Breast Augmentation Cost
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The average surgeon's fees associated with breast augmentation are about $3,700, not including anesthesia, surgical facility fees, breast implants, and other expenses. I personally offer all-inclusive packages that begin at $7,995. When considering cosmetic surgery, figures like this can be helpful in giving you an idea of what you might expect to pay, and help you begin thinking of how to budget accordingly. However, you must understand that the cost of breast augmentation from one patient to the next varies dramatically based on a number of factors, including:
- The surgeon you choose
- The geographic location of your surgeon's practice
- The surgery venue: Does the doctor have his or her own surgical suite, or is surgery performed in a hospital or ambulatory center?
- Your choice of breast implant
- Combining breast augmentation with another procedure such as a breast lift
- Recovery expenses
All surgeons have their own approach to performing breast augmentation, different amenities at their disposal, and different levels of experience. It is fair to say that your choice of surgeon can have the most significant influence on the total cost of your surgery. For example, over the course of my career, I have cultivated an excellent reputation by performing several breast augmentation procedures every week that provide consistently satisfying results. Every surgery I perform is preceded by an extensive consultation involving computer analysis and other sophisticated technology. I have also created my own technique that allows the patient to return to normal activities within 24 hours, and I make regular appearances in the media, speaking about many different aspects of cosmetic surgery.
Therefore, compared to a surgeon at an early stage in his or her career, my services cost more. While a less experienced surgeon may be absolutely capable of providing the results you desire, the likelihood of satisfaction with my work is greater. When choosing a surgeon, their fees should be relatively low on your list of considerations. After all, your peace of mind, your self-esteem, and your quality of life are far more valuable than any dollar amount that could be saved by choosing a surgeon with a less-than-impeccable reputation, unimpressive work, or a hasty approach to the initial consultation.
Meanwhile, it is absolutely essential to have a basic understanding of the other factors that can have a significant influence on the cost of breast augmentation. One of the most significant is your choice of breast implant.
Saline, Silicone Gel, and Cohesive Silicone Breast Implants
Breast implants provide the increase in size and shape of the breasts achieved during breast augmentation surgery. They are available in a range of sizes and shapes, and contain one of three materials:
Saline: Implants containing a saltwater solution typically cost about $1,000 a pair. The primary advantage of saline implants is that they are the simplest to replace in the event of a rupture, since the saline is absorbed harmlessly into the body. Your doctor can fill a saline implant after it has been placed, which can require a smaller incision than using an implant that must be filled beforehand. Despite these advantages, many feel that saline implants do not feel as natural as implants containing silicone gel.
Silicone: Implants containing silicone gel can cost about $2,000 per pair. In addition to providing what many patients consider to be the most natural feel, they can be shaped like teardrops to provide further enhancement to the outward appearance of the breast. Choosing shaped implants instead of round implants can potentially add hundreds to the cost of surgery, but depending on your frame, your goals, and the recommendation of your surgeon, shaped implants can provide results that more than justify the added expense.
Cohesive Silicone: Cohesive silicone implants can cost more than $3,000 per pair. These implants are popularly known as "gummy bear implants" because their consistency is comparable to that of their namesake candy - pliable, but firm. These implants are always shaped to enhance the outward appearance of the breast. As a relatively new entry in the breast implant market, these implants are not as common as saline or silicone gel implants, but they are gaining popularity, especially in cases of breast reconstruction.
There is also a growing trend in using fat harvested from the patient's body instead of a breast implant. The cost of using fat grafting in breast augmentation varies dramatically because in addition to the cost of breast augmentation, the patient is also paying for liposuction. Depending upon the extent of liposuction needed, in addition to other factors, breast augmentation using fat grafting can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
Private Surgical Suites, Ambulatory Centers, and Hospitals
Surgery requires highly controlled conditions, including a sterile surgical venue, specially trained staff, and equipment used to ensure the patient's safety. I have used my own private surgical suites for years, and recently added a brand new facility. If your doctor has his or her own surgical suite, it is less expensive than the fees you might expect to pay if surgery was conducted in an ambulatory surgical center, or especially in a hospital. At the same time, you get the advantage of your surgeon having his or her own familiar staff on hand to assist and maintain patient safety.
Both a hospital and an ASC will typically charge according to the complexity of the procedure and the time needed to complete it.
Many surgeons choose to perform breast augmentation in ambulatory surgical centers (ASC). These modern care facilities are focused on providing a venue for outpatient procedures, or those that do not typically require an overnight stay, and are offering patients a much more economical alternative to having surgery performed in a hospital. Both a hospital and an ASC will typically charge according to the complexity of the procedure and the time needed to complete it. A recent study published in Health Affairs reported that in an ambulatory surgical center, patients pay $363 to $1,000 less per procedure than in a hospital.
The Cost of Breast Augmentation Recovery
The success of breast augmentation is largely dependent upon the patient's ability to follow the surgeon's instructions for recovery. Following surgery at most practices, this usually involves taking a week or more off from work, refraining from exercise or any strenuous physical activity, wearing special support garments, and attending follow-up examinations.
I created the Mini-incision Rapid Recovery Breast Augmentation technique that allows patients to return to everyday activities - including going to work and driving - within a very short 24-hour period. One of the only restrictions during that time is exercise. Ninety-five percent of my patients can actually lift their arms above their heads immediately after surgery. This is practically unheard of, and a major step forward in enhancement of breast augmentation. It's also important to note that 91 percent of my patients need only minimal over-the-counter pain medication following surgery.
Traditional breast augmentation surgery requires more downtime, and because time truly is money, this idle time does incur unique expenses. For example, you will have to miss work, which means either sacrificing vacation time or wages. Meanwhile, if you have young children, you may have to pay for additional childcare, since your mobility and the amount of physical activity you can perform will be limited.
A virtually universal requirement of breast augmentation recovery is wearing a special support bra, which I provide for a fee of $40.
Breast Implant Revision
By staying true to your personal goals and selecting the best possible plastic surgeon, you can expect to experience many years of satisfaction with the results of your breast augmentation surgery. But because the body changes as you age, and because breast implants are not indestructible, there is a good chance that anyone who undergoes breast augmentation surgery will require a revision surgery for one reason or another at some point in their lives.
Breast implant manufacturers such as Mentor®, Allergan, and Sientra® offer limited warranties that can replace an implant in the event of a rupture, and cover a good portion of the surgical expenses. However, these do not apply in cases of capsular contracture, a condition in which the scar tissue that develops around a breast implant begins to constrict, distorting the shape of the implant. It is not exactly known what causes capsular contracture, though strong evidence suggests that a procedure performed by an experienced surgeon in a sterile surgical venue can minimize the risk of this condition developing.
Other needs for revision surgery are inevitable, regardless of the longevity of breast implants. Skin loses elasticity as we age, and eventually the breasts will begin to sag and lose youthful firmness. Unfortunately, this holds as true for breast augmentation patients as anyone else. As a result, many patients eventually choose to undergo a breast lift, or a breast lift combined with breast augmentation. The average surgeon's fees associated with a breast lift alone are about $4,200, or about 12% more than the average surgeon's fees associated with breast augmentation. Again, this figure does not include the price of anesthesia, facility fees, and other expenses. If you choose to combine a breast lift with breast augmentation, there will be additional fees for new breast implants.
In general, it is wise for anyone considering breast augmentation surgery to expect that at some point, they will require revision surgery. Furthermore, it is important to understand that by choosing to undergo an initial breast augmentation, you are essentially committing to the expense of an additional surgery in the future.
Your Surgeon's Geographic Location
If you live in a major metropolitan area, or plan to travel to one to receive treatment from a specific surgeon, you can expect to pay more than if you underwent surgery in a less populated area. This is basically a reflection of overhead costs, or the cost of real estate, utilities, staff (who must in turn earn a salary that allows them to maintain a certain standard of living in their area), and other expenses. I have offices in Manhattan, Woodbury, and Southampton, New York - three areas with some of the highest costs of living in the United States - and to a degree, this is reflected in the cost of my services.
When undergoing breast augmentation, you will need anesthesia to maintain your comfort. I only offer breast augmentation performed under general sedation (complete sedation and inability to feel pain), though some other practices offer breast augmentation under intravenous (IV) sedation (moderate sedation and inability to feel pain). I always include the anesthesia fees in the total price of surgery, though some practices charge by the hour. In order to maintain the absolute highest standards of safety, I always have a board-certified anesthesiologist administer anesthesia. If the practice you choose charges an hourly anesthesia fee, an anesthesiologist can cost $400 or more per hour. In some instances, you may have the option of having a nurse administer anesthesia, which usually carries rates of about $300 an hour.
When surgeon's fees, breast implants, operating facility fees, anesthesia, and all other expenses are compounded, it often reaches totals between $5,000 and $10,000, if not more. Many women who desire breast augmentation do not have this amount of money at their immediate disposal, but if they decide that now is the right time to undergo the procedure, it becomes necessary to consider financing options. Practices almost always accept credit cards, but patients should spend time weighing the associated interest rates against other options. For example, there are several third-party financing companies that deal exclusively with those who want or need treatments that are not typically covered by insurance. Among plastic surgery practices, there is also a growing trend in which the practice itself will offer reasonable financing options.
Before finalizing a decision about how to finance surgery, patients should spend plenty of time thinking about what it will take to reach their personal goals, in terms of choosing the very best available surgeon, selecting the right kind of breast implants, taking time away from work, and other factors. Once you have obtained an estimate of what you can expect to pay to reach your goals, if the total looks intimidating, I encourage you not to compromise. Instead, find a financing plan that places the cost of your goals comfortably within your budget. After all, it is clearly more economical and rewarding to receive a beautiful enhancement that provides many years of satisfaction than to compromise your goals, feel unhappy with the results, and either suffer with those results or pay for an additional surgery.
Budgeting for Breast Augmentation
When you consider the boosted self-esteem, increased optimism, and generally improved quality of life you can experience when you feel great about your appearance, the old adage about beauty being only skin deep begins to lose some significance. If you are dissatisfied with the size or shape of your breasts, and you feel ready to undergo breast surgery to achieve the figure you desire, it's never too early to begin exploring your options and defining your goals.
The most important thing to remember as you begin contemplating your budget is that it is impossible to arrive at an accurate estimate until you have consulted with a surgeon. No two breast augmentation surgeries are exactly the same, and therefore each procedure carries a unique price tag. Of course, once you have obtained one or more estimates, the most important thing to remember is to choose the options that are most likely to provide you with long-term satisfaction. Find out what it will cost to have the best surgeon provide the options you really want, and conduct ample research to determine how to place that cost within your budget.
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