Is Shoulder Narrowing Surgery Covered By Insurance?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Hello! I am a trans woman. I am extremely interested in your work on shoulder reduction surgery and I find myself consistently returning back to the few photos you have of before and afters online.

I have two questions for you, which I hope can be answered: 

1. Are there more photos of before and after results from further away than just the shoulders available so i can get a better idea of what results will be like with respect to the entire body? Your case study post on the trans woman was exceptionally enlightening, but I would like to see a few more in order to decide if it’s something i actually want. I am curious how this surgery improves the shoulder to hip ratio and whether it can help shift patients from a more triangular body type to one more hourglass or pear shaped. Below is the case study i am discussing. Being able to see how she looked in the mirror helped quite a bit, but I think the most enlightening pictures would show full body shots. 

2. Have you had any experience getting this procedure covered by insurance? I have Blue Cross Blue shield, which recently updated its policy to cover breast augmentation for trans women, as well as a few other affirming procedures, but I know as this procedure is relatively new it may be some time before we ever see it formally implemented into insurance policies. If any individuals you have seen previously for this surgery have managed to get it covered somehow, I would love to hear some anecdotes about their experience and how they may have accomplished this. 

As of now, this procedure is really one of the only things i’ve ever wanted, and would relieve years of painful dysphoria I’ve experienced as a result of my shoulders. Its effected me to the extent I find it progressively harder to focus and has impaired me in school and my social life because it has followed me wherever I go. If I could relieve this I can imagine my life would improve significantly. 

Anything you could do with respect to above would be absolutely fantastic! Please let me know when you can. 

A: In answer to your shoulder narrowing questions:

1) In respect of patient’s privacy I am limited as to the views I can show. In addition since all of my patients are not local, there is no return for an actual in office followup. All such followups are done in a virtual manner by Zoom.

2) I do not participate in insurance so I can not comment on whether shoulder narrowing surgery would be so covered.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana