Aesthetic Center & Plastic Surgery Clinic Manager – A Day in the Life

Managers of aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics are in charge of the day-to-day operations of their facility, including accounting, staffing, and compliance. Consequently, physicians are better able to focus on serving patients and delivering top-quality outcomes.

All forms of healthcare administration continue to rise at a rapid pace, but the niche of plastic surgery has seen its own noticeable uptick: according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), nearly 18 million Americans underwent cosmetic procedures in 2018, marking five years of consistent growth.

This isn’t the same job as that of clinical manager or hospital administrator, however. Aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics have quirks that other medical facilities don’t. For example, aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics generally offer voluntary treatments and therefore are reliant upon marketing to drive their business. This makes management of these facilities much more like managing a business in the corporate world. On the other end of the spectrum, however, aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics are dealing with some decidedly non-corporate ideas, such as drastically altering someone’s appearance or redefining a patient’s personal identity.

This is a profession that’s part sexy and part technical. It’s about the human perception of self, but sometimes it’s also about aesthetic enhancements. One minute you could be talking tummy-tucks, and the next you could be outlining treatments that can give a burn victim their smile back. It’s business; it’s pleasure; it’s numbers; it’s image. You just wouldn’t find these sorts of contrasts if you were managing, say, an allergist’s private practice.

Work Environment of an Aesthetic Center or Clinic

Managers in this field work in either aesthetic centers or plastic surgery clinics. And while those two settings are often grouped together, they can represent two different things. Aesthetic centers generally perform cosmetic services and focus on body enhancement, while plastic surgery is more focused on reconstructing parts of the body that have been damaged.

Still, there’s plenty of overlap, interchangeability, and similarity between the two. For instance, both aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics are smaller in size than hospitals and other medical facilities, even though they may have partnerships with such operations. As such, the work environment of many aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics retains a boutique and personal feel.

Clinical Team in Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery Facilities

As administrative leaders, the managers of aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics will need to collaborate with all of a medical facility’s stakeholders. They need to hire, train, and schedule both front-office and clinical staff. They need to align physicians to a practice’s strategic goals. They need to partner with IT vendors to keep the practice efficient and the patient data safe. And they need to counsel patients on issues of both treatment and finance. This is a people-facing role and it doesn’t necessarily stay within a clinic’s four walls: some clinics are part of larger networks and managers need to cooperate with senior leadership or partner facilities in designing budgets and policies.

Typical Daily Responsibilities

Management of aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics requires business acumen. While caregivers focus on treatments and patients focus on recovery, clinical managers need to focus on running the entire facility in a financially efficient, regulatorily compliant, and logistically smooth manner. The idea here is that the better the clinical manager does their job, the better physicians and medical staff can do theirs, resulting in better outcomes for patients and stronger business for the clinic.

Typical responsibilities for the manager of an aesthetic center or plastic surgery clinic include:

  • Managing front office and clinical staff
  • Marketing the facility’s services to the general public
  • Forecasting, designing, and maintaining budgets
  • Identifying opportunities for strategic growth and implementing them
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance and patient satisfaction
  • Counseling patients about treatment, payment, and recovery options
  • Coordinating with partner facilities on network-wide goals

Each manager of an aesthetic center or plastic surgery clinic needs to tailor their daily responsibilities and strategic goals to the needs and niche of their specific area of practice.

A plastic surgery clinic manager has to deal with all of the above, along with certain psychological issues that may come with someone altering their body and appearance. What if a patient is coping with a disfiguring injury? What if, after treatment, they can’t seem to recognize their reflection in the mirror?

The manager of a cataract and laser institute, for example, needs a detailed understanding of the operations being performed, as well as the insurance coding and counseling services that go with it. What are the causes and effects of cataracts? What can laser treatment offer for patients and what are some of the risks associated with it? How much does one operation cost versus another—and which insurance plans cover which parts of each?

For the manager of an aesthetic center or plastic surgery clinic, sensitive topics like identity and self-worth mingle alongside more practical issues of treatment procedures, insurance billing codes, and hiring plans. No matter where they practice, they must marry their specialized technical knowledge to strict business fundamentals in order to successfully manage a facility, its staff, and its patients.

Required Skills & Knowledge

First and foremost, the manager of an aesthetic center or plastic surgery clinic must run the business side of operations so that physicians can focus on providing top-quality care. And running a business like this is no simple task. While it’s possible to start in this career with only a bachelor’s degree, more and more aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics are looking to hire managers with a master’s degree.

An MBA can provide graduates with the rigorous business acumen necessary to run larger facilities with bigger budgets and more complex logistics. In these programs, students learn about advanced financial analysis, human resource management, strategic marketing, and data-driven decision making.

Alternatively, an MHA can offer many of the same topics but viewed through a healthcare administration lens. In MHA programs, students don’t just learn the fundamentals of business, but also the fundamentals of healthcare business and the unique aspects that go along with it.

Graduate-level education can give managers of aesthetic centers and plastic surgery clinics the technical expertise they need to balance the books and lead a facility. But soft skills like compassion, detail-orientation, and strategic communication remain critical for putting the technical knowledge into practice.

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California. Since 2018, he’s written extensively about emerging issues in healthcare administration and public health, with a particular focus on progressive policies that empower communities and reduce health disparities. His work centers around detailed interviews with researchers, professors, and practitioners, as well as with subject matter experts from professional associations such as the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) and the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHCA).

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