Chapter 4 Page 4 | Breasts, Arms and Tummies …
Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts by removing excess skin and repositioning the remaining tissue and nipples. The price in the U.S. is in the range of $4,000 to $6,000; abroad it can be $1,200 to $2,500. Breast reduction, if desired, can be encompassed in this procedure. It may or may not cost more, depending on the individual and the surgeon.
Increasing breast size by means of surgical implants remains controversial, particularly in the United States, but they nevertheless have soared in popularity, even after silicone implants were mostly banned in the United States in 1992. Only saline implants have been in widespread use in the United States since then, though the Federal Drug Administration, which regulates the types of implants allowed, relaxed restrictions in 2005.
Silicone implants have never been banned overseas and their supporters say the products have been improved and made safer over the years. There seems little doubt that many United States women have gone abroad for breast augmentation surgery not just because it is 40 to 75 percent less expensive but also because they have wanted the firmer and more realistic silicone gel implants. Costs in the U.S. generally range from about $5,000 to $8,000 and up; the overseas cost is in the $2,000 to $4,000 range.
Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
An arm lift is a procedure to remove loose skin and excess fat deposits in the upper arm. The procedure is most commonly desired by patients who have lost significant weight, leaving them with loose skin in the upper arms. U.S. costs are in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. Overseas, the price range goes from about $1,500 to $4,000.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. The procedure is often combined with liposuction and, done properly, it can more or less eliminate the unwanted flab and loose skin that result from pregnancy. A tummy tuck in the United States can cost $5,000 to $9,000; a tummy tuck abroad can run from $1,500 to $3,500 or so.
Perhaps even more so than with other surgeries and procedures, patients who have a tummy tuck done abroad will need to consider how much recovery time they will need before being able to travel. It is also important that they follow their doctor’s orders regarding recovery. The immediate effect is often disabling; patients may be unable to work for two to four weeks, and may have restricted physical activity longer than that. Anecdotally, I have heard more about complications from tummy tucks and breast augmentations than I have heard of problems resulting from all other plastic surgeries combined and, often, the stories come with the patient’s confession: “I know I tried to do too much, too soon.”
Surgeons can also do “mini tummy tucks” that do not include as much muscle repair and tightening. Tummy tucks can be highly personalized surgeries (as are most major cosmetic procedures.) The procedure is both less invasive and less expensive; surgeons caution that the results are not as emphatic as with a full procedure. The cost in the United States can range from $1,800 to $6,000. The cost abroad can be from $1,200 to $3,000.