With the airing of the reality series Botched, plastic surgery is now accessible to everyone. Each week, in the privacy of our own living rooms, men and women sit down and bare all to Dr. Terry Dubrow and Dr. Paul Nassif hoping to have their dreams repaired and bodies restored after having plastic surgery “gone bad”. Technically, the show is great. With easy to understand explanations by the surgeons of what can or cannot be done for each case, and what the patient will encounter during and after the procedure. What you never get an idea of, however, is the cost entailed in these often, very complicated cases.
More than once, surgical mesh has been mentioned and used on the Botched series. Introduced with FDA approval in 2014, surgical mesh is used to reinforce weak or otherwise compromised tissue, particularly in breast surgery. Dr. Gilbert Lee of Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa has been using mesh since that time to bolster the success of breast reconstruction and augmentation and ensure his patients have the best result possible. (Read How Mesh Improves Results in Breast Surgery)
Mesh is commonly made from either human cadaver or pigskin and more recently from silk – and all sources are pricey. The national average for straight breast augmentation is approximately $6500 with the average reconstruction costing $14,000. Surgical mesh is additional.
The price of a mesh is dependent on the size of the sheet. Strattice™, which is porcine-derived, can cost the patient an additional $3500 to $4200. Alloderm® from human source ranges from $3700 to $5000. Seri® Scaffolding Mesh is made from silk. An approximate fee for a 10 x 25 cm. sheet is approximately $4700. Dr. Lee frequently uses TIGR® Matrix Surgical Mesh which is made of synthetic material and is resorbable.
A 20 x 30 cm sheet adds an additional $2000 to the cost of breast surgery. Dr. Lee creates a cup-like shape from the mesh which then acts as an internal bra for support.
Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of money involved in using mesh in breast surgery. What is important to keep in mind is that mesh is usually called in when revising a previous breast surgery. Whether reconstruction after mastectomy or a re-do breast augmentation from implants that have migrated or contracted, a second surgery is going to be performed. Surgical mesh scaffolding provides a better chance of a great result and less of a chance of having to face the third surgery. When seen from this standpoint, the money you spend on a mesh is worth the price of a lasting and satisfying result.
For more information on surgical mesh in breast surgery, please visit www.changesplasticsurgery.com or call us at 858-720-1440. Gilbert Lee, M.D. is a triple board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa in San Diego, CA.