How to Stay Off “Botched!” (Part 2)

Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Groupon Specials…Buyer Beware!

In Part 1 of our “How to Stay Off “Botched!” series, we discussed surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments at discount medspas and the dangers of seeking treatment there. We also talked about the cost savings aspect of why people choose to go to a medical spa instead of seeing a board-certified dermatologic surgeon, including online group coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

In this article, we will dig into coupon websites a little deeper. For an overview of discount medical spas and the dangers of Groupon specials and extreme discounts, read our first article in this series.

Discount Cosmetic Surgery: Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Groupon Specials

Deep discounts, Groupon specials, and LivingSocial deals are mostly full of very cheap cosmetic treatments that range from laser hair removal to non-surgical body contouring. While medical spas are the most common aesthetic practices to provide these discounted services for non-surgical cosmetic treatments, there are sometimes physicians or cosmetic surgeons offering deep discounts on surgical procedures like liposuction and varicose vein removal.

For most people most familiar with medical ethics and the risks associated with surgical procedures, such deeply discounted services send up a lot of red flags. However, as these specials continue to pop up, it’s clear that there are individuals who are purchasing these deeply discounted medical procedures to save money. This is a growing concern within the medical community, which is why we are dedicating a full article on the topic. Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of discounted surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

Why Pay More for Cosmetic Treatments?

While you may see the price tag of a cosmetic treatment as too expensive, there are numerous factors that go into determining the cost of a treatment. For something like Botox injections, as an example, the cost of treatment includes:

  1. the Botox itself
  2. the syringe
  3. topical numbing cream or injectable anesthetic
  4. evaluation of medical history by a physician and support staff
  5. examination by a physician and support staff
  6. private clinic space for the patient to receive a consultation and treatment
  7. follow-up appointment to evaluate patient results and health
  8. staff wages
  9. ongoing patient safety education
  10. ongoing injection skill training

Taking all of the above into consideration, the cost for a Botox treatment is fairly priced by dermatologic surgeons. You aren’t just paying for Botox in your forehead, brows and/or crow’s feet. You’re paying for the skill, expertise, education, safety, and support staff that enables your provider to give you the best possible results.

How the Other Guys Charge So Little

You’re probably asking yourself at this point that, if that’s the true cost of providing Botox, then how are these other practices able to offer deep discounts on Groupon?

The short answer: they cut corners.

Patients who receive Botox and other cosmetic treatments from discount physicians who offer Groupon specials have a higher incidence of poor results and bad health reactions to treatments like life threatening allergic reactions. This is because the providers cut corners by:

  • spending less time with patients
  • using unqualified staff to provide treatments
  • using counterfeit or diluted product
  • administering treatment without a full medical history or examination
  • using outdated equipment and technology

You can clearly see that you get what you pay for, and when it comes to medical treatments, the cost can be your health and safety.

Refund Policies of Coupon Sites

What most people who purchase a Groupon don’t know is that just because you paid for a treatment doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. This can happen for a few different reasons:

  1. Your appointment gets cancelled because the provider is overwhelmed with a high response to their online offer;
  2. You arrive for a consultation and find out you aren’t a good candidate for treatment; or
  3. You decide to cancel the appointment or chose to not get treatment after a consultation.

When this happens, the provider isn’t the one who gives you a refund; you must go back to the coupon site and request a refund. This can take weeks or months to achieve because their refund policies can be extremely complex.

Additionally, paying in full for a treatment when you haven’t been evaluated by a medical provider is problematic for several different reasons:

  1. You aren’t a good candidate for treatment due to contraindications such as poor health, medications, or allergies; or
  2. You require more extensive treatment than what you paid for, which often happens to patients who purchase a special online. In these circumstances, the provider asks for more money, and the patient feels blindsided and unhappy.

Discount Cosmetic Treatments Actually Cost You More

Despite the above considerations, you may be considering a cosmetic surgery Groupon special anyway. If so, you should consider the high rate of unforeseeable additional expenses that patients who receive discount treatments often incur.

Emergency Room & Urgent Care Visits: If you see a provider who cut corners, you are at a higher risk for developing a dangerous infection or having an adverse reaction to treatment. Some patients often find themselves in extreme pain following treatment or suffer from partial paralysis because it was done improperly. These patients will sometimes rush to the emergency room either because the situation is dire or because they cannot reach the provider who administered treatment.

Physician Appointments & Corrective Treatments: The same problems that land patients in the emergency room or in urgent care also send patients to see their general practitioner for help with the adverse reactions to a botched procedure. Corrective treatments can include cosmetic correction by a board-certified dermatologic surgeon, surgery, antibiotics, emergency allergy treatments, and more. Depending on the extent of the damage, patients could face months of antibiotic treatments and surgeries to clean up tissue damage, followed by reconstructive surgery.

Missed Work: All of these appointments, hospital stays, surgeries, or even just not wanting to be seen in public can mean missed time at work. At this point, the patient isn’t just spending more money to reverse the damage caused by a bad provider, they are also losing a substantial amount of income for the household.

Legal Fees: Injured patients will often attempt to sue the provider for malpractice in an attempt to recoup their losses. However, legal fees often have to be paid up front, and a civil suit does not always find in favor of the patient.

Financing Options: A Better Solution to Cosmetic Surgery Groupon Specials and Discount Sites

The best way to make sure you get the safest and most effective treatment is to consult with a board-certified dermatologic surgeon who has a proven track record of results and patient safety and who is respected in the medical community.

Once you’ve chosen your provider and had a consultation, discuss payment options for your treatment. Some dermatologic surgeons offer financing options or allow patients to make payments on their treatments. Most providers accept credit cards as well, allowing you to pay for your treatments over time. If you frequently visit your chosen provider, you may also qualify for special pricing exclusive to you for being a repeat patient.

Schedule a Consultation With a Board-Certified Dermatologic Surgeon

Saving money is nice, and scoring a great deal can be exciting, but we encourage you to value your health and safety by trusting them only to the best providers you can find in your area.

Dermatologic surgeons are highly specialized dermatologists. They are board-certified and provide both general and cosmetic dermatology services, to include skin cancer diagnosis and removal.

Dr. C. William Hanke, Board-Certified Dermatologic Surgeon in Indianapolis

Dr. Hanke, dermatologic surgeon at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana, provides patients in Indianapolis and the surrounding area with superior care in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. From aesthetic facials to tumescent liposuction, acne treatments to skin cancer diagnosis and removal, Dr. Hanke is not only a leader in dermatologic surgery in Indiana, but in the United States and abroad.

To learn more about dermatologic surgery, visit the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.