Introduction to Liposuction Cost in NYC
**Note: all costs are approximations and are subject to change based on each patient’s individual anatomy.
The cost of liposuction in NYC is the most common question received in our office. This is totally understandable given the confusion about what exactly liposuction is and what the cost of liposuction in NYC and New Jersey includes. To start, I will simply explain what liposuction is. At the end of this post I will give the common costs/prices for liposuction in NYC/NJ.
Update: A lot has changed since 2020. I have taken a considerable amount of time to update this page on liposuction costs in New York. It is important that the public has a clearer understanding of costs as it relates to liposuction. I have updated the covid-19 related costs to liposuction and shed some light on the growth of corporate non-doctor owned liposuction corporations with large marketing budgets where you may never meet your surgeon or even know who they are until your are being operated on.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction involves the surgical removal of fat by a surgeon. Ideally, the patient will see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in liposuction in NYC or NJ. This is not always the case. Since I wrote this article last a number of things have changed in Liposuction. We now have new devices on the market such as body tite and a newer version of J-Plasma. Post operative healing has pivoted to at home lymphatic massages, at home EmSculpt, EmSculpt NEO, new types of compression foams, boards, garments, and fajas. Liposuction still remains the number one way to remove stubborn fat.
Liposuction should not be confused with CoolSculpting, cooltone, truetone, true sculpt, air sculpt, soft sculpt, ulthera, vanquish, sculpsure , kybella, or any other non-surgical fat reduction device typically offered by a med spa. Liposuction is the most predictable and safest form of fat reduction and body contouring available. It is the most common cosmetic plastic surgery procedure performed in the United States every year and is rising dramatically based on new technologies and techniques.
Liposuction is the most predictable and safest form of fat reduction and body contouring available.
What goes into the cost of liposuction in NYC or liposuction in NJ?
The cost of liposuction in NYC/NJ will depend on many factors:
Covid-19 Liposuction Cost Factors
Covid-19 Safety Fees
Covid-19 and the pandemic had an economic impact on everyone. Some plastic surgeons and liposuction corporations are charging fees with various names; such as “safety fee” and “comfort fees”. These fees are meant to take in account a few things as it relates to liposuction.
- Economic loss from the pandemic
- Costs of updated liposuction surgical infrastructure- your surgeon should have safety measures in place which start with appropriate office modification for social distancing, detailed covid-19 electronic screening software for employees and patients, temperature monitoring, a covid-19 safety and compliance workbook that patients could have access to, updated ventilation system with ultraviolet light for virus particle destruction, ample PPE, barriers between staff and patients, the list is extensive but not completely inclusive.
These costs are not necessarily added to the patients fee for liposuction but feel free to ask your surgeon or patient care coordinator.
Covid-19 Testing Fees
Patients are required to obtain COVID-19 pcr tests before elective surgery in New York State within 5 days. This is very important as it helps protect the staff and the patients. Depending on your insurance carrier costs may be completely covered or can be up to $1000 for a concierge PCR test before your liposuction.
Many plastic surgery practices and liposuction corporations have adopted virtual consultations and follow ups. This is a great advantage to both the practice and the patient. This not only limits costly time devoted to going to an appointment, parking, baby sitters but reduces exposure to covid-19 for liposuction patients and staff overall decreasing the financial and physical burden to the patients.
Liposuction Virtual Consultation Costs
Many practitioners are charging a consultation fee for virtual consults even though the patient occupies no physical footprint within the office. This is because plastic surgeons performing liposuction have likely invested in audio visual technology to enhance the virtual consultation experience.
What are all these corporate liposuction companies that have multiple locations in multiple cities about?
Economics of innovation do not stop in medicine. Private equity backed money has entered into the medical world and provided the creation of some corporate liposuction companies. These companies are typically ran by private equity firms. Some advantages of these companies will be a 24-hour telephone hotline for answering inquiries about pricing, multiple locations, and because of scale a low-cost alternative to the one-on-one doctor model of plastic surgery liposuction. Some disadvantages include the fact that you do not get to choose your surgeon, you may never meet your surgeon, you will not know your surgeon’s credentials, due to high turnover your surgeon will likely not be present for very long, they will unlikely have registered nurses or nurse practitioners but LPN’s or licensed nurse practitioners which are earlier staged educated nurses without lifesaving experience and knowledge. Overall, these companies offer a cost-effective alternative to boutique style liposuction practices and can still deliver desired results.
What is the main difference in costs between different surgeons?
This is a very simple question with a very simple answer. When costs are lower from one surgeon to another it rarely if ever reflects the surgeon him/her self-earning less per liposuction procedure. As in any business the only way to earn more while charging less is to reduce costs. In liposuction surgery costs come down to two categories:
- Quality of equipment: a modern microaire power assisted liposuction platform, along with third generation ultrasound or Vaser technology and Renuvion J-Plasma technology will start at a minimum capital contribution by the surgeon or corporation of $500,000. This does not even begin to include warranty, service contracts, cannulas, multiple devices to ensure back up liposuction equipment is around. Alternatively, a corporation could purchase a refurbished all in one liposuction machine for $5,000. These devices can remove fat but without any real modern sculpting and tightening capabilities. As you can see the cost savings is over 100 times for someone purchasing old, refurbished equipment for liposuction compared to modern liposuction equipment. Patients should ask specifically what type of equipment is being used. Any type of laser such as smart lipo or older energy-based technologies are antiquated and have been shown to not have any significant positive impact on the results of the operation.
To be crystal clear if a corporation or surgeon is using old refurbished basic liposuction equipment compared to new modern equipment their cost is one hundred times less in equipment. The cost savings passed on to the patient is a tiny fraction of that. The majority of the difference will likely be used for profit and marketing designed to move the eye away from the facts that the equipment is old, outdated, and not delivering remotely what is being promised.
2. Safety: Former president Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are useless, but Planning is everything.”
Simply speaking it is very expensive to make surgery safe and very cheap to make it not safe. Fully accrediting a surgical facility to the standards of a hospital and having well trained experience staff and all UpToDate equipment, pharmacology, and precautions costs time, resources, and effort. All of which is worth every penny to ensure patients get not only a predictable result but a safe one when it comes to liposuction.
Some surgeons choose to charge for consultations and some do not. This cost can range anywhere from $50 to $500 based on the surgeon’s experience and practice philosophy.
Given that my passion is liposuction, I want to share my experience with prospective patients. I want patients to understand that I have written the safety guidelines on liposuction for the American Society of Plastic Surgery along with multiple textbook chapters.
I am a frequent lecturer and surgeons from all over the world come to New York City to observe and learn liposuction techniques. We have all the latest technology and the safest equipment and personnel. Furthermore, my staff is dedicated and passionate about liposuction and we want to share that with patients.
Patients should be given a breakdown of the cost of the operation. The facility fee is the cost of the liposuction procedure that covers the physical costs of the operation. This is a very important number for patients to pay attention to. If this number is too low it likely means the medical provider is cutting corners and thus cost.
- Accreditation: First, if the operating room is fully accredited meaning it has been inspected by one of the three main agencies in the country to essentially have the same safety as a hospital the cost will be higher because becoming accredited requires a significant cost expense into safety equipment.
- Staff: After this comes staff. Again, if the cost is low the surgeon or provider may not be using enough registered nurses during the procedure.
- Ideally the surgeon will have a surgical technician present to handle all of the instruments and two registered nurses present. One nurse is responsible to “circulate” or move around the room getting all necessary equipment and a dedicated recovery nurse. A recovery nurse should be providing one on one care to the patient. Each of these personnel can cost up to $100 per hour so for a two hour procedure that could be at least $900 given the staff are there early to prepare and after to get ready for the next case or clean after the last liposuction case.
- Many facilities may use medical assistants who are significantly less trained and less qualified than a registered nurse. Medical assistants can be excellent additions to a medical office however I believe there is a big difference between seeing patients in an examination room and performing liposuction.
- Equipment: Medications, drapes, gloves and the actual liposuction equipment costs are also taken into consideration in this facility fee. For instance, if a surgeon is using old equipment the cost of liposuction will likely be low.
- In one of my typical liposuction operations, I am using acoustic ultrasound technology, or Vaser technology, to melt the fat to be removed. The cost of a Vaser liposuction machine on its own can be up to $200 000 if it is an updated model. This allows for the fat to be removed more completely and efficiently.
- At this point ideally the surgeon is using a mircoaire power assisted liposuction instrument, which is what actually removes the fat. The cannulas are typically disposable so there are no concerns over contamination. Another reason to use the more expensive cannulas is that they tend to extract fat smoother and more uniformly than the old reusable ones. These can cost be between $100 and $150 per case.
- NYC Liposuction experts will also have Cold Helium Plasma technology available to tighten the skin if needed, which can have disposable costs of up to $1000 per liposuction case. Recently body-tite radio frequency technology has been shown to have similar results to J-Plasma from Renuvion but takes a little longer in the operating room which may incur more operating room facility and anesthesia fees.
As you can start to see, the cost of liposuction can vary widely simply based on the way the procedure is set up. The difference between having a non plastic surgeon perform liposuction in a non accredited room with poorly trained staff and poor quality equipment will lead to a decrease in cost of liposuction.
Compression Garment Costs
I always include the costs of the compression garments in my liposuction facility fee cost in NYC as we order in bulk and pass on the savings to the patient. Also I believe that compression garments are an essential part of the procedure and thus the best garment for the patient should be chosen. Many surgeons will add the cost as a separate line item or refer patients to websites or stores near the office that sell these garments. Often the size needs to be changed or the style needs to be adjusted. We always include one compression garment in the cost of your procedure. Patients may also purchase additional garments from our office and/or order their own on-line with the assistance of our nursing team.
Similar to lawyers, most surgeons charge based on time. A surgeon will predict the time it takes to prepare for surgery, execute the liposuction operation, and provide appropriate follow up. Unlike lawyers, surgeons do not charge for phone calls, emails, and extra follow up care that patients need from time to time. When compared to other professionals’ hourly rates, the surgeon’s rate is usually less than that of their peers.
The difference is that unlike with legal fees, the entire cost of the liposuction procedure surgery fee is paid up front instead of recording the time spent and then sending a bill. Some surgeons and facilities will bill per area. This is similar to billing by time as the surgeon is assuming that each area takes the same amount of time. I have found this to be an oversimplification and would be like a lawyer billing the same for every case assuming all cases take the same amount of time. For instance the back roll areas can take a significant amount of time similar to calves and ankles, whereas a small chin liposuction can be very fast.
Medical Clearance Costs
Not all patients require medical clearance by an internist or a primary care to have liposuction in NYC. Not all patients will require blood work or ekgs or chest x rays. However, from time to time based on patient’s medical history an evaluation from another physician will be required and may add a cost to your liposuction NYC procedure. Many times the physician evaluation and the costs of tests can be done through the patient’s health insurance. In our office we work with many local internists who can work within many health care plans or provide medical clearance at a discounted rate.
When performing liposuction in NYC, patients are always made to feel comfortable to enhance the overall liposuction experience. When performing a small procedure, we will often simply use oral medication and the numbing fluid in the fat. This allows patients to be lightly sedated and recover very quickly. No machine is used to help the patient breathe and they are able to talk during the liposuction procedure.
However, when we are performing multiple areas or a large volume of liposuction we will typically need a deeper form of sedation to get the patient comfortable. This requires a Board-Certified Anethesiologist. This doctor will have gone through the same amount of training as the surgeon in the field of Anesthesiology.
Some surgeons may use a nurse anesthesiologist because they are significantly less expensive. Again, CRNA or certified registered nurse anesthesiologist serve an important role in the medical infrastructure. However, in a hospital setting they are typically supervised by Board Certified Anesthesiologists so in a small office setting it is best to have a Board Certified Anesthesiologist present. In an NYC liposuction procedure, the cost of an anesthesiologist can be between $600-$1000 per hour.
While medical care should be local expertise can be global. We treat many patients from New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and around the globe. Unlike complicated surgical procedures we are able to perform many procedures with only 1-2 days stay in NYC. While this may add a travel cost we can do most of the consultation remotely via SKYPE all the paperwork remotely and see the patient the day before surgery, perform surgery, and for many liposuction NYC procedures have them go home the same or the next day with a follow up visit in a week.
Unlike many other plastic surgery procedures liposuction in NYC is an evolving process and many times requires after care to optimize and enhance results. In my practice we typically use a specialty trained medical lymphatic masseuse for after liposuction NYC management. Lymphatic massage is a type of massage that encourages the natural drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues back toward the heart. This reduces the scar tissue faster than compression garments. These can cost $150-$300 per hour.
From time to time surgical procedures need enhancements to achieve the ideal desired look. This is usually not the result of any fault but just the way some anatomy and tissues respond to surgery. Typically a surgeon will charge a small fee and perform the revision under local anesthetic. This fee may be $500, for instance.
However, some surgeons may charge full price or a significantly higher fee. It is important to understand this cost before undergoing liposuction in NYC. Revision rates will also vary by surgeon experience and difficulty of procedure. Beware of anyone who says they have none or a lot of revisions because both are bad scenarios. A 5-8% revision rate in liposuction is responsible and honest.
Dr Ryan Neinstein MD FRCSC
Lenox Hill Hospital
New York, NY
Thanks for reading! Call the office today or contact us!
**Note: all costs are approximations and are subject to change based on each patient’s individual anatomy.