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 $10,000 on the very low end, to above $30,000 for very experienced high-quality surgeons on Park Avenue.
What factors impact how much a breast reduction costs?
The cost of a breast reduction 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 reduction surgery?
Conservative breast reduction surgery is often considered a cosmetic procedure. If breast reduction is being performed as part of your treatment for persistent medical issues, it may be considered medically necessary and therefore 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 should I expect during a breast reduction?
Surgical breast reduction may employ any of the following techniques, which are similar to those used in breast lifts:
An incision is made from the breast fold to the nipple-areolar complex, in a circle around the areola, and terminated at the breast fold to make a keyhole shape. The amount of reduction desired will determine the width of the keyhole. This is called a keyhole or lollipop incision.
Three separate incisions (a circular one around the areola, a vertical one from the areola to your breast fold, and one horizontally along your breast fold) are connected to allow for the removal of a large amount of tissue and skin. This is called an anchor or T-incision. The length of the horizontal fold incision depends on the amount of skin excess in the inferior pole of the breast.
Liposuction can be used as needed with any of the techniques above to remove excess fatty tissue.
After the incisions are made and excisions are completed, the remaining skin and breast tissue is repositioned and sutured in place to support the new shape. The areolas are reshaped (if needed) and reattached higher on the breast, and then the incisions are closed.
Breast composition and the amount of reduction desired determine the technique used in surgery.
How much smaller will my chest be after surgery?
Dr. Maman does not recommend reducing your breasts by more than three full cup sizes (for example, going from a DDD to C). While some women with extreme macromastia may want a larger reduction, removing too much breast tissue reduces the blood supply to the nipple and risks its survival.
A note about breast lifts
Every breast reduction includes a breast lift. A breast lift is essentially the same operation as a breast reduction. A breast lift alone results in an inherent reduction of breast volume of about 10-15%. In a breast reduction, the quantity is titrated upwards based on the patient’s post-operative size objective.
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 to contact 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.