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 23

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 26 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...

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 61 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 8 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 37 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 55 reviews

Best Way to Find a Surgeon for Breast Augmentation

The best way to find the right surgeon for you is to do your research and be as thorough as possible. Set up consultations with highly experienced board certified plastic surgeons in your area. RealSelf can be a great resource in terms of reading patient reviews in order to get an idea if a doctor's surgical philosophy and patient care is in line with what you're hoping to achieve. Discuss all aspects of the procedure with them, including the price. If you find a surgeon who makes you feel completely comfortable, safe, and confident, who has a track record of delivering excellent, safe results with regular accreditation, that's a quality surgeon. If you are unable to find a doctor who meets these criteria at the price point you are interested in, you may need to reconsider your budget.

Breast Augmentation Cost

The cost of breast augmentation can vary depending on whether you have saline or silicone implants. There are some important questions to ask as you should not base your decision about where to have surgery only on price.

It is important to ask the right questions during your consultation:

  • 1.Is your surgeon a board certified plastic surgeon?
    • a.Be sure he or she is a plastic surgeon, there are a lot surgeons that are cosmetic surgeons or board certified in other fields other than plastic surgery. They do not do the same training as a plastic surgeon.
    • b.You can check the American Board of Plastic Surgery website for a list of plastic surgeons in your area.
  • 2.Does your surgeon commonly perform this procedure?
    • a.Ask to see before and after pictures or look online for reviews on the procedure.
  • 3.Where is the surgery performed
    • a.Is the procedure performed in an accredited surgery center or hospital?
  • 4.Who performs the anesthesia for the procedure?
    • a.Is an anesthesiologist performing the anesthesia?

I hope this helps. 

Surgeon's skill first

You would have to discuss pricing with the surgeon you choose to perform the procedure. Although you may not "get what you pay for", there is a higher risk in selecting a bad surgeon by choosing them purely based on price. Please pick your surgeon based first on their experience and expertise, rather than how much they're charging.

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.

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.