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How much do breast implants cost?

The cost of breast augmentation varies widely.  Factors to consider include the surgeon's skill and experience, the area of the country where the surgery is performed, whether the surgery takes place in an ambulatory surgery center or in a hospital, the type of implant that is used, the placement of the implant and what type of anesthesia is used.  Costs include the surgeon fee, implant cost, the hospital or surgery center fee, anesthesia, operating room fee and post-surgical expenses (i.e. prescription medication, post-surgery garments).

When choosing a plastic surgeon it is important to meet with and interview several candidates.  Each surgeon will be able to provide you with a quote for the total cost of the procedure.  Keep in mind that you should not base your decision on which surgeon to choose solely on the quote they provide.  It is important that you not only choose a board certified plastic surgeon, but one with whom you feel the most comfortable.

Fees associated with breast implant surgery

When assessing the cost of breast implant surgery, make sure to ask for a detailed and inclusive quote from your surgeon.  The total cost of breast implant surgery can range from $5,000 to $15,000.  The average total cost is approximately $7,100.  Below find the breakdown of the procedure costs/fees:

Surgeon Fee –The surgeon fee is one of the most variable costs of breast implant surgery and is based on surgeon training, skill, experience and geographic location.  The more experienced the surgeon, the higher the surgeon fee.  The surgeon fee is also higher than average in certain geographical locations, such as New York and Los Angeles where the demand for breast implant surgery is high.  The surgeon fee typically makes up 60-80% of the total cost of breast implant surgery and ranges from approximately $3,000 to $4,000.

Implant Cost – The cost of breast implants also varies.  Silicone implants, which are filled with a gel-like material resembling natural breast tissue, are more expensive than the alternative saline implant options.  Although more firm to the touch, saline implants consist of a salt-water solution which more closely resembles the fluid that makes up the human body.  The price disparity between these two types of implants is typically a few hundred dollars.  One thing to note is that many manufacturers provide warranties on their breast implants.  These warranties typically cover a 10-year time period and also provide some assistance for the surgical charges if revision surgery becomes necessary (which would not be covered by insurance). The cost of implants ranges from approximately $1,000 to $1,300.

Type of surgery – Another consideration is the type of surgery that will be performed, more specifically the incision type and implant placement.  Some techniques are easier to perform, take less time and are therefore less costly.  Types of breast implant surgery include subglandular (implant is placed under the breast tissue but above the pectoral muscle), partial submuscular (implant is placed under breast tissue and partially under pectoral muscle) and full submuscular (implant is placed under the pectoral muscle).  There are pros and cons to each technique and factors such as the patient’s physical characteristics and the surgeon’s preference should guide this decision.  Costs associated with the type of surgery are usually covered under the surgeon fee and facility fee.

Hospital / Surgery Center Fee – Where the surgery takes place also affects the overall cost of breast implant surgery.   Although costs are somewhat uniform across the United States, in areas where the cost of living is high, the cost of implant surgery will typically also be higher (such as New York and Los Angeles).  The facility fee (also known as the operating room fee) ranges from approximately $800 to $1,200.

Anesthesia Fee – The cost of anesthesia depends on what type of anesthesia is used.  If general anesthesia is used (where the patient is completely asleep) the cost will be higher.  If a local anesthetic is used (where the patient is awake but sedated), the cost will be less. The anesthesia fee typically ranges from $600 to $800.

Post-Surgical Expenses – There are many post-surgical expenses to consider such as pain medication, dressings, ice packs and post-surgical garments.  There are also post-operative doctor appointments that you may need to consider.  Make sure to discuss this with your surgeon prior to the procedure so that you will have an understanding of all of the post-operative plans and associated expenses, which can vary greatly but typically range from $25-$400.

Financing your breast implant surgery

Breast implant surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure and is typically not covered by insurance.  That means that all costs associated with the procedure will be out of pocked costs for the patient.  Due to the high cost of the procedure, there are many patients who are not able to pay up front.  For these patients, there are typically many financing options available.  Financing options are often offered through affiliate services offered by the physician’s office which allow the patient to minimize upfront costs and make payments over time.  Speak to your surgeon about the financing options available to you.