Also known as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a type of surgical procedure we perform at Chicago Aesthetic Surgery Institute in Rosemont, IL, to tighten the muscles while removing loose skin and fat from the abdomen. This procedure can help improve the contour of the abdomen by reducing the appearance of a protruding belly.
A tummy tuck is a helpful procedure for those dealing with unwanted excess skin and fat on their abdomen, but the cost is a significant barrier for many. This article explains how to get a tummy tuck covered by insurance.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
In a tummy tuck procedure, excess fat and skin are removed from the body while weakened or separated abdominal muscles are tightened. This is especially beneficial for women whose abdominals have separated due to pregnancy. Tummy tucks provide a smoother and firmer abdominal profile.
There are a few variations of tummy tuck procedures, including:
- Traditional tummy tuck
- Mini abdominoplasty
- Extended abdominoplasty
The type of procedure you receive will depend on the type of correction needed and your aesthetic goals.
Understanding How a Tummy Tuck Procedure Works
During a tummy tuck, we make an incision above the pubic area, from one hip bone to another. The skin is then lifted so that we can access the weakened abdominal muscles in order to repair and stitch them. Then, the skin is draped back over the newly sculpted abdomen, and excess skin is removed.
For full abdominoplasty surgery, a second incision may be made around the navel to remove excess skin from the upper abdominal area.
During a mini abdominoplasty, we use smaller incisions and focus on removing excess skin and fat below the navel. Mini tummy tucks are suitable for individuals who have a small amount of abdominal fat they want to remove, but don’t necessarily have significant laxity of the abdominal muscles.
How to Get Your Tummy Tuck Covered by Insurance
Typically, tummy tucks are considered cosmetic procedures by insurance providers, meaning they won’t cover abdominoplasty. There are exceptions, however, especially when a tummy tuck surgery is deemed a medical necessity. Here are some examples.
When a Tummy Tuck Isn’t Just About Cosmetics
If you can prove your tummy tuck isn’t just for cosmetic purposes but valid medical reasons, there’s an increased chance your insurance will cover it. For example, if you have a hernia that we can correct during the surgery or if you have chronic rashes under the skin folds that aren’t responding to other treatments, you may be eligible for insurance coverage.
Following Pregnancy or Significant Weight Loss
After pregnancy or significant weight loss, you may have excess skin causing health issues or physical discomfort. During pregnancy, your body goes through several changes in order to accommodate the growing fetus.
One such change is in the abdominal muscles, which can separate to make room. When this happens, it results in a condition called diastasis recti. When significant separation happens, it frequently results in a noticeable “pooch” or bulge in the abdominal area following childbirth.
Diastasis recti don’t necessarily pose serious health concerns, but it can cause lower back pain, urinary incontinence, and constipation. It can also lead to a lack of core strength, making exercise and other forms of physical movement difficult – if not impossible.
When you carry a lot of excess skin after significant weight loss, the weight of the skin can weigh on your joints, causing chronic pain and leading to potential health issues. If you can demonstrate that a tummy tuck will provide a solution to these problems, your insurance may be able to cover the procedure.
Documentation Is Key for Insurance-Covered Abdominoplasty Surgery
In order to make the above examples work, you need a thorough medical record indicating the symptoms you’re experiencing, what treatments you’ve tried, and what their outcomes have been. Photos, physician notes, and any other forms of documentation can support your case for a medically necessary tummy tuck. Make sure every doctor on your care team can provide detailed, written statements explaining why a tummy tuck surgery is medically necessary for you.
Before scheduling your tummy tuck, you must go through a pre-approval process with your insurance company. This process involves submitting:
- A letter from us outlining why you need the surgery
- Your medical history
- Any other relevant documentation requested by your insurance company
The insurance company then reviews your request before making a decision.
Navigating the Insurance Maze
Navigating the insurance process is certainly challenging, but it isn’t impossible. Start by reading your insurance policy thoroughly, so you understand what options are covered. Don’t hesitate to contact your insurance company to speak with an agent, so you can directly ask questions and get answers.
By working closely with our office, we’ll use our experience dealing with insurance companies to provide you with valuable guidance. You can also consider hiring an insurance navigator or patient advocate if you become too overwhelmed by the process.
Insured Tummy Tucks in Rosemont, IL
Getting a tummy tuck covered by insurance can be challenging, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Remember that each insurance company and policy is different, so it’s important that you do your own research to understand your policy and what your options are.
Of course, working closely with your healthcare provider can also make an important difference. At Chicago Aesthetic Surgery Institute, we have extensive experience helping our patients navigate the insurance maze so that they can get the procedures they want and need. Contact us today to learn more.