With the economy in a slump, many patients are looking for deals and discounts on cosmetic and plastic surgery.
Some doctors are able to extend discounts or offer attractive patient financing plans that help to manage the costs of surgery, while others are discounting packages of somewhat affordable procedures such as Botox. Unfortunately, some of the sales on surgery really are too good to be true.
A Las Vegas doctor was recently sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for dispensing a Botox knock-off to patients in is Nevada clinic. Dr. Stephen Lee Seldon, a 54 year-old plastic surgeon from Las Vegas, Nevada and his wife were fined over $140,000 for convictions in November related to criminal mail fraud and adulterating drugs used at their clinic. The prosecutors found that the doctor had been using a cheap substitute of Botox called TRltox to treat patients – and charging them a high price to profit from the swap. The substitute compounds are not suitable for human use, and were originally designed for research purposes only.
The doctor is now facing years in prison and heavy fines for the switch; it’s not clear whether the doctor was charging slightly less than standard market prices to lure more patients to the practice, or if he was charging regular Botox fees to turn a profit. However, prospective patients in this competitive economy are warned to do their research when it comes to finding a doctor for their procedure, and to avoid dramatic discounts on procedures such as Botox, liposuction and other in-demand surgery.
Most professional surgeons cannot reduce their fees significantly, but may offer free gifts or attractive financing plans to offset the costs. Still, patients need to verify the doctor’s track record, review before and after photos, and make sure the doctor is licensed and certified before heading off to the clinic.