Try this experiment – enter “cheap breast implants in New York City” into Google. You may be surprised that nationally there are almost 2 million search results. Many of these results are from plastic surgeons offering breast augmentation for prices that are significantly lower than most other doctors are charging. My personal favorites are $2700 at a plastic surgeon in New Jersey, $2995 in Miami, and $2995 in Beverly Hills. Even some surgeons in the highest priced markets such as New York City are advertising prices as low as $5700. As the old adage goes, “If it sounds too good to be true….”
As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in private practice, I am keenly aware of the cost of doing business. Let’s break down the common costs associated with a 1 ½ hour surgical procedure, such as breast implant, in an accredited operating facility with the appropriate personnel.
• Cost of running an operating room (medications, supplies, and necessary materials) - $1500
• Fees for a Board Certified Anesthesiolgist - $400-$1000
• Cost of licensed surgical technician to help the surgeon - $100
• Cost of Registered Nurse to take care of you in the recovery room - $100-$200
• Cost of Silicone Breast Implants - $1600-$1800
So, the estimated cost to the surgeon of performing this surgery is around $4000 (give or take) and this does not even account for all the other costs associated with the plastic surgery practice such as rent/mortgage, electricity, salary of office staff, advertising, etc. Add to this the simple fact that the surgeon must be able to make some profit on his surgeries or the practice will never survive, and you can easily understand why the charge for breast augmentation can easily exceed $8,000.
So, how can a plastic surgeon charge a fee for breast implants that appears to be less than the actual cost of performing the surgery? Perhaps he or she is a very keen business person that keeps expenses to the bare minimum. Perhaps, he or she has an anesthesiologist on annual salary, making the anesthesia cost per case low. Perhaps he or she has negotiated a very low hourly pay for the nursing staff. While these are legitimate ways to keep costs down, thereby lowering the cost to you for your surgery, some doctors cut costs other ways. Some may choose to lower costs by using poorly qualified staff and non-board-certified anesthesiologists. Others may obtain medications, supplies, and even breast implants from overseas distributors where prices are lower but standards are more lax. These are all things that can place your results – and personal safety – at risk.
How do you determine whether your surgeon is a keen businessman or an unscrupulous doctor? Make sure your doctor is a board certified plastic surgeon (not a “cosmetic surgeon”) and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Also, make sure the surgical facility is fully accredited – this will help to ensure you that the equipment, supplies, and staff comply with the standards and regulations that are put in place to protect your safety. Ask who will be performing the surgery so that you make sure that an assistant is not performing your surgery instead of your surgeon. Make sure your doctor is on staff at a respected hospital – this will ensure that he/she has been reviewed and approved by the hospital’s medical board. Lastly, do your research and know what the average price for breast augmentation is in your area. If your doctor is charging significantly less than the others in the area, ask him or her why….and she what kind of answer you get.
It is normal to want to get a good deal on your breast augmentation but you need to choose your surgeon carefully. Keep in mind, though, that well-qualified and board certified plastic surgeons will charge prices that reflect their skill and expertise. Choosing the cheap doctor for breast augmentation can result in complications that often require additional corrective surgery…..often costing more than the original surgery.
So, don’t bargain shop for your breast implants.
If you are interested in learning more about breast enhancement options, contact my practice of plastic surgery in New York City.