Breast Augmentation Price: Is it Negotiable?

Is it rude or disrespectful to negotiate on the surgeons fees? Especially, when the prices vary so much from one surgeon to the next. You would think a doctor would be willing to negotiate a little, when weighed with the overall outcome of profit, the business he would gain and even the prospects of re-business he would have. I have been told by several that price is always negotiable, seeing many insurance companies and family health providers practicing these measures.

Doctor Answers 39

Breast augmentation price may have little to do with the quality of your operation!

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This is a good question, and it deserves a detailed answer.

First of all, make sure you are comparing surgeons properly. That "low-price" cosmetic surgeon may actually be a dermatologist, family practitioner, or other non-surgeon who has decided to open up a cosmetic surgery practice and operates in a non-accredited, non-credentialed, non-peer-reviewed facility. This kind of "cosmetic surgeon" may spend more on marketing and "appearances" than on your safety. It may not be clear to you that this doctor has bypassed all of the proper surgical residency training, plastic surgical fellowship training, written and oral examinations leading to American Board of Plastic Surgery certification, and office surgical facility accreditation (AAAASF or JCAHO). However, the "real" plastic surgeons in your community DO KNOW, and perhaps low price is the only way this doctor can compete with the properly-trained, properly-board-certified, and properly-accredited surgeons in the community.

The perverse reality is that sometimes these "psuedo-plastic surgeons" even charge MORE than their "real" competitors, in an effort to be perceived as "better." These con artists even go out of their way to boast of themselves as "cosmetic surgery 'specialists'" rather than "general plastic surgeons" who are derisively described as "fixing burns" or "taking care of bedsores." (Of course, what they don't tell you is that their cosmetic surgery "training" consisted of a couple of two-day courses given by other non-surgeons, or spending time with another con artist doctor to learn how to fool the trusting public.) If this sounds extreme or "bogus" I can tell you of a Dermatologist in my city who tried to put in breast implants in his office exam room under local anesthesia, used up to toxic levels of lidocaine, and only got one implant in (he had to stop because of agonizing levels of patient pain). Two days later he tried again to get the remaining implant in, again reached toxic levels of lidocaine trying to stop the severe pain of improperly-performed surgery, and again failed to get the second implant in. 10 days later I had to remove the existing implant (under proper anesthesia) which had bleeding and early infection present. Lawsuit pending.

So let's assume you have done your homework and consulted with only ABPS-certified plastic surgeons. There will still be discrepancies in costs. Sometimes this is because a plastic surgeon works at a hospital (this will be most plastic surgeons, who do a multitude of reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries--remember, we have COMPLETE training; that's what the circular American Society of Plastic Surgeons logo denotes). Make sure your cost quote is complete. I have seen many patients who come in with the surgeon's quote, only to find out that it does not include the hospital operating room costs, costs of the implants, or the anesthesia provider's costs--those bills are sent separately! And then there's the big surprise that the "low" cost wasn't a complete quote, or that it was only an estimate, and didn't include the "extra" 15 minutes that the surgeon took to do the procedure (extra charges not included in the "estimate").

Other ABPS plastic surgeons may work out of a stand-alone hospital-owned or privately-owned surgical center, where costs are more tightly controlled, volume of elective surgeries higher, and frankly, profits better. These plastic surgeons may be able to charge a bit less and deliver an overall superior procedure from start to finish, also avoiding exposure to "sick" patients and bad bacteria!

Some plastic surgeons (superbly-trained and skilled reconstructive experts) just don't do much cosmetic surgery, and have to price these procedures accordingly.

Other plastic surgeons have gradually steered their practices towards elective cosmetic surgery, even though they have completed the same full training, certification, and accreditation of their reconstructive colleagues. This may be out of interest, talent, insurance reimbursement pressures, or a host of other factors, but these plastic surgeons have become the cosmetic surgery specialists in a competitive sea of non-surgeons, Derm surgeons, ENT surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and REAL plastic surgeons who have chosen different paths within cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Now there's REAL price competition.

The best and brightest ABPS-certified plastic surgery stars who specialize in cosmetic surgery may well be so busy they never have to "discount" their prices. (Or, they may just publicly state that to keep up appearances!) For some in some locations that indeed is true. God bless their good fortune in these past years of economic woe! For the rest, there has indeed been the same harsh economic reality we all have faced. Even the most successful surgeons and practices saw price competition, discounts, and patient "shopping." Some practices saw these times as an opportunity to increase their expertise and experience by offering modest discounts or incentives, while still maintaining top-notch quality, staffing, and procedural details. Most well-run businesses (including surgical practices) saw these past few years as an opportunity to become even more efficient, quality-oriented, and patient-centric when their competitors were not only cutting prices, but "cutting corners!"

So, is it "rude or disrespectful" to ask for a discount? Maybe, if the surgeon's ego is bigger than his or her awareness of reality. I have been in private practice for 24 years, and I still offer professional discounts to doctors, nurses, medical students, armed forces personnel and other select individuals close to my heart. The "flip-side" reality is that I do the vast majority of my highly-skilled and attentive-to-detail surgery for the very best price I can deliver. I choose to do charity work overseas during my cleft lip and palate mission trips. My partner chooses to do charity work in our community with disadvantaged and at-risk youth. Most plastic surgeons do some form of charity or pro bono work--BUT we're not the dollar store or a used car lot!

While you make good points about re-business and the like, even plastic surgeons have fixed (increasing) costs. You really don't want the surgeon who is "cheapest." You probably don't want the surgeon who is the most costly either (usually just a "cover" for average work masquerading as "the best"). You want the best surgeon you can find, regardless of the exact cost. Re-do surgery is not only expensive, but you have to take off your own work and activities a second time! Ask that "low-price Charlie" what their re-do or touch-up surgery policy is. Who pays for re-operation for bleeding? All this needs to be considered.

Remember, the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Asking the surgeon for discounts in breast augmentation

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While you are entitled to ask for whatever you choose, the busiest and best surgeons don't need to adjust their fees to satisfy your request.   There are so many costs in doing the surgery for you with the very best equipment, products, staff and anesthesia and the margin isn't as much as you would think when you look at the price you pay.

Remember always that having to revise a poor result after going to a lesser surgeon will be much more expensive that going to a better doctor for the best result your body will allow.

Breast Augmentation Prices: Do you REALLY want the plastic surgeon willing to discount their fees?

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Breast Augmentation Discount
Discounting the value of professional services, especially surgery, is not good marketing - it is a sign of desperation. In my practice, we do offer small professional price consideration to the following groups
1) Clergy- My father is a minister
2)Teachers - My mother-in-law was a teacher
3) Medical professionals - My mother was a nurse
4) Military - My father-in-law was a veteran
We offer these discounts as a way to honor my family and to show appreciation for people who serve our country and community. However, prices for surgery are not negotiable.

The best plastic surgeons are still busy in this contracting economy, and they are not discounting their fees. At the same time, the most expensive surgeon is not necessarily the most talented, so as a consumer you still have to research this carefully. There is much more to consider than just the price in dollars that you pay: is your surgeon actually listening to you, do they truly understand the appearance that you hope to achieve, do you feel that he or she will be easily available and attentive once the surgery has been performed. If you don't have a good feeling, don't stick around to 'save money', go somewhere else.


Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

In my office, no

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I am speaking only for myself obviously. We , as plastic surgeons, realize that the economy is down and finances are diminished as well. Having said this there are a number of costs involved that we have no real control over. Your plastic surgeon still needs to pay their bills, care for their staff, continue to pay for all of our professional costs (insurance, society membership, etc.) . My promise to my patients is that I will provide them with the best care I can and give the best result I can to my abilities.

The other question to ask is, do you ask for a discount at your dentist, pediatrician, etc? I assure you your plumber or electrician will be reluctant as well to do the same.

Having said all of this there are on occasion discounts for cash payments, etc. Please realize that when you finance a procedure there are fairly steep finance charges that your plastic surgeon pays.

I hope this has been helpful and I don't want to come across as cold and insensitive.

Dr Edwards

Doesn't hurt to ask

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Price is a variable. It is partly controlled by business models of fixed cost, profit margins, revenue goal. But it is also partly determined by intangibles such as reputation, demand for specific services or surgeon, motivation, etc. It never hurts to ask but don't always expect discounts. However, I think more doctors are willing to negotiate depending on how eager they are to work on you.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

The price for breast augmentation may be negotiable

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Thank you for your question.

Some surgeons may be willing to negotiate while others will not. You may even get lucky and get a discount or find out about specials. However, there is usually a reason why the fees are set at a certain price.

The surgeon has to make a living and pay his or her staff. There are fees for materials and other various things for surgery. It does require a certain amount of money to ensure that you are getting the best care, so keep that in mind if the surgeon isn't willing to negotiate the price.

Overall, most real board certified plastic surgeons charge about the same in any given area. In general, most do find it offensive and most will not move forward with patients who are bargain shopping or trying to get a better deal. In general, non plastic surgeons charge much cheaper prices.

Thanks for your question. Have a great day!

Best regards,

Dr. Speron

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Basic economic rules of supply and demand will apply

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Hi there-

There are many fixed and variable details that will contribute to the overall costs presented to you by any particular surgeon. These include:

Geographic location

Type of anesthesia and qualifications of the anesthesia provider- I firmly believe that safety should always come first. Having a Board Certified Anesthesiologist supervise your procedure may cost a few more dollars, but in the end is in your best interests.

The facility- Not all facilities are created equal, and it is just as important to do your homework here as anywhere else... make sure the facility is accredited by the AAAASF or AHCA. Some facility costs will be higher than others, and often hospitals are relatively expensive.

Finally, the largest variable is the education, training, experience, and reputation of the surgeon. It would not be reasonable to expect to pay the same amount for your favorite pair of well-made, designer jeans as for a pair of inexpensively made ones at a discount store... In this situation you expect to get what you pay for, right? Another example would be the work product of an artist... you could not realistically expect to pay the same amount for the work of Picasso or Matisse as you would for the work of a talented but unknown artist... supply and demand, and the reputation of the former artists dictate the higher prices that their works demand.

The work of qualified, board certified plastic surgeons is not much different... The prices we ask for our services are in large part going to be determined by our education, training, experience, and reputations, and the demand for our services. If you want your breast augmentation to be performed by the surgeon in your area with an MD from the top medical school, who did the most training in breast surgery, and who has the best reputation for reliably producing the best outcomes with the best experience for his patients, you should expect to pay more. Only you can decide what the knowledge that you are in the hands of this surgeon is worth to you.

I can tell you, though, that I have many patients who wish their initial choice of surgeon had not been made on the basis of cost, as having to then pay someone else to improve their outcome ends up costing them much more in the end.

You will generally get what you pay for.

Do not bargain with your outcome

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The cost of breast augmentation - although important - should be the last factor considered when choosing a surgeon. First find a board certified plastic surgeon with a good reputation in the area that has been referred by other patients and doctors. Getting a second opinion or sometimes a third is a good idea. Once you have narrowed down your search to two surgeons, then consider the cost. If one sureon, however, stands out as the best in the area, don't bargain with your outcome - go with the one who will give you the best outcome and after care. Be careful of offices that bargain with you or try to beat other offices fees just to get your business. Choosing a surgeon based purely on fees is not a good path to take. Choose your surgeon based on qualifications and ability first. That is the most important.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Some people will negotiate.

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Sometimes it is negotiable. Some plastic surgeons will give a better price for cash or check as they do not lose money to a credit card company or financing company. As individual physicians have their own policies, this varies office to office. Often the most experienced, qualified physicians may have the highest prices, but they have the most experience. Sometimes, young physicians and non plastic surgeons have bargain prices, but remember, often, you get what you pay for.

Certain parts of the surgical price are fixed -- the anesthesia charges, the operating room charges and the cost of the implants are often fixed. It is the doctors fee that can be negotiable.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Discounts For Breast Augmentation

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Discount policies for cosmetic surgery vary from practice to practice and depend upon a multitude of variables. It's important to understand that fee quotes for breast augmentation should include the surgeon's fee, anesthesia charges, facility fees, implant costs, and pre and post-operative care. These costs can be dramatically impacted by the surgeons overhead and levels of local competition.

It's not unusual for physicians to discount breast augmentation for a variety of reasons. In some cases, discounts are given when patients have had previous procedures. Discounts are often given for combination procedures as well. Occasionally, plastic surgeons discount specific categories of patients. For example, discounts are often given to healthcare workers and military personnel.

For these reasons, it never hurts to ask for a discount, but it's important not to be offended if the answer is no. In some highly competitive environments, the fees may have already been cut to their lowest possible levels. Under these circumstances, the surgeon may not have the latitude to lower his fees any further.

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.