Breast augmentation cost greatly varies from patient to patient, although using silicone implants instead of saline implants can make the surgery about $1,000 more expensive. The use of Exparel injection, pain pumps, and other supplemental devices that give patients a comfortable recovery can also add up to the price.
According to some Upland plastic surgery experts, as of this writing the average cost of breast augmentation is $6,500. However, some patients may expect to pay as high as $14,000 especially if they are having adjunct procedures (such as breast lift) and/or their surgeons cater to high-profile individuals.
Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of breast augmentation patients today are choosing silicone implants due to their more natural results and feel. But due to their higher manufacturing cost, they are more expensive than the saline implant, which are only inflated with a sterile salt and water.
Aside from the higher cost of silicone implants, they also entail MRI scan at least every two years to detect asymptomatic or “silent” leak. Most patients can expect to pay anywhere $1,000-$2,000, which most insurance issuers will not cover unless the patients have had their implants after a cancer surgery followed by breast reconstruction.
A regular MRI scan is not prerequisite for saline implants because in the event of leak the problem is immediately visible, with the affected breast appearing smaller than the other one.
Despite the lower cost of saline implants, their price should not influence the patient’s decision, especially if the goal is to achieve optimal results. It is important to note that women with little soft tissue to begin with are poor candidates for these implants because of the increased risk of palpability and rippling.
Aside from the upfront cost of surgery, patients who wish to augment their breasts with implants should expect revisions in the future. According to several studies, these medical devices can last an average of 10-15 years.
Most US breast implant manufacturers today offer 10-year or even lifetime product warranties. Nevertheless, the patient should still pay for other things such as anesthesiologist and surgeon’s fee, operating/recovery room fee, follow-up office visits, and postop supplies (dressings, painkillers, garments, etc.).
A prudent patient should never shop for the lowest breast augmentation cost, which does not always equate to good value. In most cases, a price that is significantly lower than the average means some unacceptable compromises that increase the risk of infection and poor cosmetic results.
The goal of any prudent patient is to find a qualified plastic surgeon—i.e., board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and other reputable affiliations—who performs breast augmentation on a regular basis.