Over the years, I’ve had several elective surgery procedures. I had to pay for all or part of them, and I regret none of them. I’ve had a breast reduction, eye surgery to end my need for glasses, and several procedures on my face to remove scars and moles. The breast reduction, done ten years ago, was not covered by insurance, and it cost around $10,000.The eye surgery was done less than a year ago, and cost $4,000 out of pocket (the remaining $7,000 was picked up by insurance). The facial surgeries were also insured, and I paid about $500 out of pocket in total.
Between the competitive job market and our society’s emphasis on looking your best, elective surgery can be a good investment. Employers’ hiring decisions are based on more than just an outstanding resume. Studies show that along with character, integrity and the ability to be a team player, looks play a role in who gets the job and who makes more money.
What you need to know about elective cosmetic surgery
What are you considering: Face lift or filler injections? LASIK surgery or lens implants? Body sculpting or a lapband procedure? Are you having surgery as a hospital inpatient or in a doctor’s office? The time and money you have will narrow down your options.
When to schedule surgery: The end of the year is busiest for elective surgery: people take time off around the holidays, give themselves the gift of self-improvement and insurance deductibles are usually met by this time, so some or all of a procedure can be covered.
Where to have surgery: Because of higher costs in the U.S., many people choose to have surgery overseas. There are travel agencies that arrange surgery in foreign countries. But along with costs, the level of care, drugs used and training of medical personnel can vary. All my surgeries were done in the U.S., because I was very familiar and comfortable with my surgeons, having known them all for many years.
Who will do the procedure: Medical spas and other non-traditional facilities offer everything from laser hair removal to liposuction. Sometimes the work is done by a medical aesthetician working under a physician’s direction. There are over 4,000 medspas in the U.S., and they can be less costly, but only about half the states have laws governing staffing and procedures.
What it costs: Most cosmetic and many elective surgeries are not covered by insurance. You can find room in your budget and save for your procedure, and it’s a wonderful feeling when the hard work of saving pays off.
Here are six reasons why elective/cosmetic surgery is a good investment:
- Feeling better about yourself: The best investment of all. You want to look in the mirror and like what you see. Although I did have cataracts, they were not the main reason for having eye surgery. My desire to look in the mirror and feel pretty was the real decision-maker.
- No more pain, plenty to gain: For elective surgery that reduce pain, the end result can mean no more pain medication, better movement and flexibility and an improved quality of life. My breast reduction not only made me look better, it eliminated shoulder pain and made workouts easier.
- Motivation for other improvements: Looking and feeling better breeds confidence. And that boost of confidence can help you get a better job or begin a new relationship.
- Keeping up with the competition: You’ve heard the phrase “First impressions last a lifetime.” If you are in a competitive business, an improved appearance could mean a better job or getting that promotion.
- Better health and personal safety: My breast reduction allowed me to exercise more frequently and easily, without pain. And the eye surgery, which gave me 20/20 vision after a lifetime of heavy eyeglasses, made working out safer. I can run, bike or swim in dim light, as well as see road obstacles.
- Just getting ready can improve your health: Most plastic surgeons have preoperative guidelines. Smokers will typically be required to give up, or at least refrain from smoking for a period prior to elective surgery. Other testing, including blood work and X-rays, will also be done to detect any health issues and ensure the safest surgery possible.