The saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” wasn’t originally said about plastic surgery, but it might as well have been.

Whether it’s about price, results or recovery, it’s always best to be wary of claims that don’t seem to add up.

“Be skeptical of any exaggerated promises, catchy trademarks, bargain prices, risk-free procedures, excessively short procedure times or facilities that don’t meet your personal standard,” said Dr. Brock Ridenour, a facial plastic surgeon in St. Louis.

“While some surgeons are no doubt more skilled and artistic than others, patients should be wary of any surgeon who purports to perform a ‘special’ or unique procedure that isn’t performed elsewhere in the medical community,” he added.

We asked doctors on RealSelf for the top warning signs when it comes to too-good-to-be-true cosmetic treatment deals, so you don’t get ripped off, injured or worse. 


Related: Here’s how much downtime you’ll need for top cosmetic procedures


1. Cheaper isn’t always better

Price is important for many people when making a decision on a cosmetic treatment. But if they prices are too low, that’s a major red flag. A super-low price could indicate that the person providing the treatment isn’t qualified. Or, in the case of injectables, it could mean they’re advertising a diluted or knock-off product.

“If the price is too good to be true, then there probably is something you are not being told,” said Dr. David Shafer, a New York plastic surgeon.

When it comes to injectables, like Botox, Dr. Shafer said too low of a price could indicate the product is old, or even not authentic.


2. Credentials matter

Being board-certified isn’t just a title doctors add to their resume. It is a symbol of training and skill. Experience matters. Look for the appropriate certifications and back that up with research that includes reviews from real people.

Additionally, always confirm who will perform your procedure. You might visit a board-certified doctor for a lip augmentation, only to find that the doctor won’t be the one performing the treatment.

“When the price falls below the competitive rate for your particular part of the country,” said Dr. Urmen Desai, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. “I would be concerned that the doctor isn’t going to be the one performing the procedure.”


Related: 5 foolproof tips to find an awesome injector


3. Ask questions and get multiple consultations

If something seems too good to be true, get a second or third opinion. Going to multiple consultations will help you identify claims that just don’t add up.

“All patients should visit multiple doctors to get a better sense of a realistic cost of a procedure, and an opportunity to ask who exactly will be performing the surgery,” Dr. Desai said.

You should feel comfortable asking questions about the products being used (When was this Botox mixed?), and even ask to see the product and its packaging to ensure it’s real.

Finally, trust your gut. If you feel something is off, and your questions are not honestly and respectfully addressed, it’s a good sign to walk. It’s always best to ask too many questions before than to have regrets later.


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