Plastic Surgeon Salaries: How Much Do Plastic Surgeons Make & How to Increase Earnings

Published: October 4, 2023, Last Updated: February 2, 2024

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Writer: Martha Pierson
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Plastic surgeons consistently rank among the highest-paid medical specialists in the United States. However, their salaries can range dramatically depending on where they practice, their certifications, and how many years of experience they have.

But how much money do plastic surgeons make? If you’re a surgeon and want to know how much a fair salary is, we have prepared this guide with insider information to help you. Read on to find out more!

How Much Do Plastic Surgeons Make?

Plastic surgery is a broad field that encompasses two main categories: cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. After so many years of education and training, you might wonder: how much do plastic surgeons make a year?

Plastic surgeon outlining patient's face

Different sources give various estimates of the average plastic surgeon’s salary. Nevertheless, plastic surgeons are the highest-paid physicians in the U.S., with an average salary of $526,000 annually. Despite this, plastic surgeons living in one state may earn twice as much as those in another. Similarly, a surgeon with 20 years of experience will likely earn more than one with five years.

When estimating how much you’ll make as a plastic surgeon, consider the following factors:

  • Geographic Area. ZipRecruiter lists Tennessee, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Minnesota with the highest plastic surgeon salaries. Generally, states with increased demand for plastic surgery procedures and a shortage of specialists pay the most.
    According to Google Search records, the need for plastic surgeons is highest in Wyoming, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. While surgeons in large cities like New York and San Francisco may earn high salaries because of the high cost of living, it doesn’t mean that surgeons in other regions don’t make as much
    So relocating to a state with a potentially high number of patients can be a motive to maximize revenue. Look for a breakdown of all U.S. states with their annual and hourly wage in the next section.
  • Experience. Practical experience greatly affects how much you get paid as a plastic surgeon. Salary Expert reports that a recently licensed plastic surgeon earns an average of $471,439 annually.
    After three years of experience, the average salary jumps to $444,000, and after eight or more years, it reaches $596,000.
  • Board Certification. Being board certified guarantees that the physician completed extensive training, assuring the practitioner is among the top in their industry. As a result, plastic surgeons with board certifications from the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) may be able to negotiate higher salaries for their added expertise.
  • Gender Wage Gap. Sadly enough, the gender wage gap is still a major issue in America, and the cosmetic surgery industry is no exception. While the gender wage gap among plastic surgeons is significantly less compared to other physicians, male practitioners earn an average of $70,000 more annually than female practitioners.
  • Private Clinic vs. Hospital. Base plastic surgeon salaries at private clinics are often more volatile, as private facilities cannot offer surgeons hospital-rate wages. Surgeons in the private sector usually earn according to how many patients they serve and pay the costs associated with running the practice themselves.
    Conversely, surgeons have guaranteed salaries at hospitals that don’t fluctuate based on the number of patients they serve. However, this comes with less independence and the need to adhere to the hospital’s policies.

Average Salary Range for Plastic Surgeons by State

A plastic surgeon’s salary largely depends on where they’re based. Below is a ranking of all 50 states by average annual salary for plastic surgeons, along with the hourly rate.

RankStateAverage Annual SalaryHourly Wage
7Rhode Island$340,337$164
12New York$333,240$160
13North Dakota$330,726$159
17South Dakota$315,353$152
19New Hampshire$307,137$148
28South Carolina$298,065$143
32New Jersey$289,769$139
41West Virginia$278,836$134
46New Mexico$261,011$125
49North Carolina$247,682$119
National Average $333,736 
Source: ZipRecruiter

As you can see from the table above, 11 states have higher salaries for plastic surgeons than the national average. Tennessee tops the list with 11% higher average wages than the U.S. mean. Keeping this in mind, searching for a job in a state with a high payout and low cost of living can be financially beneficial for plastic surgeons. However, before you begin practicing in a different state, ensure you obtain a separate license.

How to Increase a Plastic Surgeon’s Salary?

According to Medscape, only 66% of plastic surgeons in America are currently satisfied with their pay. This leaves about one-third of all plastic surgeons looking for ways to increase their salaries.

Plastic surgeon consulting with patient

There are several ways to increase profitability in your practice. You might think that simply increasing the price of procedures can guarantee you more money. However, this may not be the case. Below, we discuss some strategies that can increase your exposure to new patients and generate more income.

Focus on a Specific Area of Expertise

Every type of plastic surgery procedure requires thorough knowledge and skill in the area. At the beginning of your training, you’ve probably learned how to perform any kind of plastic surgery. But once you take your first steps in the real world, it’s better to concentrate on a specific area and build your career around one plastic surgery procedure.

Focusing on one area can help you establish yourself as a reputable professional in the field. In addition, choosing a niche area of expertise can also help you better market yourself on social media and other platforms among potential patients.

Finally, if you operate a private practice, you’ll likely want to specialize in plastic surgery trends that cost the most. As a result, you can increase your potential revenue, resulting in a higher salary. Here are the current top 10 plastic surgery procedures:

RankProcedureAverage Cost
1.Rhinoplasty (Nose reshaping)$5,483
2.Blepharoplasty (Eyelid surgeries)$4,120
3.Rhytidectomy (Facelifts)$8,005
5.Augmentation Mammaplasty (Breast augmentations)$4,516
6.Neck Lifts$5,774
8.Malar Augmentation (Cheek implants)$3,669
9.Abdominoplasty (Tummy tucks)$6,154
10.Forehead Lifts$3,900

Build a Strong Reputation and Client Base

To achieve a strong reputation as a plastic surgeon, you must build a solid group of loyal patients and a constant flow of new patients. More new patients mean more revenue and higher salaries for plastic surgeons, especially in the private sector. To do this, you need to pump up your marketing efforts and attract patients to your clinic. Here are a few tools to expand your client base:

Create and Optimize Your Website

A website serves as a digital business card – a platform where prospective patients can understand your expertise, view testimonials, and learn about your services. To boost client acquisition and increase earnings, plastic surgeons should create and optimize a website for their practice that’s informative and SEO-friendly.

An SEO-optimized website involves writing educational and authoritative content on your landing pages regarding the service you offer. You can also have a blog section where you can publish educational articles about general procedures and ones in which you specialize. For instance, you could write about “What to Expect After a Facelift Surgery” or “How to Prepare for Your Mommy Makeover Transformation.”

Patient browsing a plastic surgery clinic's website

Consider hiring an SEO expert who can research and implement relevant plastic surgery keywords that can give your website more visibility on Google. More traffic to your website means more potential patients and, thus, higher revenue.

Your landing pages should include specific information about what service(s) you provide and contact information. Additionally, you can enhance your website with an FAQ page providing answers to the most commonly searched questions on search engines. This method can help boost your visibility when potential patients have plastic surgery inquiries.

Your website is also a good place to showcase your experience, certifications, and awards. In turn, you can instill trust in your potential clients, encouraging more individuals to work with you. Finally, ensure that your website is user-friendly and accessible on mobile devices. This ensures easy access and smooth navigation for potential clients. Most users today browse on mobile devices, so a mobile-optimized site captures a larger audience, reduces bounce rates, and increases conversions.

Moreover, a user-friendly interface enhances the overall user experience, building trust and encouraging visitors to take desired actions, such as booking consultations or appointments.

Gather and Leverage Patient Reviews

For plastic surgeons looking to amplify earnings and attract more clients, patient reviews are an invaluable resource. Positive reviews can act as personal endorsements, instilling trust in prospective patients. When someone reads about another person’s positive experience, they’re more likely to feel confident about booking an appointment. Simply put, more positive reviews can translate directly to more bookings and increased earnings.

Reviews can be collected on various platforms, including Google My Business, Healthgrades, Facebook, Yelp, and RealSelf. Once you’ve garnered positive reviews, don’t let them sit idle. Showcase them prominently on your clinic’s website, perhaps on the homepage or a dedicated ‘Testimonials’ page. You can also share them on social media platforms to reach a wider audience.

Encouraging reviews can be simple. After a successful procedure, kindly ask your patients if they’d be willing to share their experience online. For added incentive, some clinics even offer discounts on follow-up consultations or treatments for those who leave a review. Remember, genuine, personal interactions and providing excellent service are the foundation of encouraging positive reviews.

Provide Exceptional Client Experiences

In the competitive realm of plastic surgery, providing an exceptional client experience is key to boosting earnings and acquiring new patients. This is more than just about the outcome of surgery—it encompasses every interaction from the first phone call to post-op care.

To start, ensure your clinic emanates warmth and professionalism. The ambiance, cleanliness, and decor can set the tone even before a conversation begins. Reception staff should be trained not just in managing appointments but in exuding kindness and understanding. Remember, many patients may come in feeling vulnerable or self-conscious.

Plastic surgeon with smiling client

Communication is the backbone of exceptional care. Always ensure patients fully understand procedures, risks, and aftercare. This clarity reduces anxiety and sets realistic expectations, which can lead to greater satisfaction. Taking an extra 10 minutes to address questions can make all the difference.

Post-procedure, consider personalized follow-ups. A simple phone call asking about recovery or sending a card can leave a lasting impression. This gesture showcases genuine care beyond the clinical environment.

Lastly, leverage this exceptional experience for growth. Encourage satisfied clients to share their experiences online or with friends, turning them into powerful brand ambassadors. Word of mouth, fueled by outstanding client experiences, can be the most influential advertisement.

Offer Financing To Your Patients

Millions of patients delay or reconsider their plastic surgery procedures because of their inability to pay for the full cost upfront. If you want to appeal to more patients and maintain high patient satisfaction, consider offering plastic surgery financing for customers at your private practice.

Offering patient financing brings about a myriad of benefits both to the clinic and patient. For instance, with flexible payment plans, plastic surgery clinics can incentivize more patients to undergo surgery without the obligation to pay in full. In turn, more clients will likely commit to cosmetic or reconstructive procedures, increasing your clinic’s revenue.

Additionally, if your clinic partners with a third-party financing provider, you and your patients can benefit from added perks. In addition to offering flexible financing, third-party providers often work with a larger lender network. This translates to more opportunities for your patients to find financing, again increasing the number of procedures you book. In some cases, these lenders may also be willing to work with lower-credit patients.

Finally, by partnering with a third-party provider, your clinic won’t have to assume any lending risks or wait for payment. The provider will handle all the logistics of lending, including underwriting, repayments, and defaults. Additionally, plastic surgeons won’t have to worry about getting paid for their services. Third-party providers typically provide clinics with direct funds in a few days, regardless of when the patient repays their loan.

Conversely, if you work at a hospital, you can inquire about the hospital’s payment options. If the hospital offers financing, you can advertise these solutions to your clients by displaying pamphlets or notice boards in the waiting room.

Do you want to start offering financing to your plastic surgery patients? Sign up now. Conclusion

As you saw, a plastic surgeon’s salary depends on where you practice, your experience, and if you’re board-certified. If you’re wondering how to maximize your earnings as a plastic surgeon, these tips can help you get there. Choose a specific practice area, maximize your outreach through your marketing channels, and provide point-of-sale financing at your clinic

Martha Pierson

Content CreatorMartha Pierson is a marketing strategist and business development expert based in Glendale, California. As a content creator for the Finturf blog, Martha shares her vast knowledge and experience with readers to help them build and sustain successful businesses. Her articles offer practical tips and actionable advice that entrepreneurs can implement immediately to achieve their goals. Martha also provides insightful analysis of current trends across different industries and offers expert guidance on how businesses can adapt to changing market conditions.

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