Doctor holding out breast implants | Patrick Lane/Getty Images

Breast augmentation, otherwise called augmentation mammoplasty, has the potential to enhance your profile and boost your confidence. Saline or silicone breast implants increase the fullness or symmetry of the breasts, or restore breast volume that you lost following pregnancy or a weight-reduction program.

The process may improve your physical appearance and your mental attitude, ultimately enhancing your overall well-being and making you feel better about yourself.

However, because it’s a cosmetic procedure, you may find your health insurance doesn’t cover the process, leaving you to pick up the cost.

So, how much do breast implants cost?

Before you make your decision about this surgery, it’s important to consider what the procedure entails along with any possible complications. You also should take time to understand how much breast implants cost, including any additional charges and fees.

The average cost of breast augmentation

The overall cost for breast implants varies based on your location, the doctor you employ and the type of implant you select. In 2014, the average cost of breast augmentation surgery was $3,708, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This cost doesn’t include anesthesia and other related surgery costs, so it’s possible for the procedure to cost as much as $5,000 to $10,000.

Be aware that the average cost for removal of breast implants in the same year was $2,330. Because removing implants costs almost as much as the original procedure, and because health insurance companies don’t often cover such cosmetic surgeries, it’s important to be confident in your decision.

Cost breakdown

There are many factors that determine the total cost of breast augmentation surgery. Common factors include:

  • Type of implants (saline or silicone).
  • Anesthesia fees.
  • The cost of using the surgical facility and medical equipment.
  • Medical tests.
  • Surgery garments.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Surgeon’s fees (which vary considerably based on skill, location and other factors).

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Saline vs. silicone

Saline implants comprise a silicone shell with a sterile saltwater filling, while silicone implants comprise a silicone shell with a silicone plastic filling. Silicone implants post a serious health risk if they leak, so in 1992 the FDA banned their use. However, in 2006, the FDA started allowing the use of some silicone implants.

The type of implant plays a part in determining the total cost. According to statistics from the Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank for 2013, the average cost for saline implants was $3,268, while the average cost for silicone implants was $3,618.

Consult with your surgeon to determine which option is best for you.

Health insurance

You may feel that breast augmentation is essential for your mental and physical well-being, but unfortunately, health insurance providers rarely cover cosmetic surgery, including implants (or subsequent removal of implants), breast lifts and breast reductions.

For all of these procedures, you must pay the costs yourself.

Some health insurance products do cover the removal of ruptured implants or surgical reconstruction following a mastectomy for breast cancer. Check your policy details carefully to see exactly what’s covered.

Are you eligible?

Not everybody is a suitable candidate for breast augmentation surgery. You may be eligible if:

  • You are healthy (physically and mentally).
  • Your breasts are fully developed.
  • You are dissatisfied with the shape, volume, or appearance of your breasts.
  • Your breasts are asymmetrical, or they failed to develop normally.

Breast surgery is very personal, and people have many different reasons why they feel they need to go through the procedure. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, and you should never feel forced to proceed. Take the time to consult with health specialists and consider all of the options.

Conclusion

How much do breast implants cost?

Breast implants have the potential to boost your confidence and enhance your physique, but the process comes with a significant cost that your health insurance is unlikely to help you with.

Furthermore, the cost to reverse the process if you subsequently change your mind could be almost as much. Take the time to consider your options carefully, and talk with your health care provider before rushing into any costly decisions.

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