Cost is naturally a factor in your decision to have a cosmetic surgical procedure. When it comes to breast implants, women today have a variety of options. The cost of breast implant surgery can vary widely, depending in part on the type of implants you choose and on your individually-tailored breast enhancement surgical plan.
Costs of breast implant surgery are widely varied throughout the nation. There are three basic components of most surgical quotes: the surgeon’s fee, the anesthesia fee, and the facility (operating room fee). In breast implant procedures, the cost of the implant must be factored in as well. The surgeon’s fee varies with the surgeon’s level of experience, the extent of his or her training, as well as the location of the practice. Geography and the quality of the surgical facility are likely the most significant factors in determining the operating room and anesthesia fees.
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Silicone gel-filled implants can cost significantly more than saline implants. They have a more natural feel and are available in a round shape and in a teardrop shape.
Cohesive silicone implants are nicknamed for gummy bears – the candy their consistency resembles. They are pliable but firm and shaped to enhance the outward appearance of the breast. Gummy bear implants are often more costly than standard silicone or saline implants.
Each of these components will vary according to a number of factors. So let’s look at each one in a little bit more detail. Now, the first component of the cost of a breast augmentation that we mentioned is the surgeon’s fee. And this is what you’re paying for the actual surgeon’s work. And things that go into determining the surgeon’s fee are essentially the complexity of the case, how difficult is the individual case? What are the anatomical characteristics of the case? And what will the surgeon need to do to achieve an excellent result?
For example, a breast augmentation in a young, healthy 25 year old woman, who’s never smoked and has never had any kind of breast surgery before is going to be relatively more straightforward than a breast augmentation in a much older woman who perhaps has a history of smoking and maybe has had breast implants in the past or other breast surgery. The second case is going to require a lot more complexity and technical maneuvering to achieve the desired outcome than the first one. So you could expect that the second kind of case would cost more than the first one from the perspective of the surgeon’s fee for that breast augmentation.
So in addition to characteristics pertaining to the patient, there are also characteristics of the surgeon that go into determining what the surgeon’s fee is. And these specifically would be things like the surgeon’s training. Did they train at a top notch institution? Did they do a fellowship in breast surgery or aesthetic surgery after residency? And ultimately, and this is probably the most important thing, are they board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? So as you might imagine, as the level of training of the surgeon goes up and their degree of certification and memberships in professional societies go up, their costs may go up.
Another characteristic of a surgeon that would go into the cost of a breast augmentation is that surgeon’s experience. How long have they been performing this procedure? What kind of volume are they performing? Is this someone that does one or two breast augmentations a year, or is this someone that performs several breast augmentations a week? And it makes sense that the more experienced someone is with breast augmentation, the more of them that they’re performing, this would often contribute to a higher cost of breast augmentation.
And then the last thing that contributes to the cost of breast implants from the perspective of the surgeon’s fee would be the reputation of that surgeon. And this is a little bit more nebulous. How does a surgeon gain a reputation? It’s a combination of word of mouth, in today’s world it’s online reviews. And even there might be an element of celebrity. Is this a surgeon that’s known for performing operations on famous people? And all of these things really can, again, contribute to making the surgeon’s fee more expensive in the context of a breast augmentation.
So moving on from the surgeon’s fee, the next thing that will contribute to the cost of getting breast implants or a breast augmentation procedure is the anesthesia fee. And this is essentially what you’re paying for the anesthesia as part of your breast augmentation. And this also kind of has a few different components. And the first one is where is this operation being performed? Is it being performed in a hospital or is it being performed in a private surgical office or surgery center?
And it’s fairly consistent that when operations are performed in hospitals, the anesthesia fee tends to be more expensive and that can be chalked up to a number of factors. But essentially hospitals have many moving parts and it simply costs more to get all of these things working together, to provide anesthesia for a given operation. And all this is interesting because it kind of flies in the face of the notion that when you’re paying more for something it’s better. I would argue that you’re often better off having a breast augmentation in a private surgical center, a private office, than you would be in a hospital. And this is something that I do in my practice, almost all of the breast augmentations that I perform are done in my private office with its private surgical center.
And a private surgical center really does have several advantages over a hospital for an operation like a breast augmentation, or really most cosmetic procedures. And what I mean by this is that in a private surgical center, I know exactly who my team is every time, I’m using my instruments, and it’s my protocols that are being followed to a T. Whereas in the setting of a hospital where there are a lot more patients and a lot more staff and a lot of different operations being performed outside the realm of cosmetic surgery or aesthetic surgery, there’s just going to be more variability. And the surgeon ultimately has less control over the environment.
The other thing going into determining the anesthesia fee is who is performing the anesthesia. When I do my breast augmentations in all of my aesthetic surgery procedures, I only work with board-certified anesthesiologists. In some instances you might be having your anesthesia delivered by a certified registered nurse anesthetist, and these are not physicians. So they may be less expensive than having a physician perform your anesthesia.
And the last thing that goes into determining the anesthesia fee is the length of the case. And like with so many other things, time is money. And the more of an anesthesiologist’s time that we’re going to be using to perform a case, the more they’re going to charge. So you can expect that a relatively straightforward primary breast augmentation in a young, healthy person is going to take less time than a complicated secondary breast augmentation in an older person who’s had breast implants before and is going to require more time for their surgery because it is more complicated.
The next component of the price of a breast augmentation is what is often referred to as the facility fee. And what this is referring to is how much does it cost to actually be in the operating room? And just being in the operating room does incur cost because we’re using a lot of different supplies, many of which are disposable so we have to buy new ones for each case. And alternatively, the supplies that are not disposable need to be sterilized and processed between cases. And all of these things have costs associated with them.
And just like with anesthesia, the location of where you’re having your operation is going to play a large role in determining the cost of the facility fee for a breast augmentation. And just like in the case of the anesthesia fee, hospitals are going to tend to be a lot more expensive for the facility fee than a private office is. And this again often comes down to the fact that when we’re talking about a private surgical center for breast augmentation, it tends to be a much leaner operation where we have a lot more control over keeping costs down as opposed to a hospital, which often is run by a large corporation, which in many different contexts is less efficient and has higher costs.
And just like when we were talking about the anesthesia fee, the length of the operation has a great deal to do with the cost of the facility fee. For the simple reason that the longer you’re in the operating room, the more of many of the materials that we’re going to be using. And this is also going to increase the cost of a breast augmentation. And there are a few other things that go into a facility fee. They may also be listed separately on a surgical quote, but they are often bundled into a facility fee. So it’s important to keep an eye out for these things. So you really want to ask about what is included in the facility fee. And these are items like a surgical garment, is your breast augmentation going to include the surgical bra that your surgeon is likely going to want you to wear it after the procedure?
And in some instances, either you’ll want to, or your surgeon will want you to spend the evening in their surgical facility after your procedure. I mean, this is very unusual in the case of a breast augmentation, because it tends to be a fairly straightforward in and out, day procedure. But in the instance where an overnight state is required, this is often something that’s going to cost more and contribute to a facility fee.
So these are all of the different variables that go into determining how much a breast augmentation is going to cost. And then there’s one last very important thing that is going to kind of affect all of these numbers in all of these different categories. And that is geography. So if you’re having your breast augmentation in a major metropolitan area, it’s going to cost more than if you’re having your breast augmentation in a smaller community. Now that’s a bit of a generalization, but overall it does tend to hold true. So if you’re having your breast augmentation in New York City or your breast augmentation in LA, or your breast implants in Miami, that’s generally going to make things more expensive.
In terms of specific numbers, I’ll speak to what a breast augmentation costs in New York City, because that’s where I practice so it’s something I’m able to speak to very directly. And the truth is that there’s a very wide range of pricing of breast augmentation in New York City and nearby areas. You can really probably find kind of bargain pricing on breast implants and get them done for as little as about $6,500. And then as you start going to more experienced people that are known for truly excellent results, you’ll probably be paying more in the range of $13,000 to $15,000. So I know that that’s a very broad range, and that’s why it’s important to speak to your surgeon and speak to a few different surgeons and get a sense of who you are most comfortable with from many different perspectives, including pricing. And I’d refer you back to an earlier episode on how to choose your plastic surgeon, and hopefully all of this comes together so that you can make an informed decision on who is the best breast augmentation surgeon for you.
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How much does breast augmentation cost? There are four different components that go into determining what the price of a breast augmentation is going to be. We’ll go through each of them here to give you a better sense of what you can expect when you’re looking at the pricing of breast augmentation and breast implants. So the four things that go into determining the cost of a breast augmentation are what’s called the surgeon’s fee, then there’s an anesthesia fee, a facility fee, and then the cost of the breast implants themselves. Now, when you’re looking at a surgical quote from a doctor’s office, these things might have different names, but more or less, these are what you can expect to see on that quote for breast augmentation.
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