Will Insurance Pay For My Armlift and Inner Thigh Lifts?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have several body problems that I would like to get rid off. I have lost 100 pounds and have kept it off for 11 years. First, my large batwings are causing strain on my shoulders  I exercise five  days a week but they will  not go away. Will insurance pay for this since I am having it done to decrease my pain and not for  cosmetic reasons. Also the loose shin around my inner thighs is increasing. I also have engorgement of  my varicose veins  I am currently looking to have surgery for these three problems. Will insurance pay for this two also.

A: After a 100 pound weight loss, most patients will suffer loose and redundant skin which can not be exercised off. Such loose skin in the arms and inner thighs is common and can be removed through arm lifts (brachioplasties) and inner thigh lift procedures. It is highly unlikely that either procedure would be covered by insurance. These are viewed as procedures that largely have cosmetic benefits not functional ones. But no plastic surgeon can tell you whether any procedure would be covered by insurance. There is a process known as insurance pre-determination in which the information would be submitted by the consulting plastic surgeon on which your insurance would make the final decision. My experience has never been favorable in that regard. Conversely, the varicose veins should be covered by insurance but you will need to be evaluated and treated by a vascular surgeon for that problem. Varicose vein surgery should not be performed at the same time as the body contouring surgery. It should be done first so that your risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is lessened for the body procedures.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana