgery. Cosmetic surgery is what most people associate with the term "plastic surgery." It involves purely aesthetic treatments designed to improve someone's appearance, change the shape of the body or reverse the effects of aging. Cosmetic surgery can be as minor as a chemical peel to reduce acne scarring or involve the reshaping of someone's entire face over many surgical procedures.
Reconstructive surgery allows people to live more normal lives. A cleft lip or palate, for example, will make it hard for a baby to feed or learn to speak properly and can lead to social ostracism because of the appearance of the condition. By treating it with reconstructive surgery, the doctors can ensure the child has a normal, healthy life. If someone has had a severe trauma that has shattered a bone or otherwise damaged a body part so badly that it can't heal normally or work properly, a reconstructive surgeon may be able to reassemble it piece by piece and restore it. Many people report benefits from cosmetic surgery as well. They may have more self-esteem and confidence or feel more desirable. Actors and other people whose careers depend on their appearances may have more opportunities after a plastic surgery.
There were more than 11 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in America in 2007. Out of those, most (nearly 10 million) were minor procedures such as Botox and chemical peels. Women outnumbered men by nearly 10 to 1 in cosmetic surgeries. There were about 5 million reconstructive surgery procedures, nearly 4 million of which were for tumor removal. All told, cosmetic surgeons charged more than $12 billion dollars for procedures. The popularity of cosmetic surgery is growing at a high rate, with 59% more surgeries being performed in 2007 than in 2000.
Many people go in for cosmetic surgery overseas or at cut-rate domestic clinics where it is cheaper. Unfortunately, sometimes they receive substandard treatment leading to scarring and deformity. A botched surgery can even lead to serious infection or death. No matter where you go for plastic surgery, be sure to do your research!