We've all seen the stories of Hollywood cosmetic surgery procedures "gone wrong", speculations and denials of celebrities having "work done" and the occasional admittance from the stars themselves regarding plastic surgery. However, most of us don't know the details and costs that accompany going under the cosmetic knife.

Twenty-three year old Heidi Montag, of the "The Hills" and member of young Hollywood recently profiled in People magazine, for instance, underwent a head-to-toe reconstruction to maintain her starlet looks. The estimated cost to achieve the appearance, based on averages of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, was $30,000, the magazine reported. (It's not all great when you're rich. Read Why You DON'T Want To Be A Millionaire.)

Need-to-Know Details
Hollywood's expensive anti-aging remedies to have body parts plumped, sucked, trimmed, pinned, filled or completely overhauled have seeped into the mainstream American culture. However, unlike some celebrities, most people don't have the tens of thousands of dollars to make extreme changes. Also, many people, plastic surgeons have learned, aren't interested in the complete overhauls seen on reality shows. Instead, they only want to make a couple of subtle improvements to their look that won't leave them bankrupt.

Several considerations should be made when pursuing cosmetic surgery, first, realistic expectations regarding the outcome of the procedure and a practical view of the impact it will have on your wallet. The initial consultation is a good time to learn and see certifications and documents indicating your plastic surgeons appropriate experience for the planned procedure. It's also the opportune moment to discuss possible risks, the policy on surgical revisions, recovery for the procedure and costs.

"Beauty" Costs
Here's a look at common procedures and their average costs for physician/surgeon fees:

Procedure Price
Breast augmentations

Silicone gel implants $3,885
Saline implants $3,603
Nose reshaping $4,369

Suction-assisted $2,874
Ultra-sound assisted $2,933
Eyelid surgery $2,921
Tummy tuck $5,470
Botox $443
Hyaluronic acid $566
Chemical peel $704
Laser hair removal $326
Source: American Society of Plastic Surgery and American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery - 2007

Price Considerations
When it's time to discuss the price, keep the following in mind:

  • The surgical procedure is not typically covered by insurance and an advance payment is likely. Still, ask about payment installment plans and finance loans.

  • Costs may differ based on the body area treated. For instance, it's often higher for larger body areas such as a thigh.

  • The cost may appear lower, but it may only reflect the procedure. Overhead fees may affect the final payout, such as anesthesia, blood work, medications, garments, operating room fees.

  • Costs should be fully disclosed and agreed to upfront, but still ask about possible additional fees.

It's important to know the costs and the risks when thinking about undergoing some form of cosmetic procedure - no matter how intensive the surgery is going to be. Make sure you ask the rights questions and get the right answers. (For more on Hollywood finance-related stories, check out Celebrity Recession: Stars Who've Lost It All and 10 Costly Celebrity Divorces.)