Getting A Free Boob Job In The UK
Contrary to popular belief, breast augmentation for purely cosmetic reasons is not readily available on the NHS in the UK. In the past, women who suffered detrimental psychological effects as a result of a small bust size could receive breast augmentation on the NHS under the supervision of a psychiatrist.
However, today the high costs and potential risks associated with breast augmentation, coupled with the exploitation of the system, means that it is very rare for the NHS to offer them to patients for purely cosmetic reasons.
Can I Get Breast Enlargement On The NHS?
In extreme cases of underdevelopment or asymmetry that cause severe psychological distress it may still be possible to receive a boob job on the NHS. The first step is to see your GP, who will assess your situation and may refer you to a plastic surgeon if they believe there is a clinical need. Ultimately, the availability in your area will depend on the policy of your local clinical commissioning group (CCG), who will make the final decision on a case by case basis.
Watch Mr David Floyd, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, explain what makes a patient eligible for a breast augmentation on the NHS:
"One question I’m often asked is whether the patient can get breast augmentation on the NHS. It used to be available for patients with absolutely no breast development, but it has now been removed from the list of available procedures.
The only time we would use breast implants on the NHS is for patients with breast asymmetry, so someone who has developed a breast on one side but nothing on the other, that’s considered a development abnormality and the NHS is happy to treat that. For patients who have just developed with small breasts, they are no longer considered suitable for treatment on the NHS, so the answer to that is no."
Mr David Floyd, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital
Breast augmentation is, however, more readily available on the NHS for reconstructive surgery following mastectomy, after a cancer diagnosis for example.
In 2014-2015 the NHS undertook 7,200 procedures of breast reconstruction, the total cost for this was £52,736,058. This is a vital resource for patients who have survived cancer to rebuild their lives. Unfortunately the vast majority of cosmetic breast augmentation surgeries are undertaken privately at cosmetic surgery clinics, costing the patient on average £3645-5000, plus any follow-up consultations and care needed.
Breast reduction is a procedure more readily available on the NHS, but only in cases where there is a medical need for such a procedure, such as:
- Back or neck pain
- Poor posture
- An inability to participate in sports or exercise
- Rashes, skin infections and excessive sweating under your breasts
- Grooves on your shoulders from bra straps
The availability in your area will always depend on your local CCG, which will ultimately make the final decision on a case by case basis. The first step in this process is to talk to your GP about any medical issues your large breasts are giving you, such as back pain or skin sores.
Your GP should then then refer you to a plastic surgeon (and possibly a psychiatrist to ensure you are adequately and mentally prepared for the procedure). Once accepted, you will be scheduled for a breast reduction with a plastic surgery team who will discuss the procedure, the risks and the recovery involved.
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What Should I Do If I Qualify For Breast Augmentation On The NHS?
As with any type of surgery, breast augmentation does carry with it a level of risk. These include risks can occur during the surgery, or that may appear following the surgery as a result of issues with the implants themselves. One such risk is a capsular contraction, which occurs when the scar tissue around the implant begins to shrink. While this is natural, too much shrinkage can cause the implant to harden, or in serious cases rupture.
Another common risk is a gel leakage, which happens to a certain extent with all implants. This is when small molecules separate from the implant, and move into the surrounding tissue. This can result in swelling, and in severe cases, infection.
Before and after your surgery your surgeon and clinic will be on hand, ensuring that you have full support and peace of mind throughout the entire procedure.
Speaking To A Professional
If you are contemplating undergoing breast augmentation, you should make an appointment with your GP for a discussion. They will be able to talk you through your options, including whether or not having the procedure carried out on the NHS is a possibility, and provide you with more information about the surgery itself. If your GP is in agreement that you could be a candidate for cosmetic surgery, they will refer you to a specialist consultant (there may be a substantial wait time before you are able to receive an appointment).
During this appointment, you can discuss in detail your expectations for the surgery, at which point the consultant will be able to confirm whether or not these are realistic. From there, if you are happy to proceed, they will begin proceedings and schedule your appointment.
Even if you opt for private care, speaking with your GP is still a wise choice, as they are aware of your family history and other facts about your general health that could be important to your decision.
If you’re searching for a breast reconstruction this could be carried out during your mastectomy. The advantages of this are that you’ll only have one aesthetic, surgery stay and recovery period. However due to the extensive procedure your recovery period could be longer. If you have radiotherapy after you mastectomy, your doctor will advise you to wait until it’s finished to have a breast reconstruction.
What Are My Options If I Don’t Go Through The NHS?
How Can I Get Breast Augmentation?
There are thousands of private clinics nationwide performing more than 30,000 breast augmentation procedures in the UK each year. This surgery typically costs around £3,645-5000, with many clinics offering finance packages to make the procedure more affordable. Some examples of the finance deals on offer are listed below:
Transform offer breast augmentation ranging from £3,845 to over £5,000 depending on the procedure available through their 0% interest free credit finance offer (a minimum of £1,000 deposit is needed).
The Harley Medical Group
The Harley Medical group offer breast augmentation starting from £3,990 with finance deals available with a typical 9.9% APR (a minimum of £500 deposit is needed).
Spire Healthcare offer breast augmentation (prices available on request depending on the procedure) which is available through a 0% interest free credit finance offer from First Medical Loans.
Surgicare Medical Group
The Surgicare Medical Group offer breast augmentation starting from £3,545 depending on the procedure for which a payment plan is available.