You know you want breast augmentation surgery, and now you are shopping for the best price. Wouldn’t it be nice to not drive all over town and simply make a few calls? Unfortunately, it’s not the same as shopping the best price for a car battery (or fortunately as the case may be when deciding to allow someone to put you to sleep, make a couple incisions and place a foreign object inside your body). There is a reason that plastic surgery is not available for bidding on eBay.
Despite its popularity and despite the fact that it’s elective and therefore feels less “medical,” breast augmentation surgery is just that – surgery. It is highly individualized and unique dependent on the patient. Beware of the doc who advertises breast surgery like a carpet clearance sale… only $1,999!
If that’s not enough of an explanation for you, here are a few other possible reasons that surgeons are hesitant to give you a price without an exam.
1) You May Need More Surgery
– Asymmetry, Tuberous Breast Deformity, Breast Lift
2) Pricing Extends Beyond the Surgeon’s Fee
3) You’re Dealing with a “Bait and Switch” Plastic Surgeon
4) The Plastic Surgeon’s office is sizing you up, and figuring out how much money you have
You May Need More Surgery
A plastic surgeon can and should be able to generate an accurate price for a breast augmentation. However, I always have to examine you first, because I have to make sure that you’re a good candidate for surgery.
If you have asymmetric breasts with different volumes, then I may have to put different size/ different volume breast implants. Usually I put in the same identical breast implants in most patients. If you need 2 different sizes or profiles, then I need to use temporary breast implant sizers in the operating room, figure out the best volume and profile for you, and then place a different implant on each side. This volume sizing takes time- not much time, but it can take 15-30 minutes more. This will increase the cost of surgery.
Some women have “tuberous breast deformity” or “tubular breast deformity.” This is when your breasts do not develop normally and have excess skin at the top of the breast, tight skin at the bottom of the breast, and a larger than average areola that’s puffy. This type of problem requires a breast augmentation as well as additional surgery in the breast tissue under the areola.
If you need a breast lift, then this is an additional procedure and will take more surgery time to complete. If your nipple position is at or below your breast fold, then no breast implant will generate enough “lift” of your nipple to place the nipple areolar complex (called NAC by us nerds) in the central portion of your breast. You need some type of breast lift to accomplish this.
Pricing Extends Beyond Surgeon’s Fee
Prices generally include
– The surgical fee, the operating room fee, the anesthesia fee, the price of the breast implants
There may also be other fees, which may or may not be included. For example, I usually do not have a separate fee for a pain pump or surgical bra, but some plastic surgeon may choose to list it separately. Generally, all post-surgery visits are not billed, but some plastic surgeons may choose to bill you after 6 months have passed since your surgery. Antibiotics and pain pills by mouth are generally the responsibility of the patient, but since most patients have health insurance, the health insurance pharmacy benefits will usually cover the cost of these medications.
You’re Dealing with a “Bait and Switch” Plastic Surgeon
I hate to admit it, but some of my colleagues are more mercenary than me. Also, it may be a reflection of the office staff, and not necessarily the plastic surgeon. They might give out a lower fee over the phone to entice you to come in for a consultation, only to have it double after the consultation in the office.
I don’t know what to say about that. I think it’s pretty rare, and I’d love to hear stories or comments about any plastic surgeons that actually have this practice.
The Plastic Surgeon’s Office is Sizing You Up, and Figuring Out How Much Money You Have
Again, sad but true. I strive to maintain consistent pricing, because I want to treat people honestly. Also, when I make a patient happy, they will probably refer their friends and family members, who will hopefully have surgery with me as their plastic surgeon, and also, will know the price that the original patient paid for their procedure!
And the old cliché is true- You can’t judge a book by its cover. I have been surprised too often in the past about the appearance of patients and their ability to pay for surgery. Some of the most glamorous people in the world don’t really have two nickels to rub together. Likewise, some pretty modest looking folks have undergone a complete cosmetic overhaul – and paid in cash.
If you’d like more information on breast augmentation, please contact my Patient Care Coordinator, Caroline, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415 362 1846. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.