Breast augmentation is among the most popular and commonly-performed plastic surgery procedures in the United States and abroad.
U.S. women spent $1.5-Billion on breast augmentation surgery in 2021, making up 15% of the $14.6-Billion USD spent on plastic surgery that year, when breast augmentation was the second most popular procedure.
But what does that mean to a single female patient?
How much will her breast augmentation surgery cost?
At what price does breast augmentation become dangerously inexpensive because it compromises safety?
And how much is too much to pay for breast augmentation?
That’s where we’re going here and we’re going to answer every question you have on it.
But first, what is (and isn’t) breast augmentation anyway?
During an outpatient surgical procedure that can be done within as few as one to two hours, FDA-cleared implants of either saline or silicone that range in size anywhere from 125cc to 800cc (with 350-400cc being the most popular) are placed under or above the pectoralis major muscle of the adult female.
“Breast augmentation” is usually not used to describe any other procedure but one where saline or silicone breast implants are placed. If a patient’s own fat will be used to “augment the breasts,” it is referred to as a “fat transfer breast augmentation.”
The official cost of breast augmentation surgery
Four different official sources provide cost estimates for breast augmentation surgery in the United States.
We will dive into each of these sources to help you arrive as closely as possible to the dollar amount you can expect to pay for the procedure.
That detailed coverage is below.
The simplistic answer is that your breast augmentation will usually cost between $7,000 and $15,000.
Cost of breast augmentation at a glance
|RealSelf, Patient Provided Prices||$6,575, according to 42,915 patients|
|ASPS Annual Report (2020; latest available)||$4,516 average surgeon’s fee|
|Aesthetic Society Annual Report (2021, latest available)||$4,235 average surgeon’s fee|
|American Board of Cosmetic Surgery||$3,000 – $12,000 national range|
Patient’s cost of breast augmentation surgery
Patients can expect to pay anywhere from $7,000 – $15,000 for breast augmentation surgery.
This figure is slightly higher than some of the official statistics provided above for a good reason: Published by professional societies, those statistics reflect only the surgeon’s fee for the procedure.
That means other costs, that are a part of all breast augmentation surgeries, have been left out of the calculations.
Other fees involved in breast augmentation surgery
For instance, when going for a breast augmentation, the patient will be charged for the implants, for the operating room, any hospital fees, the anesthesiologist, and any medications.
These costs are all borne by the patient and it would be inaccurate to assume you will be paying the low fee of $4,516 for a breast augmentation surgery.
There likely isn’t a board-certified plastic surgeon in the nation who would be able to safely perform a breast augmentation surgery at that price.
Breast augmentation prices that are too low, and breast augmentation prices that are boldly used as the focus for advertisement (such as on social media) are each red flags.
These price-based advertisements are most popular when cosmetic surgeons (who aren’t board-certified in plastic surgery) use a low price point as buy-now or incentive for female patients.
The unfortunate reality is that if two surgeons are providing the same surgery at very different price points, the cheaper of the two surgeons is likely omitting that many thousand dollars worth of standard safety protocol.
And while serious complications are fairly rare when it comes to breast augmentation, they aren’t unheard of.
Breakdown of costs involved in breast augmentation surgery
Plastic surgery patients will bear the cost of the many aspects of a breast augmentation surgery, some of which are:
- Your surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or ambulatory surgical center fee
- The actual breast implants
- Anesthesia fees
- Recovery garments and recovery period care
- Pain medication
1. Your surgeon’s fee:
This is the portion of the total amount you pay that actually goes toward paying your surgeon and his or her practice for doing your surgery.
2. Hospital or surgical center fees:
This is the portion of the total amount you pay for breast augmentation that goes toward using the hospital facilities required by the surgeon to do your breast augmentation in. Surgeons that have in-house AAACH-accredited ambulatory surgical centers could seemingly offer a lower rate (since they aren’t paying hospital fees), but these surgeons understandably instead raise their fees, since the costs involved in operating and upkeep an accredited ambulatory surgical center are not small.
3. The cost of the breast implants:
The saline-filled or silicone gel breast implants that your surgeon uses are paid for separately. Saline-filled implants (which are the less popular of the two available options) typically cost $1,000 – $1,500 in total. Silicone or silicone gel breast implants typically cost $1,600 – $2,500 in total.
4. Anesthesia fees:
One of the most important members of your surgical team is your anesthesiologist. Just like your surgeon, your anesthesiologist should also be board-certified. That professional, and the anesthetic used to prepare you for a pain-free surgery, needs to be paid/paid for.
The cost of this service runs anywhere from $800 – $1,500, and it’s an expense you don’t want to try to get around. Great surgeons use great anesthesiologists, period.
Anesthesia is an entirely unique subspeciality and it should absolutely be performed by a licensed and board-certified anesthesiologist.
5. Recovery & Medication:
Various recovery garments and medications may need to be paid for out-of-pocket and while this is a small cost in comparison to the other fees listed here, it is a cost that again falls on the patient to take care of.
Does health insurance cover breast implants?
When breast augmentation is done for cosmetic purposes (i.e., when you do it to have larger, nicer, or different breasts), it is not covered by health or medical insurance.
Cosmetic breast augmentation falls into a class of medical procedure defined as “elective.”
This means the insurance provider has determined the procedure serves only cosmetic or vanity purposes and is not necessary for the correction or resolution of a medical condition.
In short, health insurance does not cover the cost of breast implants or breast augmentation, unless the procedure is being done for reconstructive purposes, such as after a medically necessary mastectomy.
Financing your breast augmentation surgery
Because it is such a booming and profitable business, plastic surgery has its own financial providers.
Patients aren’t required to use any one of these providers exclusively, but it is usually beneficial to both the patient and the provider, since these companies have suited their entire operation toward providing financing of this nature.
These providers include Care Credit and Alpheon, LendingUSA, United Medical Credit, and Prosper.
Other avenues worth pursuing are bank loans, and bank-provided credit cards.
Buyer beware: Breast augmentation financing (“0% APR for XX Months” and “Promotional Offers”)
Patients should be esepecially aware of the fact that many medical credit card providers offer an inviting plan that has one large caveat, or danger.
If you’ve ever bought furniture and received financing to do so, you may be familiar with the concept.
It is: Lenders provide you a line of credit that sounds great but is actually tied to a future date where any unpaid amount RETROACTIVELY incurs interest fees on the ENTIRE AMOUNT LOANED.
This setup is great, if you pay back the full amount on time.
Should you, for whatever reason, be unable to pay off the full loan amount within the agreed upon period, you will be charged interest not only on the unpaid portion, but on the entire amount that you borrowed.
To avoid this:
- Always read the fine print of any financing contract you sign for plastic surgery.
- Be very sure you understand the words and abbreviations used in the contract.
- Be sure to only accept as large a line of credit as you can comfortably deal with
- Be sure to pay back the full amount borrowed before its due date.