Abdominoplasty, which is more commonly known as a “tummy tuck”, is a cosmetic surgical procedure which is designed to remove excess fat and skin from the abdominal area and tighten the abdominal muscles.
Although the surgery is usually performed for aesthetic reasons, there are also functional benefits for individuals who have lost a lot of weight and have a lot of excess skin. Additionally, for individuals who have weakened abdominal muscles due to pregnancy, abdominoplasty can help to strengthen them again.
In this article, we will discuss the factors which affect the cost of abdominoplasty, as well as advantages and disadvantages to having the procedure done. We will also outline a range of financing options so that you can come to the conclusion yourself, if you think that the cost is worth it.
Factors that affect the cost of abdominoplasty
The average cost of abdominoplasty in the United States is between $6000 to $7000. However, this cost can vary based on a multitude of factors, which will be discussed below.
- The Geographic Location
Depending on where you live, the cost of abdominoplasty can vary. As a general rule, procedures performed in areas with a higher cost of living are going to be more expensive than those performed in less affluent areas. For example, if you have the surgery performed in Manhattan or Beverly Hills, it will cost you more than if you have it performed in a small town in the Midwest or Deep South.
Depending on your budget and how much more expensive surgery is where you live, it could work out cheaper traveling to an area where the procedure will be cheaper – even with the the cost of transport there, you could still end up paying less overall than if you have the surgery done in an expensive area.
- Experience of the Surgeon
The surgeon’s experience is also another factor which can increase the overall cost of an abdominoplasty. Surgeons who are more experienced – and have a higher level of expertise – typically charge more for their services.
Similarly, surgeons who specialize in abdominoplasty may charge more than general plastic surgeons. Of course, surgeons who have high profiles, or have performed this surgery on high-profile clients like athletes, musicians and other celebrities are also more likely to charge more.
- Type of Abdominoplasty
There are two primary types of abdominoplasty: a full one, and a mini one.
The full “tummy tuck” involves the removal of excess skin and fat from both the upper and lower abdomen, whereas a mini one only removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen.
Naturally, the full procedure costs more than the mini one. It is therefore important to consider which type of abdominoplasty you would like before committing to one simply based on the price of it.
- Additional Procedures
Any additional procedures will also increase the cost of the abdominoplasty. For example, if you decide to have liposuction or a breast lift performed at the same time, you can expect to pay the individual prices for these surgeries, on top of the cost of your abdominoplasty. This can lead to costing you thousands of dollars in extra costs.
It is important for you to decide if you are just going along for the abdominoplasty, or if you would like other procedures performed at the same time. Consulting with your surgeon is the best idea, so that you can see if the other surgeries are possible at the same time, while also getting an idea of the overall cost.
- Anesthetic Costs
The cost of anesthesia can also impact the overall cost of the procedure. For an abdominoplasty, general anesthesia is used. General anesthesia is the type of anesthetic which puts you to sleep while the surgery is performed. Local anesthetic – where you are awake during the procedure – is not typically used for an abdominoplasty.
You can expect to pay more on this basis alone than other similar types of surgeries, as general anesthetic is more expensive than local anesthetic.
- Hospital or Medical Center Fees
The fees that a hospital, medical center or clinic charges can also affect the overall cost of the procedure.
For example, hospitals will charge more than a clinic – and these fees will go up should you need a hospital bed or an extended stay. If you can go home on the same day, you will save money. Hospitals charge more than medical centers and clinics because they have more specialized equipment and higher running costs.
- Post-surgery Additional Expenses
Other expenses to take into consideration (which will increase the average cost of $6000 to $7000) include postoperative lab work, hospital garments, or any other additional medical supplies or medicines needed during the recovery process.
An external post-surgery factor which can increase the overall cost is if you need to take time off of work. For example, if you do not have access to sick pay, or paid holiday, you may have to take time off of work to properly recover from the surgery, which can mean that you will be off of work with little to no pay for an extended period of time.
It is important that you factor this into your overall cost of the surgery, and how long you can afford to take off of work. As a general rule, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover from abdominoplasty. However, if you have a physical job such as a manual labor type job in the construction industry, you may need to take more time off of work.
With costs increasing everywhere, it is important that you know which financial options are available to you.
Many plastic surgeons offer financing options in order to help patients pay for the cost of their procedures. These can include payment plans, where you will pay a certain amount a month (usually plus interest) until the full amount is paid off after so many months or years.
Additional payment options can see you pay through a third-party provider. It is also worth checking with your medical or health insurance provider to see if they will cover any of the costs, and if so, how much. If you are having the procedure done purely for cosmetic reasons, it is unlikely that your insurance provider will pay any of the costs. However, if you are having the procedure done for medical or functional reasons, it is worth seeing if your insurance will cover any of the cost for you.
Credit cards and personal loans are also an option when it comes to paying for abdominoplasty, although it is highly recommended that you try any other method beforehand as you can incur huge amounts of personal debt and loans and credit cards often come with incredibly high interest rates.
However, before committing to any financing options, it is imperative to review the terms and conditions of them beforehand, so that you fully understand the repayment conditions, including the timeframe in which you have to repay the full amount, as well as interest rates and any other additional fees associated with the financing.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Abdominoplasty
Like with any surgical procedure, there are both pros and cons to abdominoplasty, which are listed below.
Pros of Abdominoplasty
- Increased Self-Confidence: Many people who have had the procedure done have stated that they have experienced higher levels of self-esteem and confidence, thanks to the improved look of their abdomen.
- Improved Body Contour: Abdominoplasty can improve the overall appearance of the abdominal area, resulting in a more toned and defined appearance.
- Improved Physical Comfort: Removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal area can also lead to improved physical comfort, especially for those individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight, or have previously had their abdominal muscles weakened from pregnancy.
- Long-lasting Results: The results from abdominoplasty are generally long-lasting, more so if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet following the procedure.
Cons of Abdominoplasty
- Recovery Time: As was mentioned earlier, the recovery time from abdominoplasty is typically longer than that of other similar cosmetic procedures. As well as taking time off of work, you will also need to be careful with other physical activities for quite a while, which can be a significant disadvantage if you work in a physical environment, or enjoy playing sports outside of your work.
- Scarring: Because abdominoplasty involves incisions in the abdominal area, this can lead to visible scarring. Like any scars, although they may fade over time, they might never fully disappear, so are you likely to have them for life.
- Potential Complications: Like any surgical procedure, there are potential complications and risks associated with abdominoplasty. Some of these include anesthesia complications, infection and bleeding. While these are very rare complications, they can still be serious nonetheless.
- Weight Gain: Although the whole point of the surgery is to remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, abdominoplasty does not prevent weight gain. If you put on a significant amount of weight following the procedure, you may experience the return of your abdominal fat, thus rendering the procedure futile. It is important to stick to a healthy lifestyle and diet following it to really appreciate the results.
Abdominoplasty can be an effective way to improve your body contour, self-confidence and physical comfort to name just a few advantages. And yes, although it does come with certain risks attached like weight gain, scarring and potential complications, it is still a worthwhile procedure to have if you have been considering it.
From a financial point of view, although the initial and upfront cost ($6000 to $7000) can seem like a huge amount of money, it is worth bearing in mind the factors listed above, such as the experience of the surgeon, the area of the country in which you are having the procedure undertaken, and hospital fees which can all affect the overall cost.
Similarly, there are a wide range of financing options available to you, should you want the procedure. By contacting your medical or health insurance provider, or talking to your surgeon, you can get a better understanding and a much more accurate figure on exactly how much you will be paying for the procedure. Once you have found this out, you can then look at a number of different financial plans to ultimately decide which way is best for you to pay for abdominoplasty.