What about
the cost?

Cosmetic surgery in South Africa is generally considerably cheaper than in the U.K. or U.S.A. This is, in part, due to the relatively weak local currency.

South African doctors enjoy a very good reputation in most parts of the world, and plastic surgeons are no exception. An entire industry of "cosmetic surgery tourism" came about due to this fact, where companies offer "package deals" to tourists involving cosmetic surgery combined with a holiday.

Aside from the details of the procedures, most patients want to know what the various operations cost. Some will "shop around" for the best or lowest total cost for any given procedure. It is important, however, to establish certain details from the prospective surgeon, as no doubt, he / she will need to establish certain details about you, the patient.

Patient Details Needed

A very important concept to grasp is that most cosmetic procedures are tailored to the problem, and that most operations vary somewhat from person to person in both complexity and extent. For this reason, it is vitally important to see the patient (via emailed pictures) to establish whether or not they are a suitable candidate for the surgery, and what the extent of the surgery is likely to be. An example may be tummy tuck surgery, which may vary from liposuction alone, to a mini-tuck to a full tummy tuck. These procedures have very different indications, vary in extent and complexity, and as a result, the costs vary significantly. Liposuction is another example - this may vary from a half hour procedure, to a 3 hour procedure - longer surgery, more cost involved. Hence the need for some basic information about the patient, as well as some pictures which can be emailed.

What to ask the surgeon

Many variables affect the total cost of any given procedure. These include whether or not an anaesthetist is used, the type of anaesthesia (whether local or general), the type of facility (day clinic vs. major hospital), the need for overnight stay etc.

1. Type Of Anaesthetic
Most surgeries in my practice are done under deep intravenous sedation combined with local anaesthesia. The exceptions to this are nose jobs and big breast reductions. This is somewhat cheaper than a general anaesthetic, but the major advantage is that patients feel much better after the surgery (less nausea etc) and tend to recover faster. Most facilities charge per minute of time in the operating room, so the longer the surgery, the more you pay!

2. Board Certified Anaesthetist
For all but the most minor surgeries, I use a board certified anaesthetist. Naturally, this costs extra, but in my opinion, is money well spent. You are carefully monitored throughout the surgery to ensure your safety, comfort and rapid recovery. Many colleagues do their own sedation, and therefore can offer more competitive overall rates. When getting a quote, establish if the surgeon does his / her own sedation.

3. Surgeon Qualifications
Make sure the surgeon is a board certified plastic surgeon, and is registered as such with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as well as being a member of the Association of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons of South Africa – APRSSA, and ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery).

4. Facility
I am based at a major private hospital in the centre of Cape Town – the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. I do most of my reconstructive work at this hospital, including cleft lip and palate surgery, and breast reconstruction surgery. I also do most of my cosmetic surgery at the hospital, and some is done at a nearby, fully licensed, day surgery facility. There are additional costs for overnight stays (needed for a full tummy tuck), but aside form that, the costs are currently similar between the day surgery unit, and the main hospital. Some patients prefer the out-of-hospital feel that the day surgery centre can offer, whilst others feel more secure in a major hospital with full medical back-up.

 

Costs for 2014

Cosmetic surgery is expensive. I have been in private practice since 1999 and believe I am fairly priced when compared with my colleagues, given my experience and the quality of service. No doubt some procedures will be cheaper "elsewhere", and perhaps others more expensive, and whilst cost is undoubtedly a factor in deciding whether or not to proceed with any given operation, it is vastly less important than having faith in the surgeon who is ultimately going to do the surgery! Since I only make use of fully licensed facilities (both day surgery centre and main hospital), the total fee charged is dependent on the rates offered by these facilities, and hence when they increase their rates, the total cost of any given procedure will increase accordingly. The same is true for implant manufacturer's costs, anaesthetists' costs etc.

THE FOLLOWING FEES APPLY AS FROM JANUARY 1st, 2014

Consult fees: R800. The first consult is booked for one hour. The fee is payable as a “once-off” fee with the first consultation – no subsequent consults are charged, either before or after surgery. Payment can be either: cash, debit or credit card. This is regardless of whether you are on a medical aid scheme or not.
INJECTABLE GELS (Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm Ultra, Volbella)

R3600 per 1cc vial.

Also available in 0.5cc at R2000 each.
Most useful for soft tissue augmentation of lips and naso-labial, marionette lines and tear trough grooves.
BOTOX – 3 possible treatment areas, each uses 20 units of botox. (R80 / unit)
Most useful for diminishing mimetic lines in the upper 1/3 of the face.
1 = Frown lines (vertical lines)
2 = Forehead lines (transverse lines)

 3 = Crow’s feet (sides of eyes)
Costs for botox:
Any 1 area = R1600 (20 units)

Any 2 areas = R3200 (40 units)
All 3 areas = R4500 (60 units)
NOTE: Patients only wanting botox or gels are not charged an additional consult fee - only the consumable cost as listed above. Should you wish to have a full consult about breast or facial surgery in addition to the botox, both are billed, and an hour will be allocated. Botox and gels are paid for immediately after the procedure. Should you wish to pay via bank transfer, this will need to be done prior to the procedure.
Procedure costs vary - please click on the contact me page, and provide the info + pics as requested for assessment and procedure quotes. Procedures are quoted as a total, all inclusive cost, which would include all fees related to primary surgery done as a day case, and all normal aftercare, unless otherwise stipulated.

Examples of some (total) costs:
 Please note that final quotes are only ever given after a full examination, since procedures will vary in extent from person to person.

Costs quoted below include: surgeon’s and anaesthetist’s fees, any assistant’s fees, theatre and facility fees for a day case, and all normal aftercare. The exception to this is a full tummy tuck, which is always done at the Christiaan Barnard Hospital, and includes the cost of a one night post op stay (till noon the next day)

BREAST AUGMENTATION:

R40000-R42000

REVISION BREAST SURGERY:

R45000 upwards

BREAST REDUCTION / LIFT:

R45000 upwards

FACELIFTS:

R55000 incl. fat grafts

UPPER EYELIDS: (LOCAL)

R15000

LOWER EYELIDS:

R28000 incl. fat grafts

RHINOPLASTY: (ALL "OPEN")

R50000 upwards

LABIAPLASTY: (LOCAL)

R21000

EARS / OTOPLASTY

R32000 +

CHIN IMPLANT:

R32000

TUMMY TUCKS:

R50000
(variable due to liposuction)

LIPOSUCTION:

Usually upwards of R35000

Additional costs may include all or some of the following:
1. OVERNIGHT STAY IN HOSPITAL (TILL NOON THE FOLLOWING DAY): ADD R2500 TO TOTAL

2. PATHOLOGIST’S FEE FOR EXAMINING RESECTED BREAST TISSUE: ADD APPROX. R1300-R1600. A SEPARATE ACCOUNT WILL BE FOREWARDED DIRECTLY TO THE PATIENT.

3. TAKE HOME MEDS. ASCRIPT WILL BE GIVEN PRE-OPERATIVELY

4. PRESSURE GARMENTS (USED IN LIPOSUCTION) BOUGHT SEPARATELY

5. EMERGENCY RETURN TO THE OPERATING ROOM FOR BLEEDING ETC. THIS WILL COST EXTRA – INSURANCE IS AVAILABLE VIA www.fhf.co.za

Please note the following:
Payment can be made by bank transfer, Mastercard, VISA, debit cards, cash or local cheque.
Payment is ALWAYS taken in full, prior to the surgery. I do not offer payment plans at all, but please look at www.fhf.co.za for surgery financing. They now also offer Cosmetic Surgery Insurance.
Prices will be quoted in the local currency (rands / ZAR) - look at www.xe.net for conversions.

 

A word or 2 about Medical Aid & Medical Insurance

Medical aids do not cover any aspect of (purely) cosmetic plastic surgery. There are, however, some reconstructive procedures that may be covered by medical aids to varying extents. Examples include:

1. Some rhinoplasty procedures (functional surgery, sino-septal surgery, reconstructive, cleft)
2. Some breast reduction procedures (Discovery Health never covers these at all)

In these situations, and where reasonable grounds exist for some medical aid cover, a motivation letter, usually accompanied by pictures will be emailed to your medical aid by my office, on your behalf, to try to obtain authorization to proceed with the surgery.

It is, however, very important that you note the following:

  • Medical aid is your insurance, rather than mine. My contract is with you, the patient, and you, in turn, have a contract with your medical aid.
  • I do not operate at “medical aid rates” / NRPL rates.
  • My charges are in line with other local members of ISAPS, and will be higher than most medical aids will contribute. In other words, a co-payment is almost always required.
  • My fee, and that of any assistant, is payable in full prior to any surgery.
  • A full statement / receipt will then be issued to you, allowing you to claim whatever portion of the fee your medical aid will reimburse you.
  • Even if a procedure is alleged to have 100% cover by your medical aid, this will only refer to the hospital costs, not my fee, nor that of my assistant, if used, nor my anaesthetist.

 

 

If you have any questions about this, feel free to email me

Member | International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)
Fellow | Royal College of Surgeons
Fellow | College of Surgeons of South Africa (Plastic Surgery)
Member | Association of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons of SA