The Laws of Supply and Demand Don't Apply to Cosmetic Surgery Pricing

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, July 27, 2015

The economic laws of supply and demand don’t apply to the pricing of common cosmetic surgery procedures according to a recent study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the official publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Results of the study demonstrated a correlation between costs of cosmetic surgery procedures and local economic factors such as the cost to own real estate, cost to rent real estate, cost of living and the population size of a geographic region. Pricing correlated (albeit weakly) with household income and per capita income.
Researchers randomly selected ten plastic surgery practices from each of fifteen US cities of various population sizes. They looked at the average prices of breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck, eyelid surgery, and facelift in each city and compared that information with economic and demographic statistics.

“Cosmetic surgery pricing cannot be completely explained by the supply-and-demand model because no association was found between procedure cost and the density of plastic surgeons. Prices remained high in cities with high surgeon-to-patient ratios, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Phoenix,” explained Dr. Subhas Gupta, lead author and Chair of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Loma Linda University.

Other factors that account for the deviation of plastic surgery pricing from the supply-and-demand model include regional culture, ease of acquiring service and social perceptions of cosmetic surgery.

“As the demand for cosmetic surgery has increased, physicians from specialties such as dermatology, otolaryngology, obstetrics, general surgery, and primary care have assumed roles as cosmetic surgeons. By offering to perform procedures on patients at a fraction of the average cost, they have driven down the cost of cosmetic procedures contributing to the deviation in the supply-and-demand model,” added Dr. Gupta.

“Overall, procedure pricing is driven by a combination of local economic factors, consumer demand, and surgeon supply.”

To view the complete study, visit the Aesthetic Surgery Journal site at: