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With having gastric bypass two years ago resulting in a large amount of weight loss, will insurance pay for a tummy tuck now?

Q:

I had gastric bypass almost two years ago and lost a lot of weight.  I now have a lot of sagging body tissue - will insurance pay for a tummy tuck for me now?

A:

Since an abdominoplasty is a cosmetic/aesthetic procedure, it is not normally covered by insurance. What they might cover is called a panniculectomy. A panniculectomy is the simple removal of the excessive skin of the lower abdomen. It is not normally considered a cosmetic or aesthetic procedure. A panniculectomy is not an abdominoplasty. Results are extremely different. Panniculectomies can produce a less than optimal cosmetic result and can be somewhat difficult to correct. An abdominoplasty often includes several other components such as tightening of the abdominal wall, liposuction and contouring of the abdomen and belly button thereby often producing a more appealing result.

Understand that tummy tucks are not minor procedures. Tummy tucks can be one of the more extensive procedures in plastic surgery. At the time of an abdominoplasty your plastic surgeon usually tightens or placates the abdominal wall musculature that was loosened during pregnancy. Liposuction of the flanks of the abdomen is often performed to contour a patient's waist. The excessive/redundant lower abdominal skin is removed with the belly button or umbilicus positioned centrally to produce that appealing youthful abdomen. Recovery can take several weeks to months for you to be back up to full speed.

Make sure to get what you want even if your insurance carrier may not cover the procedure and that you are a good candidate by contacting a local member of the AASPS in your area. They are experts in body contouring procedures like tummy tucks.

Best,

Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

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