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How much do breast implants cost?

Get tips on assessing the cost of breast implant surgery.

Breast implants costs vary depending on the patient. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Breast implants costs vary depending on the patient.

Whether you’re having cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, researching breast implant costs is an important step to take before scheduling your surgery. This article will review typical expenses and shed light on some unexpected costs to help you make a more informed decision.

Initial and Additional Surgery Costs

Breast implant surgery is a costly procedure, but the initial surgery is only part of the expense. Most women will have to have additional surgery within five years of the initial procedure, and the Food and Drug Administration recommends that women opting for silicone implants get an MRI three years after implant surgery and then every other year after that.

These costs can add up. The cost of the initial implant surgery depends on which type of implant you choose, silicone or saline. Women who opt for saline implants can expect to pay on average between $4,000 and $6,000, while women choosing silicone might pay up to $7,000. The required MRIs cost roughly $2,000, while the additional surgery that will likely be required will be thousands more.

You should not expect your health insurance company to cover breast implant surgery. Health insurance companies consider breast implant surgeries to be cosmetic, and won’t cover expenses related to it. This most likely includes the follow-up MRIs, additional future surgeries, or any medical expenses associated with implant problems.

Ultimately, breast implants can cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.
The financial cost of breast implants may drive some women to look for bargains, either through plastic surgeons offering discount rates or from surgeons abroad. Though these surgeries might be initially cheaper, bear in mind that complications from breast implant surgeries often cost more than the initial surgeries themselves. Finding a qualified, experienced doctor is often worth the extra expense.

Other Breast Implant Costs

Besides the expense of breast implant surgery, it’s important to consider the potential health costs associated with the procedure. Part of the reason why the Food and Drug Administration first banned breast implants in 1992, before approving them in 2006, is the risk of complications.

The most common complications include breast pain, numbness of the nipple area and breast hardness. These complications may last for years, and possibly forever. Other, more serious complications include implants breaking through the skin and implant rupture. In fact, rupturing silicone implants is such a concern that the FDA recommends women have an MRI every few years after implant surgery to make sure the implant has retained its integrity. Rupturing can occur a number of ways, including mammography, a blow to the chest or simply faulty implantation.

Another consideration to take into account, especially for women who want children, is that breast implants may inhibit the production of breast milk.

Of course, many women have very good reasons for getting breast implants, including breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Still, every woman should be aware of the many costs of breast implants before moving forward with the procedure.

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