Cost is one of the largest contributing factors in the decision for someone to pursue cosmetic surgery. Price can often be an important differentiating factor to consider when comparing surgeons. A surgeon’s expertise specific to the procedure you are interested in, the quality of their results, and photos demonstrating high-quality results can often be reflected in a higher price. If a particular surgeon is more expensive but you appreciate their opinion and results more than another, speak with their office coordinator to review payment options. Be very wary of free consultations as these are often not thorough enough for the provider to give you a full education on a procedure. Proper knowledge is essential for making an appropriate, informed decision regarding surgery. Prices range from $6,000 on the very low end, to above $20,000 for very experienced high-quality surgeons on Park Avenue.
What Impacts the Cost of a Breast Augmentation?
The cost of a breast augmentation procedure can vary depending on several factors. One major factor would be geography. The larger the city (New York City for example), the greater the density of plastic surgeons. Board-certified plastic surgeons look to stand out by obtaining the highest level of training available within their field. A surgeon with advanced training and a well-established practice will often be more costly than a junior surgeon without the same credentials. Many warm-weather cities are known for offering inexpensive plastic surgery. While there are qualified providers in those places, it is important to research the implications of seeking surgery away from home – downtime, hotel/travel expenses, and what would happen in the case of any complication. Another aspect of surgery that can affect the cost is the associated surgical center and anesthesia fees. These are usually billed based on time in surgery, so how effectively a surgeon can achieve the desired result within a certain time constraint is a consideration. The average, uncomplicated breast augmentation typically takes around one to two hours. Lastly, the type of practice the plastic surgeon maintains can affect cost. For example, a surgeon seeing many more patients within a given day with less time and attention per patient can charge less due to volume. In this case, patients may often be seen by a lower-level provider (PA, RN) for many of their post-operative follow-up visits. On the contrary, some surgeons prefer to minimize patient overload to allow each patient a large amount of individualized care, and that type of extra attention comes at a higher cost.
Does Insurance Cover Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Traditional breast augmentation surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure. If breast augmentation is being performed as part of reconstruction after mastectomy, it is considered medically necessary and likely covered by insurance. It is important to understand the nuances of insurance such as in-network vs out of network providers, payment schedules, and how your surgeon will plan to bill the insurance company. Insurance companies can also review claims within a certain time after surgery and recuperate any funds paid that are subsequently deemed frivolous. If you have questions about insurance coverage for any component of your surgery, discuss them with your surgeon’s coordinator. Never agree to proceed with surgery without being ready and able to pay for the full quoted amount, in the event of a billing dispute with the insurance company.
What Does Breast Augmentation Surgery Involve?
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that changes the size or shape of the breasts using techniques such as implant placement or fat transfer.
Breast augmentation can offer a new aesthetic, renewed confidence after pregnancy, improvements after a weight loss journey, or restored breasts after a mastectomy. Your options depend on the desired outcome and lifestyle considerations. Here are a few important items to consider.
Breast augmentation uses either saline or silicone implants, and different implant materials yield different results.
Silicone implants are the most popular option and are often preferred to saline for their more natural look and feel. They also usually require slightly larger incision sites than saline options, and ruptures can be more difficult to detect without an MRI.
Saline implant insertion sites are generally smaller, and ruptures are more easily detected. Some people also find saline implants to be less natural-looking on the average person and can sometimes show wrinkles or ripples over time.
Implants come in two standard shapes: round and teardrop. Round implants are the most common and provide the most upper fullness. Teardrop implants are less common due to their specific use and risk of mispositioning within the breast pocket. A thorough evaluation and discussion of your goals will be key in determining which shape may suit you best.
In most patients, breast implants are placed between or behind the pectoral muscles (or subpectoral placement). For certain patients with specific anatomy, they may also be placed above the muscles behind the breast tissue (sub-glandular placement).
Several factors determine how to best approach your breast augmentation with implants. Sub-glandular implant surgery is more straightforward and has a less painful recovery. But there’s a tradeoff—these implants may look and feel less natural. An athletic patient, for example, may benefit from this approach due to the level of dynamic muscular activity they experience regularly.
On the other hand, subpectoral implants create natural-looking breasts with less risk of visible aspects of the breast implant. They are also good for patients worried about how their implants will hold up over time: implants placed behind pectoral muscles fall more naturally into the breast pocket and show less obvious rippling.
Your incision location is decided based on your recommended implant type and size, your anatomy, and any concern about preserving nipple sensation.
Breast augmentation is typically done via an incision hidden within your natural breast fold or the nipple. This approach is discreet, also makes placement more direct, and limits time spent during surgery. Some patients, however, are better candidates for incisions along the bottom of the areola.
Natural breast enhancement—also known as fat transfer— increases your breast volume and gives you enhanced breasts using your tissue. Candidacy for this procedure depends on a patient’s specific anatomy and only a thorough evaluation with your board-certified plastic surgeon can make that decision.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Maman
The first step to schedule a consultation would be doing thorough research. There are many ways to find a plastic surgeon. Arguably the best way would be to receive a referral from another physician, such as primary care, dermatologist, or OB-GYN. These providers often see multiple patients with good results and can attest to those by referring their patients somewhere. Friends are a secondarily good referral source, especially if they are patients themselves. When it comes to advertising, the most essential consideration is the plastic surgeon’s education, board certification ONLY by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and before/after gallery. If those components match your desired outcome, then they would be a good source of information to seek in consultation. You will often come across taglines such as “no downtime surgery” or “no anesthesia required”. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are no shortcuts to SAFE plastic surgery.
The next step would be contacting the office of a board-certified plastic surgeon to find a time to meet them. First impressions last a lifetime, so pay attention when speaking to the receptionist upon calling. Should you decide to have surgery, this is the team you will be dealing with multiple times per month for at least a year. The administrative team directly reflects the surgeon’s ways of working. Another thing to clarify would be a potential timeline for surgery. This is sometimes best done before reaching out to qualified providers because they are booked one to six months out, on average. Knowing well enough in advance will give you adequate time to interview surgeons, get any preoperative lab work done, and feel confident moving forward with your scheduled procedure.