Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a procedure which aims to reduce the size of the breasts, and/or to improve their shape.
This type of surgery is generally aimed at women who suffer physical discomfort, such as neck and back pain, as well as those who feel self-conscious for a number of reasons related to the size of their breasts.
The surgery is performed by removing excess fat, skin and glandular tissue from the breasts to reduce their size.
In this article, we will discuss the cost, as well as factors which affect it, and the advantages and disadvantages of breast reduction surgery.
Average Cost of a Breast Reduction
The average cost of breast reduction surgery in the United States is around $6000, with this figure fluctuating between $5000 and $10,000, on average.
This is very much an average figure, and the actual final cost that you might pay can vary depending on individual circumstances and a range of factors, which will be discussed below.
Factors Which Affect the Cost of a Breast Reduction
As with many surgeries, there are a range of factors which can affect the overall cost of breast reduction surgery. These are listed below.
- Facility Fees
The facility fee covers the use of the hospital or medical center where the surgery will be performed. The fee can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the location of the hospital, any specialist equipment they need to use, and if you have any adverse reactions or need to stay overnight or for an extended period of time.
Hospitals are generally more expensive than outpatient clinics, but it is highly unlikely that a breast reduction would be performed in an outpatient clinic.
- Geographic Location
Where you live can also have an affect on the overall cost of the surgery. For example, areas with a higher cost of living will generally charge more for their services – the same applies for surgeons and hospitals in more affluent areas. If you are based in California or New York, you can expect to pay more for a breast reduction than if you are based in Georgia or Utah, for example.
You could potentially save money to an extent by travelling to another state, or another area of the country, to have the surgery: despite the costs of the flights, or transport, you could end up saving money by going to another area where the cost is cheaper.
- Anesthesia Fees
The anesthesia fee is another factor which can affect the cost of the surgery. You are likely to need general anesthetic (where you are asleep during surgery) rather than local anesthetic (where you are awake). This will contribute to your cost, as general anesthetic is more expensive than local anesthetic.
- Surgeons’ Fees
The fees charged by surgeons will also vary, and can also be a factor in the overall cost of a breast reduction.
Surgeons who are higher qualified or more experienced will usually charge more for their services than newly qualified surgeons. Additionally, specialist breast reduction surgeons will charge more than a generic plastic surgeon, so you may want to factor this into your overall cost of the procedure.
Furthermore, surgeons who have had high-profile clients like celebrities will likely charge the highest fees, simply because of the prestige of their clients and the fact that those clients have chosen that particular surgeon for their work.
- Pre and Post-Operative Care
Pre-operative appointments with a surgeon will also add to the final cost of breast reduction surgery. You may need more than one consultation, which can lead to additional costs. Medical tests can also be a part of this process, and you may be asked for a blood test or anything else, which can contribute to the final cost of the surgery.
Follow-up appointments can also add to the final cost: you may need to revisit your surgeon on more than one occasion for a health check up, or, alternatively, you may have to take certain medication or have certain dressings done. This can all add to the overall cost, even though the surgery has been performed.
It is a good idea to discuss with your surgeon how many appointments they think you will need, and if you need any post-operative care following the surgery. This way, you can budget accordingly, or at least have a better idea of what the final amount you will pay will be.
Pros and Cons of Breast Reduction Surgery
As with any form of surgical procedure, there are pros and cons to a breast reduction. We will list these below.
- Relief from Pain and Discomfort
One of the primary reasons for undergoing a breast reduction is to seek pain relief from the discomfort caused by having large breasts. Women with large breasts often experience physical discomfort like neck and back pain, as well as shoulder grooving and rashes developing underneath the breasts.
The surgery can alleviate these symptoms as well as improve your overall quality of life.
- Improved Self Confidence
Women who have large breasts may experience low self-esteem, leading to body confidence issues. This can stem from being unable to find flattering clothing which fits properly, or being unable to wear certain outfits which may be deemed as too revealing.
Breast reduction surgery can improve your body confidence and self-image, allowing you to go out and wear whatever you like, find clothes that fit you in a suitable way, and can also help you to feel more comfortable in your own skin.
- Improved Mobility
From a physical point of view, breast reduction surgery can help women experience physical activities in a better way. Women with large breasts may find exercise and other types of physical activity difficult.
By having this surgery done, you may be able to experience physical activities that you would not have had the chance to beforehand, such as running or any other form of physical sports.
- Better Proportions
As well as reducing the size of the breasts, the surgery can make them more in proportion with your body. For example, the surgery can improve the balance between the breasts, and thus create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance for yourself.
Of course, there are also disadvantages associated with breast reductions, not least the cost.
Because the surgery involves removing excess skin and fat, incisions are required. Although many scars fade over time, some women may still be dissatisfied with their appearance long after they have had the surgery performed.
- Risks and Complications
Like any surgery, breast reductions carry risks and complications. If a surgeon’s equipment is not properly sterilized, this can lead to the risk of infection. Additionally, bleeding can be an issue, as can any anesthesia-related risks, such as if you have a bad reaction to it.
- The Cost of the Surgery
For some people, the cost alone is enough to prevent them having it performed. With the national average sitting at around $6000, it is understandable how this can simply be too much for some people.
- Loss of Sensation
Some women have noted that they have lost sensation in their nipples or breasts following the surgery. This can be both temporary or permanent, but it is a disadvantage after spending so much on the surgery if it does happen to you.
Depending on your insurance provider, you may be eligible to be covered for the whole procedure by insurance. However, this is only likely if the procedure is deemed absolutely medically necessary, such as if you are experiencing physical discomfort or have a genetic condition related to large breasts.
It is important to remember that insurance coverage varies from provider to provider, and policies will differ, so always read the small print! You should always consult with your insurance provider beforehand to determine if you are covered or not, and if so, what expenses are or are not covered.
You can also pay for the surgery by saving up enough money and paying for it in one instalment, although this will likely take a long time and many people do not have the means to save up such a large amount of money.
Personal loans and credit cards are another method to pay for it, although there is a huge risk of incurring personal debt, as well as extortionate interest rates.
Overall, while the cost of breast reduction surgery can be a cause for concern, it can nevertheless be a life-changing procedure for women with large breasts, providing pain relief, improved body confidence and an increased quality of life.
You should always consult with a surgeon beforehand, and research your financial methods to pay for the full cost of the procedure. Therefore, it is important to weigh up both the pros and cons of a breast reduction before committing to it, and making it something you regret doing years later down the line.
It is also imperative to talk to your insurance provider as well, so that you know how much of the cost is being covered, if any, and if not, how much you will have to pay out of your own earnings.