FAQ and Financing
This section provides you with links for financing your cosmetic surgery as well as a list of commonly asked questions about cosmetic surgery procedures.
Please click on your questions below and you will be taken directly to that section of this page.
- How can I finance my cosmetic surgery?
- How much does plastic surgery cost?
- Can all plastic surgery be done as an outpatient?
- What type of anesthesia will I need?
- How long do I have to be off work when I have plastic surgery?
- Why do breast implants get hard?
- Do you do tumescent liposuction?
- How much weight can you suck out with liposuction?
- How do I know if I need a tummy tuck or liposuction for my abdomen?
- How big is the incision for breast implant surgery and where is it located?
- How do I choose my plastic surgeon? (The seven check ups you should do.)
- What about fees?
- What about surgical facilities and anesthesia?
- What about potential risks and complications?
- What are some other things to consider?
- What do I need to bring when I come in for my first consultation?
- Do you offer the "featherlift" or other one-day facelifts?
For qualified and interested patients, financing is available through CareCredit®. This healthcare credit card may be used to cover all or a portion of the costs for your procedure including surgeon's fee, anesthesia, and the facility where the surgery is performed. The online application process is fast and easy, and in most cases, applications are processed within just a few hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since most cosmetic surgery procedures are done on an outpatient basis, the cost in real dollars is much less than it was years ago. Depending upon the procedure, the cost can be as little as $500 for a scar revision, done in our office, up to several thousands of dollars for a full face lift, tummy tuck, or other major procedure.
Can all plastic surgery be done as an outpatient?
As a rule, most cosmetic procedures are done on an outpatient basis. A few extensive operations may require overnight stay in recovery. We do prefer our out-of-town patients stay in town overnight so that we may be able to meet immediately if they have complications or concerns. A nearby budget-priced motel is available if you have no local relatives or friends.
What type of anesthesia will I need?
Minor procedures, such as scar revisions, some eyelid surgery, and tattoo removal can be done under local anesthesia, perhaps with some preoperative sedation. More involved operations are safest under general anesthesia. Attempts to use local anesthesia when general anesthesia would have been better frequently lead to regrets on the part of the patient and entire operating team.
How long do I have to be off from work when I have plastic surgery?
The answer to this question varies depending upon the procedure you have done. A chemical peel of the face may allow you to return to work the next day. A thigh lift procedure may require six weeks off. In practice, however, most common procedures, such as breast implants or suction lipectomy, will allow patients to return to general office work occupations after a long weekend. Procedures on the face may require longer time off if the patient wants to keep friends and co-workers from knowing about the cosmetic surgery. For procedures such as face lift, eyelid lift, or rhinoplasty (nose job), a period of two weeks is usually necessary for bruising and swelling to resolve enough to return to work without too many visible signs.
Why do breast implants get hard?
The answer to this question requires an explanation of the body's normal healing mechanism. Every foreign object left inside the human body, from internal stitches to various surgical implants, becomes encased in a layer or wall of scar tissue. If the object is a stitch or grandpa's pacemaker generator, no one cares or even notices. But the female breast is not supposed to be firm. A natural characteristic is that it is supposed to move about and 'flow' around on the chest with activity. So when the layer of scar tissue forms around a breast implant, it must form loosely and thinly enough to allow this movement of the implant. When the pocket of scar is too small and closely formed around the implant, it actually compresses the implant and makes it feel abnormally firm. If the implant that feels so firm in the chest were removed, it would look and feel just like it did when it was inserted. The problem is not with the implant itself, but with the scar tissue around it. While certain measures can be taken to decrease the risk of capsule contracture, no completely failsafe measure has been devised. This very complex issue is being researched constantly by plastic surgeons and implant manufacturers.
Do you do tumescent liposuction? Ultrasonic liposuction?
The science and art of lipoplasty, or liposuction has advanced rapidly in recent years. The term tumescent comes from a Latin word meaning 'to swell up,' and came on the scene a few years ago with the idea of using very large volumes of intravenous fluids, with a local anesthetic added. This technique allowed the suction procedure to be done without general anesthesia. The volumes of fluid used were frequently two or three times the volume of fat that the surgeon estimated would need to be removed for correction of the defect. The technique attained some notoriety when some patients became fluid-overloaded and had complications. A more-recently-adapted idea is the 'super-wet' technique, in which we add the intravenous solution and local anesthetic solution in a ratio of about one-to-one with the estimated fat removal. This method is safer, in our opinion, and is necessary to utilize the latest advance in lipoplasty, the ultrasonic-assisted lipoplasty (UAL.) The simplest explanation is to say that it is like having a tiny microwave oven on the end of the cannula with which we perform the suction, so that the fat is actually partially melted before it is removed, with fewer traumas to the surrounding tissues; higher proportions of fat removed, and lower blood loss. This is now our preferred instrument for most areas of the body, but especially the lateral thighs and shoulder-blade areas on ladies and the 'love-handles' on men.Back to Top
How much weight can you suck out with liposuction?
The problem of determining the amount of weight that you actually lose in lipoplasty is difficult. If one weighs on the morning of surgery, has the procedure done (complete with the fluid that is given at surgery) and weighs again the day after surgery, the weight may actually have gone up because of the swelling that always accompanies all soft tissue surgery, especially lipoplasty. With this fluid retention, it actually takes weeks, or even months, for the true body mass to be measurable. Advertising claims such as, 'Lose 65 pounds in one day!' are false and misleading and have led to disciplinary actions against surgeons making such claims. Surgery to lose a significant amount of weight in one day is fiction, however, changing the shape of the body by removing localized fat deposits is fact.
How do I know whether I need a tummy tuck or liposuction to correct my abdomen?
This answer is really a judgment call on the part of the examining surgeon, but some general guidelines can be applied. If the skin has good tone, and stretch marks are not too bad, suction may be all that is required to re-contour the abdomen. If the muscles are strong and have not separated in the midline from childbearing, and you are not able to lift handfuls of skin, suction may be enough surgery for you. If a woman is considering having more children in the future, abdominoplasty should not be done, in our opinion.
How big is the incision for breast implant surgery and where is it located?
Although three incisions are described in plastic surgery literature, we exclusively use only two of them. The one around the areola (the pigmented skin around the nipple) causes scars within the breast tissue itself and sometimes distorts the nipple. We utilize either one underneath the breast, or sometimes in the armpit. In either case, the scar is three to four centimeters long (an inch is two-and-a-half centimeters.) Several factors enter into the choice of incision sites. Fewer people will be likely to see the scar underneath the breast. With bathing suits or other sleeveless attire, the scar under the arm may be visible when the arm is raised. If sagging of the breast is a problem AT ALL, the incision under the breast is preferred, since it allows more control of the placement of the lower border of the implant, and therefore our ability to correct some degree of sagging with the implant.
Choosing your plastic surgeon (Seven check-ups to give your plastic surgeon)
As with any surgery, the single most important factor in the success of aesthetic plastic surgery is the surgeon you select. Do not take this responsibility lightly. Conduct your own research to verify the surgeon's training and experience; then weigh your decision carefully.
There are a number of ways to evaluate which surgeon is right for you.
- Check for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certification means that the surgeon has completed undergraduate college, medical school, an approved surgery residency of at least three years and an approved plastic surgery residency of an additional two to three years. Board certification then is obtained only after the candidate has been in plastic surgery practice for at least two years and has passed rigorous written and oral examinations administered by experienced plastic surgeons.
- Don't be confused by other official sounding boards and certifications. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify in the plastic surgery specialty. There is no separate, ABMS-recognized certifying board for cosmetic surgery.
- Remember that in most states, it is legal for any physician who holds a medical license, with or without surgical training, to advertise as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. That's why understanding board certification is so important for the prospective patient.
- If there is confusion about a surgeon's board certification, you may consult the ABMS Directory of Certified Medical Specialists available at most libraries or online at www.certifieddoctor.org.
- Check for membership in the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS) or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Members of these professional societies are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. ASPRS represents the full scope of plastic surgery (reconstructive and aesthetic). Members of ASAPS are also fully trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery but have a special interest in aesthetic procedures.
- Check the surgeon's hospital affiliation. Qualified hospitals have been accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). An appointment to the surgical staff of an accredited hospital indicates that a surgeon's capabilities and performance have been reviewed and judged acceptable by medical colleagues. Be sure that your surgeon has hospital privileges to perform the specific surgical procedure in which you are interested, even if you plan to have your surgery performed in an office based surgical facility.
- Talk candidly with the surgeon. After you have checked the credentials of a plastic surgeon, you should make an appointment for an initial consultation. During this consultation, the surgeon will examine you, explain the operation and may give you literature describing preoperative considerations and postoperative care. You should feel comfortable discussing your expectations and questioning your surgeon on any aspect of the surgery. A qualified and reputable plastic surgeon will be happy to answer your questions and to inform you of the possible risks and side effects associated with surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is a serious decision. When you are considering cosmetic surgery, credentials matter. Choose a plastic surgeon who is not only board certified but also has extensive experience in the specific procedure you are considering. For over 25 years Dr. Ronald Johnson has been helping men and women from around the country enhance their looks and their lives through cosmetic surgery. Call us today at 761-9030 to arrange your consultation with Dr. Ronald Johnson.
What about fees?
Fees for aesthetic plastic surgery traditionally are paid prior to surgery. Costs vary widely and depend on the complexity of the operation, where the surgery takes place and which anesthetic is administered.
Surgical facilities and anesthesia
Surgery can be performed in a number of locations, depending on the procedure and what your plastic surgeon regards as appropriate. Generally, aesthetic plastic surgery takes place in a hospital or an ambulatory care setting, such as an outpatient center or your surgeon's office-based surgical facility.
In many cases, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area to be treated, along with a sedative to relax you. For some aesthetic surgical procedures, however, you will be given general anesthesia so that you sleep through the entire operation. Postoperative discomfort is normally controlled with medication.
Risks and Complications
Although some of the procedures described on this website appear to be relatively simple operations, it is essential for you to understand that aesthetic plastic surgery, like all surgery, has attendant risks.
Plastic surgeons perform thousands of successful aesthetic procedures each week, but as with any type of surgery, a patient can have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic or be affected by postoperative complications such as blood clots, infection or poor healing. These problems can occur even when the surgeon has performed the operation with the utmost skill. Since smoking may interfere with proper healing and aspirin may increase the risk of excessive bleeding, you may be advised to avoid them before and after surgery. Occasionally, surgical revisions may be desirable to achieve optimal results.
It is important to remember that aesthetic plastic surgery molds and reshapes living tissue, and the results are not absolutely predictable. No surgeon can offer risk-free surgery or guarantee a perfect result.
Your plastic surgeon will inform you of any restrictions to your normal activities following surgery. In general, you should avoid strenuous exercise and other activities that raise your blood pressure, including bending, for several days to weeks (depending on what type of surgery was performed). It takes time as well for the visible signs of healing to subside.
Do not expect to see the final results of your surgery right away. Plan your social activities to allow sufficient time for recovery.
The results achieved in some aesthetic surgical procedures, such as surgery of the nose, ears and chin, are permanent. In others, particularly those that diminish the effects of aging, results may be long lasting but are not permanent. Plastic surgery may be able to turn back the clock, but, it will not stop the clock from running.
What to bring when you come in for your first consultation
Here are the 5 things that you will want to remember to bring with you for your initial consultation with Dr. Johnson.
- Medical history (past surgery, allergies, and current medications--name, dosage, etc.)
- Social security number
- Drug store (name, branch location and phone number)
- In case of emergency: name, address and phone number of emergency contact person (not someone in your own household)
Do you offer the "featherlift" or other one-day facelifts?
While we have investigated the various "threadlifts" that have been drawing attention from the media, as well as creating advertising buzz, we have some concerns. A study was presented at The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2004. Ten patients underwent this technique and were photographed before surgery and at six weeks, three months, six months, nine months and one year postoperatively. At the end of a year, only ONE of the ten patients had retained any significant improvement from the preoperative pictures. The cost (to the surgeon or facility) of the barbed threads which are used in these procedures is $95/each, and most of the patients underwent placement of eight to ten threads. With the surgeon's fee and operating room fees, they had invested more than half of the cost of a more complete facelift, which should retain improvement for seven to ten years! This is an evolving technique, and we will continue to monitor progress in this area. We want to offer our patients the best available procedures, while remaining conscious of the expense involved.