There’s so much to celebrate after a serious weight loss journey—newfound health, confidence, and a dramatically different lifestyle. But even after working hard to shed all of that weight, pounds and pounds of heavy skin can stick around and cause both physical and psychological pain. Thankfully, excess skin removal surgery can eliminate 15 pounds or more of weight and help you conquer all of your weight loss goals. Below, find out how to get skin removal surgery covered by insurance, as well as other ideas to pay for the expensive procedure.
Facts to know about excess skin removal
- Surgeons have been removing skin and fat since the turn of the century, while liposuction and muscle shaping were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s.
- More than 55,000 body contouring surgeries were performed in 2016.
- There has been nearly a 14% increase in the number of people getting lower body lifts from 2012 to 2017.
- 5.8 million reconstructive surgeries were performed in 2018.
- After an abdominoplasty or panniculectomy, you will need to stay in the hospital anywhere from one night to a week. You will not be able to do heavy lifting or play sports for about six weeks.
- Qualified surgeons will not perform any type of body contouring surgery unless you have maintained a stable weight for at least three to six months.
How much does skin removal surgery cost?
There are quite a few factors that affect the cost of skin removal surgery, but the most common are geographic location, the experience level of the surgeon, and your specific needs. When it comes to skin removal surgery, also known as body contouring surgery, there are a number of different procedures you can choose from, all with different price tags.
An abdominoplasty is one of the most common types of body contouring surgeries, which removes the excess skin and fat from the abdominal area and tightens muscles. A panniculectomy, which only removes excess skin, is also a very common surgery people undergo after extreme weight loss.
Surgical procedure costs:
How much is skin removal surgery, exactly? These are the general baseline costs for the most common plastic surgeries for after weight loss, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons:
- Panniculectomy: $8,000-$15,000
- Lower body lift: $7,900
- Upper arm lift: $3,500
- Thigh lift: $4,500
- Breast lift: $4,200
- Anesthesia fee
- Facility and material costs
- Prescription costs
How to pay for skin removal surgery: three ideas
Any type of surgery is never cheap, but there are several ways to save money, or even get your surgery paid for in full. Below are the top ways to pay for skin removal surgery.
Understanding how to get skin removal surgery covered by insurance isn’t always straightforward. Not every insurance company will pay for this type of surgery, but it might be possible to get all or some of it covered if your doctor can make an argument that this surgery will improve your health and quality of life.
Talk to your doctor
You’ll need to prove that your surgery is medically necessary in order for your insurance company to pay for it, so you’ll want to first speak with your doctor. Begin documenting all the steps you’ve taken to overcome your medical issues so that your doctor can understand that surgery is truly a last resort.
Your doctor will need to provide a record that states your excess skin has caused skin rashes or skin ulcers, back problems, or is generally inhibiting you from participating in normal, daily activities.
Decide which type of surgery is best
Most insurance companies consider an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, a cosmetic procedure and will not cover it. On the other hand, a panniculectomy is usually labeled as a reconstructive procedure, which insurance companies are more likely to pay for. Speak with your doctor about which type of surgery is best for your needs, taking into consideration what your insurance company is most likely to cover.
Work with your insurance company
Find out your summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) to understand if you’ve met your deductible or out-of-pocket maximum, and if your insurance will pay for all or a portion of the surgery. Have the correct insurance code for your surgical procedure handy so there’s no confusion about procedure you’re asking about.
2. Bundle surgeries and pay in cash
Even if your insurance company will pay for your surgery, it’s sometimes more cost-efficient to pay out of pocket if you have a high deductible plan. Paying in cash is also another way to save, as many hospitals and plastic surgery clinics offer small 5-10% cash discounts for paying in cash upfront. Many clinics also offer discounts if you get more than one procedure done at the same time.
3. Give crowdfunding a try
Thousands of people have turned to crowdfunding to get help paying for out of pocket medical expenses or to avoid medical bankruptcy. When insurance coverage fails or you need to raise funds quickly, crowdfunding can be a lifeline.
It’s natural to worry about the shame or embarrassment you might feel after sharing your weight loss story publicly and asking for financial support. But if you’ve worked hard to shed extra weight and live a healthier life, you’ll likely find that your family and friends will be excited to support you through this final leg of your weight loss journey.
These are just a few people who asked their networks to help them pay for skin removal surgery and received an outpouring of support:
At 23 years old, Brittany embarked on an incredible weight loss journey that changed her life. But after losing over 300 pounds, she was left with folds of extra skin that caused her pain, discomfort, and limited her ability to lead a fulfilling life. After her claims for insurance coverage were denied, Brittany turned to crowdfunding and raised over $11,500 to remove her excess skin.
Jesse weighed 700 pounds and hadn’t left his house in years when he came across a bodybuilding website that sparked something in him. He decided to change his life and lost nearly 400 pounds. The quick and dramatic weight loss left him with pounds of excess skin that caused pain when exercising and gave him serious rashes. Unable to afford the $20,000 surgery, Jesse launched an online fundraiser and smashed his goal, raising $20,755 for the life-changing procedure.
Find financial relief for weight loss surgery today
You’ve worked hard to lose weight and get healthy—and you deserve to feel confident and healthy in your new body. If you don’t know how to pay for skin removal surgery, GoFundMe can help. You can create a free fundraiser in minutes, and our sharing tools make it simple to reach out to your network. Sign up today and complete the final step of your weight loss journey.