One of the first questions any potential breast reconstruction patients asks: how much does it cost? Which makes sense. Cost is an important consideration in any surgical procedure, especially one like breast reconstruction, which often isn’t fully covered by the patient’s insurance.
The answer? Well, it depends.
Cost of breast reconstruction varies
The cost of breast reconstruction varies according to a number of factors, including the complexity of the patient’s situation, her geographical location, and the plastic surgeon’s experience. There are 3 types of breast reconstruction:
Implant-Based Reconstruction Options
This type of breast reconstruction involves the restoration of the breast using an artificial breast implant. Breast implants are specially shaped silicon bags that can contain either saline (salt water) or silicon gel. This type of procedure can be done in immediate or delayed reconstruction.
Combination of Implant and Autologous Tissue Reconstruction
With this combination option, tissue from the back (the latissimus dorsi muscle), along with an implant, is used to reconstruct the breast.
Autologous Tissue Breast Reconstruction
This is the construction of your new breast using your body’s own fat instead of an artificial implant. The tissue may come from your abdomen, buttock or thighs and consists of only fat and skin without the need to sacrifice important muscles.
What procedure a patient undergoes will affect the cost. Additional cost factors may include a surgeon’s fee, hospital or surgical facility costs, anesthesia fees, prescriptions for medication, post-surgery garments, and medical tests and x-rays.
While breast reconstruction should be covered by a patient’s health insurance as a reconstructive procedure, often times, it’s only partially covered. And to make things more complicated, sometimes plastic surgeons offer patient financial plans, allowing them to cover the costs over a period of time.
That said, the cost of one breast implant is around $10,000, which often seems like an overwhelming amount of money for a breast cancer patient. Fortunately, there are a number of financial options to cover the expense. In fact, the AiRS Foundation specializes in helping women who have had mastectomies because of breast cancer receive reconstructive surgery regardless of the cost.
There Are Coverage Options
At the AiRS Foundation, we provide grants that cover the cost of breast reconstruction for individual patients. We wholeheartedly believe that every woman who’s had a mastectomy due to breast cancer deserves the option of reconstruction, regardless of her financial situation.