How Much Should You Pay for Breast Augmentation?
by Cosmetics Expert Mike Dune
Each year, hundreds of thousands of U.S. women search for the answer to the breast augmentation cost question, and most of them realize it’s awfully hard to find a straight answer until they actually visit a plastic surgeon. Despite the popularity of this cosmetic procedure and the abundance of information available online, it’s still tough to track down hard numbers. So how much should you pay? Use this primer to understand all the issues involved so you can get the best value, not just the best deal.
Understanding the Factors
Few plastic surgeons are eager to advertise their breast augmentation surgery costs online because they can vary considerably from case to case. According to the website of one surgeon, Dr. Josh Olson, who performs breast augmentation in the Scottsdale area, “Breast augmentation doesn’t come with a hard-and-fast price tag. Instead, the cost varies depending on the surgical technique used, the type of implants used, and even the geographic location of the surgery.” (for Dr Olson’s profile at LipoAdvisor click here).
Geography does seem to play a major role. RealSelf.com, an online forum for plastic surgery patients and providers, offers a helpful regional cost tool that provides an enlightening glimpse of the varying prices around the U.S. Notice how much more procedures tend to cost around metropolitan centers such as New York and Los Angeles compared with rural areas in the center of the country.
The average overall, according to RealSelf, is $6,450. That figure is based on patients’ reported costs, and it includes everything involved, from the surgeon’s fee to the anesthesia and operating room fees to the cost of the breast implants (silicone cost more than saline). However, it’s not uncommon for patients to spend more than $15,000 or less than $5,000 on a procedure.
Getting What You Pay For
One of the biggest variables in breast augmentation cost is the surgeon’s fee. Surgeons charge more or less depending on their level of experience, skill, and even notoriety. A breast augmentation surgeon generally becomes well known in the plastic surgery arena because of his or her results. A surgeon with more experience and dedicated plastic surgery training, who has a reputation for producing beautiful results is likely going to charge more than a less experienced surgeon, or a “cosmetic surgeon” who may have actually trained in another specialty altogether.
Patients have to ask themselves whether or not they are willing to pay more for a reputable, highly trained plastic surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation. Many decide that this peace of mind is well worth the added expense. For those who don’t want to pay a premium for the “big name,” surgeons, a more affordable option may be a promising young surgeon who doesn’t have as many years under his or her belt, but who has happy patients and a good safety record. And still others look for ways to save, sometimes choosing underqualified surgeons and putting their cosmetic results and health at risk.
One way many patients cut costs is by getting breast augmentation abroad from providers who do not practice under the same standards of care and safety as U.S. plastic surgeons. Scary news stories abound of patients contracting infections and coming home with bad scars and other woes, but the lure of a bargain fuels the flow of U.S. patients. Unfortunately, these trips, usually to Caribbean or Central and South American countries, often end up costing the patients far more in the long run, as they require medical care or even a revision surgery.
Making It Work for Your Budget
Once you do some regional research (both online and by meeting with surgeons in your area) and consider the safety factors, you will probably have a ballpark figure in mind. If that number seems like it might be tough on your budget, consider healthcare financing. Companies such as CareCredit® offer payment plans just like a credit card company, that are specifically for cosmetic surgery. Many U.S. surgeons accept such financing options, and most would agree that this is a much wiser choice than sacrificing your results or your safety just for a lower price tag.