When people think of breast surgery, their minds typically assume the procedure is being done for aesthetic reasons. However, many women also opt to undergo breast surgery for functional purposes. As a board-certified surgeon, I routinely perform both functional and aesthetic breast surgery procedures for my patients. Today, we’ll take a look at the key differences between the two. (Note – this will not discuss breast reconstruction following mastectomy breast removal – usually related to breast cancer).
Aesthetic Breast Surgery
As you’ve probably guessed, aesthetic breast surgeries are done solely for cosmetic reasons. The procedure can produce results that are as subtle or as dramatic as you’d like. During surgery, I’ll be able to reshape or resize the overall appearance of your breasts. The breasts can be enlarged or reduced, refilled after weight loss or pregnancy, as well as lifted and re-shaped. Breast surgery is a highly custom procedure tailored to your individual goals.
Aesthetic breast surgeries are almost always done on an outpatient basis and involve minimal pain, side effects, or downtime. Initial results can be seen immediately with significant improvement over the course of several weeks. Patients typically return to work (office type work – not physical work) in as little as three days. Breast Surgeries give patients long-lasting results often lasting a lifetime.
Functional Breast Surgery
Functional Breast Surgery is performed for functional purposes, typically to deal with extremely large breasts, or breasts which during development produce a very odd, misshapen form. Patients generally are interested in being able to participate in athletic activities, and reduce the stress on the shoulders, back, and neck, both of which can be hampered by large breasts. With misshapen breasts, patients are interested in having normal looking breasts to reduce anxiety and embarrassment as well as improving self-confidence. Much like Aesthetic Breast Surgery, surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, recovery is relatively quick, and the results are long lasting.
Breast Surgery Consultations Available
Insurance does not cover cosmetic breast surgery. It may cover some of the cost of Functional Breast Surgery. The insurance issue is always a major source of frustration for both patients and surgeons. The decision of whether a surgery is cosmetic/aesthetic or functional is made by the insurance company and not the patient, patient’s employer, or surgeon. At your consultation, we can discuss the likelihood of obtaining insurance coverage, but ultimately that will be decided by your insurance company. Often, a process known as pre-authorization, where medical records, photographs, and a request letter, are sent to your insurance company in advance of the surgery, can assist you in determining your out of pocket expenses. Dr. Barnett is not a “participating physician” with any insurance companies, and while our office will work with you while you try to obtain pre-authorization, the patient remains responsible for communicating with their insurance company and for all costs related to my surgical fees and non insurance covered hospital and anesthesiologist fees. Our office will provide you with a quote for your surgery based on self-pay (not insurance pay) pricing. Dr. Barnett’s fees are fixed, and the hospital, surgery center, and anesthesiologists have fixed hourly rates for self-pay patients. Dr. Barnett’s fees do not vary if you can or cannot obtain insurance coverage. With insurance, hospital, surgery center, and anesthesiology fees do vary based on negotiated agreements and the negotiated fees may be higher or lower than the self-pay fees. We can discuss this with you further at your appointment.
What’s Right for Me?
In most cases, patients typically come into my office with an understanding of the goals they’d like to achieve whether they’re functional or aesthetic. We will spend quite a bit of time educating you about the process, anticipated results, recovery time risks and potential complications. This holds whether your issues are Aesthetic or Cosmetic. Your satisfaction is our goal.
I’ve known Dr.Barnett as a child and now as a woman, I made the decision to get a breast augmentation. He was the first person I thought of to do the job. I can’t thank him enough for the awesome job he has done. It has built my confidence through the roof. He as well as the receptionist were very attentive and called to check up on me. From the beginning of my consultations to the end result I have felt so relaxed and happy with him and his performance. I recommend him to all and was truly blessed with an amazing recovery! The compliments I have received on how good they look and how great of a job he’s done is overwhelming..happy is all I can say after having them for 8 months now !!! Please get in touch with him if you’re thinking of getting one done!!
Take the Next Step
Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 943-0749. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!
*Individual results may vary.