A new study published online by Jama Facial Plastic Surgery examined patients’ willingness to pay to fix facial deformities. The aim was to consider the impact of facial defects on quality of life as perceived by society and the value that society places on facial reconstruction.
The study included a diverse group of 200 people who were asked to look at images of faces with varying defects before and after surgical reconstruction. The participants were asked to imagine the defect was on their own face and to consider how much they would be willing to pay to have the defect surgically repaired.
The outcome was that participants were willing to pay a premium for surgery to correct large and central facial defects but were less willing to pay to fix small and peripheral facial defects. According to the study findings, the average "willingness to pay" ranged from $1,170 to repair small peripheral facial defects to $7,875 to repair large central defects.
Elise Bevan, a solicitor in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: “In my experience, patients who seek out reconstructive surgery for facial defects often do so because of over-concern about what others will think. This study highlights that society considers that facial defects decrease quality of life and provides new data to assess the social importance and value of facial reconstructive surgery. In a society where there is an increasing level of importance placed on appearances and how one is perceived by others, the results are not surprising.”