True Cost of Aesthetic Procedures
Thinking of finally having the nip and tuck done at last? While price is often the first issue raised when friends start talking about aesthetic enhancement, we all know that once you’ve decided, it is only a matter of time! So here’s some advice on how to make sure that whatever you decide for yourself is worth your while.
True cost has many aspects, of which price is only one. We often use ‘damage’ as slang for cost, but anything that can potentially restrict you or cause you ‘damage’ should also be part of your cost consideration. In the field of aesthetics, damage can suddenly become tangible and distressingly real, if a procedure disappoints you in any way. So think of cost in terms of 3 T’s — Tariff, Time and Trouble:
Compared to the other facets, price is relatively simple and straightforward. In the end we usually get what we pay for. You should always exercise due diligence in checking the background and credentials of your selected provider, but also make sure that you understand the full price you will be expected to pay to all parties concerned. Many of those incredibly good offers you are tempted by do not include all the important details. Your guard should be raised when you find that one place offers the same procedures at significantly lower prices than competitors. Solutions can be diluted, cheap alternatives substituted and corners cut. For more advanced procedures you should ensure that your quote includes ancillary services; the surgeon’s fee may pale in comparison to the cost of anaesthesia, theatre time, hospital stay, equipment and so on. Understand what is included and what is not before you agree any treatment.
Time is the most precious commodity available to any of us – the quintessential non-renewable resource. Yet, most people happily squander it, usually to get more money, or to pay less. Aesthetic procedures are a good case in point. Three costly aspects of time can cause frustration, stress and anxiety for aesthetic patients; durability, recovery time and development time.
Durability: Put simply, how long will the results last – before we have to pay for it again. Questions of this nature rarely have straightforward answers. How long does your hairstyle last? How often do you need to have your car polished? How long does your kitchen stay clean? Answers, of course, are entirely personal and depend on a great many things. What you need to know is the worth of having your car polished, or the kitchen cleaned, or your hair cut to you given your particular lifestyle. Understanding the value of a result to you will help you assess the cost and durability of a procedure.
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself, when looking at treatment options, is the amount of recovery time you can afford. For aesthetic procedures, recovery times span an enormously wide range. Simple spa-facials may cause literally zero downtime, or perhaps a little redness that lasts a few minutes. At the other extreme, deep dermabrasion and deep skin resurfacing cause many months of downtime. Considering methods that would not be suitable for you in this respect are sure to cost you dearly, especially if you try to cut corners.
Equally important a consideration is the time it takes for a procedure to work. As with recovery, the range of possibilities is nearly endless and personal. Your facial might leave you feeling fresh and wonderful as you are walking out the door. Your Botox will take 2 to 14 days to show its stuff. Your filler shows immediately, but it may take 3 or 4 days for the swelling to settle. A face and neck lift may take 2 – 4 weeks to heal, and several months more to mature to the final result. Thermage produces measurable and pleasing results, but since it takes 8 – 12 months to fully develop, it is not for those who desire instant gratification.
Development time also incorporates another aspect; that of repetition. Really, repetition is what binds recovery and development. In many cases it is possible to exchange longer downtime for longer development time, by choosing methods that are repeated, performed in stages. Rather than having that deep resurfacing and spending 5 weeks in seclusion, you may choose fractional resurfacing. You will recover completely within 5 days of each phase of the procedure, often less, but it will need to be repeated 8 to 12 times to achieve the result.
Neither side of these equations should be considered a down-side. It provides you with choice and choice provides you with power. What you need to do is understand your needs and desires – and that is where qualified professionals in aesthetic enhancement are able to shed real light.
Sometimes things go wrong. When looking at costs, you would be wise to consider any potential risks associated with your procedure. These are least evident before, but hardest to manage and correct after and can come in many shapes and forms. Your provider must inform you of any potential problems and you must decide whether the gains are worth the risk.
Trouble comes in 3 main flavours; failure, side-effects and complications. Failure to achieve the goals you were aiming at is often more distressing than either of the other two. Side-effects and complications are usually foreseeable, but sometimes not. The existence of all three is what compels your provider or surgeon to take you through the consent form prior to your procedure. It is not intended to scare you away from a meaningful and potentially satisfying experience, but to make you fully aware and responsible for your choices.
The AntiCost vs The Great Reward
Of course, you should never lose sight of the fact that NOT doing anything about a less than satisfying aspect of yourself has its own costs! Damage to your self-worth and confidence can be debilitating. Psychological pain and suffering cause stress that is every bit as real as physical pain and suffering and can damage your ability to socialise, impact your earnings and threaten your very future. Taking steps to improve your self-image and your self-worth is an empowering experience, and as I noted above; it is all about choice and power. You have the power. Wield it wisely and lovingly.
About Dr G.:
Dr Gerrit Velthuysen lives in Canada with his wife and two children and is a specialist in Aesthetic Enhancement.