How are plastic surgery procedures priced? According to a new study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, it may have to do with local economic factors rather than supply and demand.
The study, conducted at Loma Linda California University, found a correlation between cost of cosmetic procedures and local economic factors such as property cost, cost of living, population size and geographic region.
Although many believe pricing is largely affected by household income and per-capita income, this was established as having significantly less of a hold.
The study, lead by Subhas Gupta, M.D., randomly selected 10 plastic surgery practices from 15 U.S. cities of various population sizes. Average pricing of breast augmentations, breast lifts, tummy tucks, eyelid surgeries and facelifts were compared with economic and demographic statistics.
Researchers found no association between procedure costs and the density in the number of plastic surgeons. Prices did remain higher in cities, however, with a high surgeon to patient ratio such as New York and Los Angeles.
“Other factors that account for the deviation of plastic-surgery pricing from the supply-and-demand model include regional culture, ease of acquiring service and social perceptions of cosmetic surgery,” said Dr. Gupta.
Cost is often one of the first factors many patients think of when deciding to undergo a procedure. Insurance often covers costs for reconstructive surgery, but not for cosmetic surgery. Some cosmetic surgery changes though can be considered medically necessary, such as an eyelid surgery to alleviate blocked vision or a nose surgery to allow a patient to breathe more easily.