You want a flat stomach, but no matter how many sit-ups you do, you don’t see the results you want. Maybe it’s the stubborn wall of fat on your abdomen. Or maybe, if you’ve lost a lot of weight, you have a saggy pouch of skin that’s lost its elasticity.
You can’t get rid of that skin naturally ― you have to get a tummy tuck. Scientifically, tummy tucks are called “abdominoplasty,” where the surgeon flattens the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin while tightening the muscles along the abdomen’s wall. It’s major surgery, so keep the following tips in mind before undergoing one.
How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates the average cost of a tummy tuck to be $6,253 in 2018.
However, the type of tummy tuck you get factors into the cost of the procedure. A mini tummy tuck will cost less than a standard or extended one, as the mini tummy tuck is less invasive and requires less anesthesia. The extended tummy tuck, understandably, will cost the most due to its invasiveness.
The consultation fees and pre-surgery health checks will also contribute to the cost. You might have to see your physician multiple times to get the green light for surgery.
Of course, certain plastic surgeons cost more than others. The surgeon’s experience will factor greatly into their price tag, along with the geographic location of the office. If you undergo complications during surgery (which we hope won’t happen), that will also augment the final price.
Finally, you must have the proper help to assist you in your daily needs after surgery, such as feeding, dressing, and bathing you, along with transporting you and cleaning your living space. Painkillers and other soothing medications or devices are also strongly recommended after surgery.
Take the estimated price tag of $6,253 to be of just the surgery itself, not what’s needed before or after the surgery. Therefore, be sure to consider extraneous costs when planning a tummy tuck.
What’s Included in the Cost of a Tummy Tuck?
Typically, the tummy tuck includes the anesthetic fees, hospital and surgical costs, the surgeon’s fee, medical tests, post-surgery garments, and prescription medications. Different hospitals and surgeons will be cheaper than others.
In some circumstances, you could pay about $3,000 for the surgery. In others, $12,000. It’s tempting to cut tummy tuck costs by going to another country for the operation, such as Mexico, but it’s best to pay for higher-quality surgeons in the U.S. and Canada as opposed to getting the lowest price. Medical surgeries should not be something to skimp out on.
Can a Tummy Tuck Be Covered By Insurance?
Typically, no. Most insurance companies consider abdominoplasty a cosmetic procedure, which is not covered under their insurance policies.
If excess abdominal skin interferes with daily functioning, such as self-cleaning or grooming, your insurance could consider covering a tummy tuck. People with hernias could have a portion of a tummy tuck covered by insurance as well, in addition to if excess skin leads to back pain or dermatitis.
Is a Tummy Tuck Covered By Medicare?
No, as Medicare considers abdominoplasty a cosmetic surgery. The only case in which Medicare could cover a tummy tuck would be through a panniculectomy, which involves removing excess abdominal skin without tightening abdominal muscles. This would only be considered if the patient underwent bariatric surgery or lost over 100 pounds.
What to Do Before A Tummy Tuck Surgery
Before undergoing a tummy tuck, see if you can forgo the operation. For those who are still young and losing weight, your skin’s collagen could bounce back after the change in weight. But if you’re dieting and exercise and still seeing sagging skin, a tummy tuck might be necessary to achieve a flat stomach.
Consult with a plastic surgeon who offers abdominoplasty services. Talk with your surgeon about what results you would like to see in your body. Do you want just the skin tightened, or do you want fat removed as well? What about tightened abdominal muscles?
Talk with your surgeon about what you foresee in the future as well, as weight gain or pregnancy can hinder tummy tuck longevity. It’s unlikely you’re going to plan serious weight gain unless you’re, say, an actor or a certain type of athlete. But if you plan on getting pregnant within the next couple of years, hold off on a tummy tuck.
Also, remember that tummy tucks involve a long scar running horizontally between your hip bones. If your scars don’t fade or you don’t like the appearance of scars, a tummy tuck can cause another type of self-consciousness. Tummy tuck scars can usually be covered up with pants or high-waisted underwear, but think carefully about how the scar could affect intra- or interpersonal intimacy.
Do the Necessary Prep Work
Before you can go in for your tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon might ask you to get lab tests done or undergo a physical to ensure you’re healthy enough to handle this type of surgery. They’ll also ask what kind of medications you’re on, and whether or not you should stop taking those medications before the surgery date.
If you smoke, it would be best for you to stop before a tummy tuck. Cease taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs as they thin the blood and increase bleeding.
Finally, ensure you have reliable transportation to and from the surgery if you have it at an outpatient facility. Also have someone who can assist you after the surgery, as you won’t be able to bend down or lift items very far. You’ll have to wear an abdominal binder within the first week of the operation, which includes drains to remove excess fluid.
Arranging pre- and post-operation transportation, along with help, might cost you a bit more if you need to hire people. Consider these two needs when calculating the cost of your tummy tuck.