Quality Breast Augmentation in the US for Under $4,000?

I'm hoping to get a breast augmentation before the end of May 2010 for summer swimsuit modeling. I am looking for a surgeon in the US who does (saline) breast augmentations for under $4,000. But I'm not looking for the answer "you get what you pay for" because that's not necessarily true. I'm just looking for an affordable, quality surgeon. Thank you.

Doctor Answers (20)

Yes, under $4,000 is possible for breast augmentation


There are high quality plastic surgeons all over the country. I have met them and listened to them at reputable plastic surgery meetings (ASPS, ASAPS). Each part of the country will have different costs to perform the surgery.

I think I live in the the part of the country with the lowest cost. I have charged $3,436 for saline breast augmentation for the last 4 years. This includes Allergan brand implants with general anesthesia in an accredited surgery center.

I would not recommend traveling long distances for surgery just to get a slightly lower cost because it is safer to have your surgeon close to you.

Beware of low priced surgeons that are not board certified plastic surgeons.

Best Wishes,

Dr. Peterson

Saint George Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

The secret for an inexpensive breast augmentation


I don't know about your area...but at least in LA, $4K is getting pretty low in private practice. Remember, the implant is $1K, an anesthesiologist is about $600, a proper operating room is $2000 or so....meaning that the numbers just don't add up unless you don't have an anesthesiologist, a good OR, etc. And the only surgeons that I have been aware of operating at that price - and I'm not saying that I have surveyed them all - but of what I have been aware, many have either not been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or were those who - in my opinion- didn't quite dazzle me with their judgment.

Again, I'm not making a blanket statement condemning all lower-priced surgery. I'm just saying that you have to be careful. (Though for that matter, I am aware of some exceedingly expensive plastic surgery that has also been awful.) So I guess no matter what you do, you have to be very careful.

So, here's my suggestion: all the major plastic surgery residencies have resident clinics. These are surgeons in their last months of training. But they don't operate on you alone - they have an "attending" surgeon, usually a respected member of the local community who donates their time for teaching.

I do this at UCLA with a handful of outstanding faculty, and the patients are amazingly well taken care of, certainly better than a lot of what I see going on in the private community at substnatially higher fees.

The University of Michigan has one of the best plastic surgery training programs in the world. Anyone at the end of their residency at U of M would be very knowledgeable and accomplished. And their attendings would be awesome. I don't know the details of their resident clinic, but that would be the place you should start. Go to their website and call the plastic surgery department. Go for a consultation...I bet you will be impressed.

Steven Teitelbaum, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Quality breast augmentations under $4000 are very rare


When you consider the cost to the doctor of buying the implants, paying for the surgical equipment, paying the staff salaries and benefits, paying the rent, paying the malpractice and other insurances, paying the taxes, and the cost of anesthesia, there is no room to do a "quality" breast augmentation for under $4000.

You would likely only find a non-plastic surgeon who would be willing to do this to "get into the market." I just encountered an ENT in my area doing this. They have no training in breast surgery and a poor result cannot be fixed and will cost double the price you started with anyway.

While you don't want a lecture, it is true that in most things in life, you do get what you pay for. Since it would only take about $2500 more to find a great doctor, I would advise you budget for this, save your money and then get it done properly. Just trying to protect you from a bad outcome...

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

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Quality Breast Augmentation for under $4,000

I can't imagine how plastic surgeons are able to charge this amount for breast augmentation. The only way this is possible is by cutting a lot of corners. The cost of maintaining a pristine, accredited OR with state of the art technology and staffing the OR with exceptional medical professionals is not inexpensive. 

Plastic surgeons will have different prices based on their education and training, as well as the results they are able to provide for their patients.  Is this really where you want to save money?

Additionally, some low-priced plastic surgeons can cut a lot of corners when it comes to the surgical environment and surgical staff. 
During a breast augmentation procedure, a board-certified plastic surgeon, a board certified anesthesiologist, certified surgical technicians and an RN's should be in the room.   A circulating nurse and a certified sterile processing professional should also be part of the team.

Physicians offering the lowest priced surgery will likely not offer pain pumps, garments, post-op visits or even a board-certified anesthesiologist as part of the price. They will likely not be able to provide many high quality, consistent photos of great results. 

I understand the desire to save money, but when it comes to your health, safety and a parmenant change in your body, it is probably best not to look for a bargain.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Yes, it is possible to obtain a quality breast augmentation at a reasonable fee


Prices vary by geographical region, and I suppose I would take exception to some of the previous answers. We currently charge slightly less than $4000 for saline breast augmentation. (This includes everything). I am board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (as are my partners), trained at a respected university program (Vanderbilt), operate in a fully accredited office operating facility, have privileges in the hospitals in my community, and have performed well over 1000 breast augmentations with a high level of patient satisfaction and very few complications. We are very proud of our nurses and office staff, who are well trained, compassionate, and detail oriented. Thus, I believe it is possible to obtain a quality result at a reasonable fee.

Michael D. Yates, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Low cost Breast augmentation with implants in the United States


You are absolutely right. You don't always "get what you pay for". However, there are certain costs to procedures and a physician's time is certainly worth something. This includes their training and experience in addition to their overhead expenses. Doctors have to pay off educational loans (becoming a physician in the United Staes is expensive and probably easily costs $500,000) in addition to paying their office expenses and then providing for their families. They often don't finish training until at least 31 years of age at the youngest well after their colleagues have been out of college holding a job for 10 years have been earning decent salaries, bonuses and benefits.

Not that we are asking for your pity, but there are many factors that determine a surgeon's fees.

On top of that, if you are searching for a surgeon who is willing to operate at a low cost, it is more likely that they will profit on a volume basis. High volume is good for experience but it may interfere with the doctor patient relationship. You can't expect to pay someone bottom dollar and then expect extra one-on-one time answering alot of questions. So you may be able to find a fee of $4000, but this will be a high volume operation where most of your care will be administrered by Physician extenders. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that you will find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon at this reimbursement level.

You should also take into consideration the costs of revisionay surgery and if that surgeon will be around 10 years from now to manage your questions or concerns. High volume facilities tend to have a high surgeon turnover.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Compare costs very carefully

Often it is not the best approach to find the cheapest plastic surgeon. Does the surgeon specialize in this procedure? What are their credentials? How long have they been in practice? What percentage of their practice is cosmetic surgery? How many of these surgeries have they performed? Do they use the latest techniques? What do their results look like? Do they have photos to show of their work? Do they provide follow-up themselves, or will you only see the nurses (or even just an assistant)? Are they available by phone for an emergency or does one of their staff answer after-hour calls? What is the impression you get from their office and staff? Are they professional and informative? Do they know what they are talking about? You need to ask yourself all of these questions.

When comparing quotes from different doctors, check to make sure that the costs you are quoted are for the same thing! Check to see what type of anesthesia and facility you are going to be treated in. If the total price is lower but you are not going to receive proper anesthesia from a board certified anesthesiologist, then are you getting a better deal (or inferior treatment)? If the facility is not a certified outpatient surgery center but is an in-office procedure room, is the difference in safety worth the cost reduction? If the doctor is not a board certified plastic surgeon, is that worth the discount in the fees? I would say the answer to all three of these questions is no!

Assuming you are talking about a board certified plastic surgeon with plenty of experience in breast augmentation, you need to find someone who you trust. This is your body, make sure you are making decisions based on the quality of care, the experience and training of the doctor, and proven results! Cost alone should not be the deciding factor.

The prices can vary from state to state, and from city to city. Our costs, including the board certified plastic surgeon's fees, board certified anesthesiologist's fees, operating room, saline implants, labs, scar gel, vitamins, and follow-up at 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and every year after that forever, are around $5000. If you need more follow-up appointments, those are free as well.

Gary Lawton, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Breast Augmentation Pricing

Prices for cosmetic work follow supply and demand like any industry. Areas such as South Florida with a large number of board certified plastic surgeons will have lower fees than areas with fewer surgeons. It is possible to find quality breast augmentations around $4000 in South Florida, but ensure that you are choosing a board certified plastic surgeon and that the practice will provide you the safety and individual attention that you deserve.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Break down of Breast Augmentation Fees

The prices of Breast Augmentation, Lift, or full mommy make overs as well as revisions can vary widely from city to city. For example, a breast augmentation can cost 3-4 times in LA and New York what it costs in Montana.
In looking at the a price quote for breast augmentation, you should consider many variables.
1. The Surgeon's Fee. This can vary widely depending on the experience and results and thus demand for that surgeon. This also sometimes depends on technique. For example, a sub-muscular placement of an implant is much faster and thus takes less work for the surgeon than a sub-fascial placement of the implant that takes twice as long.
2. The Implant. The breast implant price depends on using a saline, memory gel, or highly cohesive (gummybear) implants. Usually saline implants cost about $1,000 for a pair, memory gel $2,000, and highly cohesive $3,000. If fat is used instead of an implant, then usually a fat harvest charge is used instead of implant fee as liposuction supplies are used and the fat purified in a variety of methods. The size of the implant does not matter, only the type of implant. If a dermal matrix is needed then there is an additional charge (usually about $1,000). In revisions, often the same implant can be used which saves on the implant costs. If a breast lift alone is performed, then obviously there is no implant cost.
3. Anesthesia. This can vary as well. If a board certified anesthesiologist is used then the price is higher. If a CRNA (nurse anesthetist) then the price is lower. It is even lower when a doctor just uses a non-certified anesthetist nurse, or just a medical assistant to push the anesthetic drugs (yes, this actually does happen).
4. Facility Fee. This can vary if the surgeon is using a certified surgery center or hospital vs. his non-certified office.
These four components make the total price, so it is best to break these down so the patient knows exactly what she is getting.
Realself has an average cost for each city.  If you are looking for the least expensive price, I would suggest looking at the city with the lowest prices on average, rather than a very low cost surgeon in a relatively higher average location.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Quality Breast Augmentation at Low Price - Determining factors

Breast Augmentation prices vary greatly because the surgery itself encompasses a wide range of techniques that can be performed to different extents. It might be possible to meet your price point but be careful that this does not mean a less experience surgeon and therefore less quality surgery.  My recommendation is to first find qualified surgeons that are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery you trust, then compare prices between them. Factors that influence the price include:
1. Location - Will it be performed in a hospital with an overnight stay, an independent out- patient facility or a doctors office? Geographical location also has a significant influence.

2. Type of Anesthesia -  IV sedation or General Anesthesia? Will a board certified anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist be used, or an RN?

3. Experience and training of your surgeon. The best trained (and longest) would be a surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

4. Length and Complexity of Surgery - how difficult will your surgery be and how long, etc . Will other procedures also be done like a breast  lift, lipo on the sides of your breast/chest wall, etc be also performed?

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.