Shop Till You Drop … In for Surgery

Monday, Nov. 3, 2003

“What did you get at the mall this weekend?”

“I got a new belt and some new shoes, a new tummy and a new chin.”

Yes, augmentation and reduction of your body parts are “going retail,” writes Fortune magazine.

The profitable, and voluntary, medical procedures known collectively as “plastic surgery” might be available at a mall near you very soon.

Think we’re kidding?

Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery opened in August, right up the street from Hugo Boss and Chanel.

Granted, this is the newest and swankiest of similar such boutiques, but by no means is it the last.

“Retail medicine” is the term being batted around, whereby doctors perform services on a truly outpatient basis – outside a hospital.

Some surgical procedures beg the question “Why make people who need laser eye surgery or arthroscopic surgery stay at a hospital full of people who are ill with transmittable diseases?”

The answer is what Kelly Pyrek, editor of Today’s Surgicenter magazine told Fortune magazine is a “‘Jiffy Lube’ approach to health care.”

And so, plastic surgery is moving off the hospital homestead.

Medical retailers have lower costs than hospital providers and can therefore charge lower prices, much like the difference between having your car serviced at the dealer and letting a ‘quick lube’-type place take care of your vehicle – same or better service, less hassle, lower prices.

You can even find a deal in Beverly Hills. Lloyd Krieger, founder of Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery, said breast surgery and face lifts run less at his facility than the industry standard.

“It’s as safe as a hospital but at a more reasonable cost,” he told Fortune.

So if you go to the mall and that makeup you really, really want at the ritzy department store just doesn’t look right, you can soon pop over to something like “Flat Tummy, Fresh Face” (motto: “The Only Place to Fix Your Face!”) and voila! Perfection.

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