But what does it actually cost to have a breast augmentation in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane? How about Darwin? It seems impossible to find a reliable figure online. And each time a cost is given, it comes with a qualifier that additional costs may be involved. So, what are the real costs? Why can’t you seem to find them? This article should help you get some answers.
Here is a high-level summary – we’ll go into the details of each in more depth (all figures include GST):
Grand Total – Around $10,000 – $15,000 AUD
If you have tried to determine the cost of breast augmentation in Australia, you already know that an exact figure is impossible to find. The answers you come across—including the estimates on this site—are only rough guides, and often incomplete. In the end, you have to go to general forums and get answers from total strangers.
Certainly the web sites of surgeons you visit do not give any idea of the costs involved. Why? Is the only way to find out the cost to consult a surgeon performing breast procedure?
This article should answer all your questions on the costs of breast augmentation in Australia, and why they are hard to find.
Good question. It has to do with the many laws and regulations surgeons and other providers of medical services have to follow. For those readers not interested in the legal language of the regulations, the bottom line is simple: To be legal, statements about pricing have to be so specific that no practitioner or hospital would or could list them on a website. There are too many variables.
To give you an idea of the issues involved, let’s see what the Medical Board of Australia’s Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services allow and do not allow by way of pricing of services.
According to these Guidelines, appropriate advertising may contain “a statement about fees charged, bulk-billing arrangements, or other insurance plan arrangements and instalment fee plans regularly accepted”. That sounds fair enough. However, it considers unacceptable for advertisements—including information provided on websites—to “contain price information that is inexact, or fails to specify any conditions or variables to an advertised price… or offers time-limited discounts or inducements”.
The Medical Board of Australia acknowledges that this puts surgeons and doctors in a difficult position, and the Guidelines themselves make this statement:
“It is generally difficult to provide an accurate price of a health service in an advertisement due to the personal nature of such services and the number of variables involved in the treatment of each person. Any person advertising regulated health services should be very careful when including price information in health service advertising due to the significant potential for such information to mislead or encourage the unnecessary use of health services.
“If fees and price information are to be advertised, then price information should be exact, with all fees for services clearly identifiable, and any conditions or other variables to an advertised price or fee disclosed.”
You can imagine how tough that would be. State legal requirements and others also come into play in disclosing such information.
Surgeons do not usually provide standard costs or a range of costs for breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgical procedures because the law does not allow them to say simply, “Your breast augmentation could cost anywhere in the range of X and Y dollars” and “price may vary according to your choice of implants”.
Additional regulations like the Therapeutic Goods legislation come in to play when prices of breast implants used in the augmentation need to be disclosed in an advertisement or in a website or article. Again, surgeons have to specify brands and their costs if they want to be specific, and they are not supposed to endorse specific brands. Catch 22?
If you want specific information, you need to have an initial consultation, which, of course, costs money.
As we saw earlier, the total cost is made up of a number of components:
Grand Total – Around $10,000 – $15,000 AUD
The wide variations you may have seen in the costs of breast augmentation quoted by different surgeons are mostly due to combined variations in the first four items above.
Let’s look at each of these components in detail.
The surgeon’s fee usually includes the cost of the entire breast augmentation surgery, pre-operative care and after care. That means you do not need to pay extra for the postoperative follow-up visits.
The surgeon’s fees for breast augmentation depend on the surgeon you choose. The very wide range in fees reflects differences in surgeons’ expertise in breast surgery, including professional qualifications, experience, professional recognition and popularity.
On another level, surgeon’s fees are also likely to differ based on geography and where their offices are located.
Your surgeon should provide you with a detailed breakdown of costs at the initial consultation.
Typically, surgeon’s fees are multiple thousands with very wide variations among different practitioners.
You will have to pay an initial consultation fee when you first see a surgeon regarding breast augmentation. Again, how much this cost will vary, depending on the surgeon.
Consultation fees fall in the range of $50 to $500 (AUD). If you see more than one surgeon—before deciding on the one to proceed with—you will pay for each consultation.
Again, the fee depends on the qualifications of the anaesthetist who will attend to you, whether it’s a GP or a qualified anaesthetist who is performing this duty. Anaesthetists, like most other medical specialists, do not have a standard scale of fees. However, according to the Australian Society of Anaesthetists, the fee charged by an anaesthetist is determined by the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) number or the Relative Value Guide (RVG) number.
On average, you can expect this fee to be around $1,000 AUD, but there may be variations.
Why should you want a qualified anaesthetist? The anaesthetist attending to you at your breast enhancement procedure is literally in charge of your life and vital functions during the time you are asleep. You want a qualified person who knows the ins and outs of anaesthesia, trouble shooting and potential risks keeping watch over you when you undergo general anaesthesia. Besides safety, your anaesthetist will also be a factor in making sure of your comfort both during and after the surgery.
There is a wide variety of breast implants. Usually your surgeon will discuss these details with you.
There are multiple implant brands sold in Australia, all of which have the approval of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Different implant manufacturers and their marketers charge different prices, and there can be a significant price difference between brands.
Next you must decide on the brand, texture and shape of the implants. Prices can vary with these factors as well. Your surgeon will help you determine the best texture and shape and will recommend a brand that he or she approves of and has used before.
Then you have to choose the size. Size basically means the bra cup size you’d want to have after the breast enhancement operation. Naturally, the larger the size, the higher your breast implant costs are going to be.
Hospital fees vary significantly from facility to facility. It is important to choose an accredited facility with well-trained staff and high standards. Your health and safety, during and after the procedure, is at stake.
Hospital fees can start at $1,500 (AUD) and vary widely, running thousands of dollars over this figure.
The cost given as hospital fees for a breast augmentation procedure does not typically include an overnight stay. It is only the cost of a day procedure: about two hours or so in the operating theatre and the time it takes to recover from anaesthesia.
If an overnight stay is necessary, you will pay even more.
There may be other costs involved, over and above the key components mentioned above. What might they be?
Medicare does not cover the costs of breast augmentation as it’s considered a purely cosmetic procedure. If there is a medical reason for the surgery such as breast reconstruction following mastectomy, Medicare will cover some of the costs.
Whether your private insurance fund covers breast augmentation depends on the type of policy you have. Some hospital fees and other costs may be reimbursed, depending on your policy. Whatever elements are not covered by private insurance will be out-of-pocket expenses for you.
It is very important to clarify with your insurance fund what exactly is and is not covered before you book the surgery.