Why Can’t I Get Cosmetic Body Contouring at Low to No Cost After My Weight Loss?

Q: I read your blog on plastic surgery after a large amount of weight loss. I’m pretty sure that you broke my heart, but I’m glad you wrote the reality. I am so completely disappointed. I joined a sight that said men donate to women like me for breast lift and breast augmentation surgeries. I now know that it’s hopeless. I am on disability and have no way to pay for these procedures. It would take me many years to save for the procedures I need desperately. I only wish that if medicaid or medicare could understand that these procedures are needed and not just for cosmetic reasons. Having low self esteem, a feeling of complete hopelessness, depression, and anxiety are all factors they should consider too. I really hoped that when I lost most of my weight that I would once again be nice looking. I used to weigh almost 280 pounds and I am now 145 pounds. It did not make one bit of difference because now I have sags and hanging skin. I would do anything to look good and feel confident again. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Please remind people who can and do succeed with their procedures that they are lucky and truely blessed.

A: The unfortunate reality is that cosmetic surgery is not free nor are any health insurances going to pay for elective body contouring surgeries. This is of great disappointment to many massive weight loss patients that understandably feel that their loose hanging skin poses many physical as well as psychological problems. Even in the few body contouring procedures that some insurances may cover, such as a panniculectomy, plastic surgeons are very hesitant to do them because the reimbursements are so low, they take a lot of work with potential complications and there are always medico-legal risks and exposure.   

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana