How to Hire and Pay an Associate Plastic Surgeon


Is your plastic surgery practice looking to increase production to drive revenue and profitability?  One of the best ways to increase production within your practice is to hire a new associate surgeon.  Before an offer is made, however, it is important to calculate a salary that will fairly compensate for the surgeon’s production, but also ensure the compensation supports the practice’s overall financial plan.

When working on a compensation package, we like to look at several different measurables.  We typically account for case volume, case complexity, efficiency, and quality of care of our patients.  Some of the options we’ve seen work well include:

  •        Flat Salary: A fixed compensation is a figure that the practice owner and associate agree upon prior to employment.  While this may seem like a “No-Frills” model, it does have its advantages:


o   Practice owners can budget payroll as a “Fixed Rate” every month

o   It’s easy – we don’t have to wait on insurance payments, consider adjustments, or worry about refunds.

o   It’s consistent – stress is removed as the associate is paid the same, without considering other factors that might be beyond his control (disruptions in insurance payments, etc.)

o   The associate can focus on quality of care knowing compensation is consistent.


The primary disadvantage to the practice is that the risk is on the practice.  If the associate doesn’t produce, or we can’t collect, then the practice is taking the financial hit.


  •      Quantitative Model: A quantitative approach combines the concepts of a flat salary while taking case volume into consideration.  Within the model, an associate is provided a base salary, and if case volume significantly increases over a set period of time (ex. monthly, quarterly, yearly), the associate will receive additional compensation for his production.  We usually model several production scenarios based on historical case volume to forecast associate production and estimate compensation. 


  •      Percentage Model:  Some practices shift the financial risk completely to the associate by paying the associate based on volume alone.  Collections, production, or case volume is often used as the target, with the associate’s compensation adjusting accordingly.  Compliance and legal rules should always be considered with any percentage based model. 

It’s usually a good idea to track financial metrics on an ongoing basis, and measure the profitability of employees, associates included.  It might be recommended to revisit compensation model down the road to ensure it’s aligned with the revenue the associate is bringing into the practice.

Finally, we recommend the compensation be outlined in an employment agreement, along with other terms and conditions that protect the practice.  What isn’t in writing isn’t usually enforceable, and often times leads to confusion and frustration.


While you focus on finding the best associate, allow Maven Financial to take on some of the heavy lifting of developing a compensation model that works for the associate and the practice. We will also help you understand the financial impact of the new associate by budgeting for the incremental revenue and associated payroll costs.  If you’re ready to expand your team to meet and exceed your revenue goals reach out to us at for more information about how we can help.