American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
5 years ago

Body lift and breast reduction

How long is these surgeries? I do beleive medicare and medicaid will cover the cost. Ive had a rous and y gastric bybass about 11 years ago. The extra skin is heavy on me and these surgies will help with my disc degenerate disease.

Procedure: Body Contouring

Replies 4

Alex Lechtman
ASPS Surgeon

Hi Lunarpeace! Every person is different so it's hard to say how long the operations are without seeing you. That being said, a breast reduction typically takes about 2-3 hours and a full body lift between 4-5 hours. To have insurance cover it, it's helpful to document any rashes caused by the skin on skin contact. Also, I'm not aware that insurance will cover these kind of operations for degenerative disk disease but may for back, neck and shoulder pain. Best option is to talk with a Plastic Surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If they can't show you this certificate, they are NOT a Plastic Surgeon. Good Luck.

Dallas Buchanan
ASPS Surgeon

Thank you for your questions. Congrats on your weight loss and I can certainly understand the problems created with excess skin after this procedure. Insurance sometimes covers a breast reduction if you meet the insurance criteria (different with every plan) but you would need a referral to a plastic surgeon to discuss this. In regards to the abdomen, all insurance covers is a panniculectomy which only includes removal of skin that hangs below the natural waistline and this often requires strict criteria and documentation to be covered. They do not cover additional skin removal procedures such as a tummy tuck or body lift under any circumstances and this is something that is very frustrating for patients to understand because many of them are misled into thinking that insurance will cover any skin removal needs. Make sure to have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options.

Dallas R. Buchanan, MD, FACS

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Jason Petrungaro
ASPS Surgeon
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Thanks for the question. A breast reduction usually takes about 3 hours when performed by one surgeon (and can be a little shorter or a little longer depending on the size of the breasts). A body lift usually takes about 5 hours when performed by one surgeon. Medicare/Medicaid may cover your breast reduction if you meet specific requirements for the surgery, such as documented rashes under the breasts, primary care doctor notes stating you have neck and shoulder pain, physical therapy notes stating you are having issues from your large breasts, and reaching a minimum breast size before they will approve the surgery. No insurance will pay for a body lift or a tummy tuck. You may be able to have a panniculectomy covered if you meet requirements similar to the breast reduction. I echo Dr. Buchanan's comments in that unfortunately many weight loss patients are promised by their other doctors that insurance will pay for these surgeries and that is just not the case. Best wishes!

Jon Ver Halen

Dear Lunarpeace,

Hello and thank you for your excellent question. It certainly sounds as though you may be a good candidate for these procedures, given your description. However, it is unlikely that insurance will cover them. It is essential that you have an in-person consultation to develop a treatment plan that specifically addresses your personal surgical goals, and your body’s anatomy. I recommend that you find a board-certified, or board-eligible plastic surgeon with whom you are comfortable. Be sure to have all of your questions answered during a face-to-face meeting with your surgeon, and review before and after pictures of similar patients whom have had this procedure. If you have any questions, call our office for assistance. Good luck!


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