Ballpark Estimate: Between $7,500 and $10,000
Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to your breasts. In fact, some women whose breasts are especially large in size find that carrying around the extra weight can create real strain on their back and may even cause constant pain. That’s where breast reduction surgery can make a big difference.
The technical term for breast reduction surgery is mammoplasty and this is a common procedure performed today to reduce and reshape the breast area. This can often improve your appearance and make your chest more in proportion with the rest of the body size and shape.
If you have oversize breasts, either due to heredity or as an after-effect of pregnancy that lingers indefinitely, you may already have explored a variety of creative ways to find relief for the situation. Some women try different types of supportive bras, but find this isn’t enough to offer the relief they need. Further, the straps may irritate your shoulders and make a bad situation even worse.
Extremely large breasts that are out of proportion to the rest of your body can also cause be a host of negative health effects. This can include:
- Back and neck pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Problems with posture
- Disrupted sleep
- Restricted movements
- Rashes and skin infections
Beyond the physical effects, if you have overly large breasts you can also suffer a variety of psychological issues due to problems with self-image and you may have difficulty finding clothing that fits. In addition, participating in sports and other athletic activities may be particularly difficult for you.
What to Expect
Most women who undergo breast reduction have the surgery performed on an outpatient basis, usually using general anesthesia. The process takes several hours and most of the time will be very straight forward, although what is entailed will depend specifically on your natural size and shape.
In preparation for the surgery, usually the plastic surgeon will mark up your chest while you sit up so he or she will have a reference to follow during the procedure. Then during the surgery itself, the glandular tissues, fatty tissues and skin that make up the breast area will be removed and/or altered as needed for your specific situation. In many cases, the nipples will need to be relocated, too.
The Recovery Period
Following surgery, most patients experience some swelling and discomfort, but this will heal with time. If more severe pain persists, though, prescription pain medication can offer temporary relief for you. Generally patients are asked to avoid physical activity and heavy lifting for the initial recovery period. In addition, you may need to wear a special bra immediately following surgery.
While these things will usually be short-term, there are also several possible long-term or even permanent side effects that can occur, too. For instance, sensation to the nipple can be lost in some cases, and breast feeding may not be possible afterwards. Some women can also be left with permanent scars and you may find that their breasts are not symmetrical once they heal. Often, though, these problems are quite small compared with the relief you will ultimately feel.
What to Look For
When selecting a plastic surgeon, the experts recommend looking for someone who is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Such designation requires extensive training and can help to increase the odds that your surgeon is well qualified and will help you achieve the results you desire. There are also a number of online resources that help you learn more about the process and can also help you to locate some doctors in your area. These include Your Plastic Surgery Guide, Doc Shop, A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Resource, and Smart Plastic Surgery.
Other Things To Consider
What you will pay for breast reduction surgery depends on a number of factors. For instance, there are three basic expenses that are included in the overall price of a breast reduction. This includes the surgeon’s fee, the facility fee and the anesthesiologist’s fee. The size of your breasts and what will need to be done to reshape them will also determine the length and cost of the procedure. If you need to have your breasts lifted, the nipples relocated or other extra techniques performed, the price can go up. In addition, if you end up needing to be kept overnight in the hospital, this can also add to the overall price.
What It Costs
The cost to have your breasts reduced can span a wide range, but you can expect to spend somewhere between $7,500 and $10,000-plus for the procedure and all of the costs associated with it. To get a better idea of how this can break out, the experts say that you can expect the surgeon’s fee to be at least half to two-thirds of the total expense, while the facility and anesthesiology fees combined make up the difference. For instance, the average price in the United States for the surgery itself comes in at about $5,500, while you can spend perhaps $1,500 for the facility and $1,000 or so for the anesthesiologist. (So a rough estimate can be about $8,000 total.)
Just keep in mind that price shouldn’t be the deciding factor when selecting a surgeon. Doctors will extensive experience and training often charge on the high end of the scale, but the results you get in return can make it well worth the investment. Therefore, the most important thing is to look for a surgeon who is very competent in this procedure and comes high recommended.
So you can expect an average breast reduction procedure to set you back between $7,500 and $10,000.
If you need to undergo breast reduction surgery for medical reasons, your insurance company may be willing to handle some of the expense. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to find out what’s covered under your plan before you get too far in the process. Often you’ll need to prove that you are experiencing pain that can be alleviated by reducing or altering your size and shape. You should also know, though, that changes in insurance coverage in recent years are making it increasingly difficult to get approval for this procedure. Therefore, you may need to be prepared to swing for the cost yourself if you are greatly in need of relief from oversize breasts and your insurer refuses to foot the bill.
For women who meet the latest mammogram recommendations as well as those with a family history of breast cancer, a good rule of thumb is to have a mammogram done before meeting with the plastic surgeon. This will help to rule out any possible health complications.