How Can I Get A Tummy Tuck After Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had gastric bypass surgery in 2005 and I would love to have a tummy tuck. I’m sure this surgery would help me feel better due to other health conditions I have. I have severe depression, lower back bulging disc with nerve blocks and other health issues that have caused me to become disabled and last year I was approved for S.S.D.I benefits. A tummy tuck is a surgery that I have wanted for years because I have lost a lot of weight. But with the way my tummy looks it makes me feel incomplete and sad. I have pain with the sagging skin with my back and extreme rashes underneath the lower flabby skin around the panty line. Please help. I’m so unhappy with the way I look and feel. Thank you for your time.

A:  Your abdominal situation with your weight loss after bariatric surgery is a common one. The weight loss has been great but the abdominal overhang (pannus) is now a ‘new’ problem. Your description of symptoms is classic and I would have no doubt that a tummy tuck would be of great benefit. Your biggest challenge is getting a tummy tuck is an economic one. By being on disability I would assume that your health insurance is through Medicare or Medicaid. This would require you finding a plastic surgeon who participates in those programs which I do not. Even with private health insurance, there are fewer and fewer plastic surgeons today who will perform this surgery through insurance anymore. In addition, there is also the issue of whether you would qualify for an abdominal panniculectomy/tummy tuck which is an insurance determination not a plastic surgery one.

Dr.  Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana