Why a Tummy Tuck?
Our society places a high value on having a flat abdomen. Those who have been unable to achieve this, despite being thin and fit, can feel very frustrated and experience a drop in self-esteem. Additionally, there are two groups of people who’ve experienced changes in their body that might make a tummy tuck desirable: pregnant women and those who’ve lost a lot of weight.
Some women experience dramatic stretching of the skin and separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy. After pregnancy, while the woman may lose the “baby weight” and become fit again, her abdomen might not look like it did before pregnancy. When she’s done having all of the children she wants, she may choose a tummy tuck to help her regain her pre-baby body, and feel attractive and confident again.
Additionally, a person who loses a significant amount of weight (through bariatric surgery or other methods) will often experience sagging throughout the body, which may be uncomfortable and aesthetically displeasing. Because excess weight is commonly stored in the abdomen, there is often quite a significant amount of extra skin in that area after weight loss. After working so hard to lose weight, most people would like their body to look fit and toned rather than saggy. Women and men may choose a tummy tuck in order to firm the body and achieve the look they’ve been searching for. Some who’ve lost a lot of weight combine their tummy tuck with other procedures, such as a lower body lift and/or upper arm lift.
If you’re choosing a tummy tuck, make sure you’re choosing it because you really want it, not to please someone else or to fit an imagined ideal. No one else can make the choice for you; it’s your body, and you’re in charge of it. After you do your research and understand the procedure, if you believe that a tummy tuck is right for you, then proceed. You can learn more about the tummy tuck procedure, its risks and benefits, in our Education Wiki.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average surgeon’s fee for a tummy tuck is $5,217. Keep in mind that this is only an average; it varies by region and by individual surgeon, so you should check with the surgeon(s) you’re considering to determine their exact fee for the procedure. Ask what’s included in that fee, to make sure you aren’t surprised by extra costs when you get the bill later.
Some patients are surprised to find out that the surgeon’s fee isn’t necessarily the only expense they’ll need to consider for their tummy tuck. There may be anesthesia costs and operating room or hospital fees that aren’t included in the surgeon’s fee. Medications (for example, pain medication, or antibiotics) may also be an extra cost. In some cases, you also have to pay separately for your postsurgical garments. If any medical testing is required, this could also be a separate cost. A few surgeons may not include your preoperative and postoperative appointments in their fee, although most do include these visits to ensure that you’re adequately cared for. You should ask what all of the fees will be before your procedure, so that you aren’t surprised when the bill comes.
It’s also important to make sure you have access to a little extra money, via financing or savings, in case you have medical complications from the surgery (for instance, if you develop an infection). Your insurance usually will not cover complications from an elective surgery. While complications from this surgery are not common, they do happen to a few people, and so you should be prepared in case that rare person is you.
Will Insurance Cover It?
In most cases, insurance will not cover your tummy tuck. Sometimes, if the excess skin on the abdomen is causing rashes and sores to form in the folds, and other types of medical treatment have not been adequate, insurance may pay at least for part of the tummy tuck. You can call your insurance company to be sure. Usually, you’ll need to pay all of the costs above: the surgeon’s fee, any extra fees, and any postoperative complications that may arise.
What Are the Financing Options?
To many people, paying thousands of dollars up front seems impossible. However, if you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. Many physicians offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have. For more details about the financing options for your procedure, check out our Plastic Surgery Financing page.