We get a call or message a few times a week with a question along these lines:
"I saw Dr Moncrieff and really want him to do my surgery but I've also seen another surgeon and they are cheaper. Can you price match?"
Our reply, "Sorry but no. Essentially you are asking us to compare apples and oranges. Whoever you are looking at might be a good option, but will they offer the same experience and surgical techniques, time spent in surgery, service and visible results that makes you want to come to us?"
Price versus value
We totally understand that price is a factor and that we aren't "cheap" so we won't be the right choice for a patient who is only driven by cost. But when women choose us they tell us it is because of our exclusive focus on breast and body surgery, the care they receive from Dr Moncrieff and the team AND that our results speak for themselves.
Example – Dr Moncrieff’s tummy tucks
Our outcomes are a direct result of the effort and skill of the surgeon.
Dr Moncrieff generally spends 2-3 hours doing liposuction on a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) patient before he even starts the skin excision and muscle tightening, even in smaller patients. This may mean he charges more than someone who doesn't, not just to compensate him for his time, but for the anaesthetist and hospital as well.
He believes the significant re-shaping result that extra time and effort represents the best value for the types of patients we see. If a mere skin removal is what someone is after, then Dr Moncrieff isn't the right choice. He wants to create dramatic results!
Examples – Dr Moncrieff’s breast surgery results
Just like for tummy tucks, Dr Moncrieff's results for breast surgery reflect his experience and skills, as well as the time he is prepared to spend getting his patients the visible results they ask for.
For example, he routinely uses liposuction to the sides of the breasts to avoid large bulges under the arms which become very noticeable when breast are reduced.
Or the fact that he generally uses the 'dual plane' technique for breast augmentation. While it takes longer to dissect the pec muscle in this way, it is worth it for superior results that last over the years (more about the dual plane technique is here). This is in contrast with the "above the muscle" breast augmentation which is faster but often leads to the results sagging earlier than they should. Excellent clinical outcomes take time in the operating theatre, not a "production line" approach.
Proper use of Medicare item numbers
We have seen many quotes from other clinics which may reflect improper use of Medicare item numbers. This makes it cheaper for the patient, but is effectively defrauding the taxpayer (through Medicare) and other health fund members (through private health insurance) and results in serious penalties if discovered in a Medicare audit. We aren't willing to do this!
The most common use of Medicare item number we believe aren't justified are giving women seeking a lift and implant and they are given a Medicare item number for a reduction. Or using "removal of breast tissue" item numbers for breast reductions. Or use of the removal item number and "vertical scar" for women seeking removal of implants with a lift (the lift should not usually attract an item number). Or giving a tummy tuck item number where a woman hasn't lost significant weight or is suffering from significant abdominal muscle separation post-pregnancy. Or use of "wedge excisions" to get cover for what should be tummy tucks. All of this is illegal, and we choose not to engage in illegal activities. If someone is, you may want to ask what else they would do to make your surgery "cheap"?
It's cheaper to have it done right the first time
We see a LOT of patients seeking revisions, often because they opted for cheaper surgery the first time. As you can imagine, fixing less than ideal outcomes is time consuming, so revision surgery is expensive and often Medicare and health funds won’t help. So the total cost of the original ‘cheap’ option plus the revision is far more than having it done correctly in the first instance.
By way of example, there are plenty of cheap breast augmentations for around $6,000 - $8,000, but they cost up to $28,500 to remove, repair and replace if the patient is unhappy. So a total cost of $34,500 - $36,500 for both surgeries versus $15,000 to $16,000 to have Dr Moncrieff perform a breast augmentation in the first place.
What to ask if shopping around
We encourage patients to seek a second opinion and make an informed decision about what is right for them. Here are some ideas to help you compare your options, based on the elements that make up our 5 star difference:
1. Are they a Specialist Plastic Surgeon?
Dr Moncrieff is an Australian-qualified Plastic Surgeon. He completed 17 years of medical and surgical training, including 5 years specialising in Plastic Surgery, before establishing Hunter Plastic Surgery in 2009. Dr Moncrieff uses the latest techniques mastered throughout his career, including over 20,000 procedures performed in Newcastle.
You may hear people calling themselves “cosmetic surgeons” – please note this does not mean they have completed the extensive training required of Plastic Surgeons. Until recently, anyone in Australia with a basic medical degree could call themselves a “cosmetic surgeon” (yes, it is scary!).
2. Are they breast and body focused?
Dr Moncrieff focuses exclusively on making women achieve their goals by providing breast and body plastic surgery. No face surgery, no skin cancers, no noses, no males, no toenails. Just breast and body surgery for women because we believe focus matters.
3. Can you see their real results?
Our prospective patients can see results on hundreds of real women who have experienced #DrMoncrieff results to help them make an informed decision. We only publish real photos of our patients who are happy to share their outcomes, and say no to misleading stock images of models!
And our photos are more than cute patient selfies – only proper clinical before and after photos without bras and filters show the true results. How many of these photos can you see from the surgeon before you book a consultation?
4. What care will you get before and after surgery?
Our service is multi-award winning - in fact we have won 25 awards for our team, our service and our surgical outcomes at local, national and global awards! These include recent awards such as the Small Business Management Team of the Year at the 2023 Stevie Awards for Women held in New York and the Best Surgical Body Transformation at the 2020 MyFaceMyBody Global Awards.
These are recognition of the focus we have on patient care, from the first phone call to the final post operative visit and beyond. This commitment to service is also why over 99% of our previous patients say they would recommend us to others and we have over 350 five-star ratings online.
5. Are they really upfront about costs?
Hunter Plastic Surgery is the only plastic surgery practice in the Hunter which publishes price guides to all the most common cosmetic procedures on our website to ensure patients understand the likely costs before they commit their valuable time and money to a consultation. And our costs are the totals – we don’t just publish the surgeon’s fee and keep the other costs such as hospital and anaesthetist's fees hidden! Every patient receives a full personalised written quote before any procedure.
About Amber Moncrieff
Amber is a lawyer with an MBA who established Hunter Plastic Surgery with her husband in 2009.
She is a multi-award winning business person, and has accepted 25 awards for herself and the team since founding the clinic.
Amber is also a mum of 3 school aged boys and a passionate community leader. She and Dr Moncrieff actively support a number of local, national and international charities and she is a volunteer football manager.
More about Amber is available here.
About Hunter Plastic Surgery
Our clinic is one of the leading plastic surgery practices in Australia for women seeking breast and body surgery. Dr Moncrieff exclusively focuses on breast augmentation, breast reductions, lifts and tummy tucks.
We also have a busy non-surgical practice, having treated over 1000 patients last year (many of whom visited multiple times). We offer injectables, laser, CoolSculpting, Healite LED, skin care and more.
More about Hunter Plastic Surgery is available here.