Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty is a very popular procedure worldwide with 96% of patients who had a tummy tuck saying it was ‘worth it’(Source: realself.com) . The benefits of a tummy tuck are both functional and cosmetic. It gives a whole new contoured and natural look by making the abdomen flat, firm and youthful by reversing the changes brought about by pregnancy, childbirth and weight loss. By surgically repairing the muscle separation and improving the core strength, patients report improvement in low back pain, incontinence and post pregnancy pelvic discomfort.
A tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) is a procedure designed to reshape the entire torso, where the abdominal muscles are tightened back to their youthful position and removing excess skin and fat tissue to create a flat and toned tummy.
For patients who are considering a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, the cost of the tummy tuck is important.
The cost for a full tummy tuck can start from $15,000 depending on the Medicare cover of the tummy tuck and Private Health insurance status. Please read the rest of the article to find out about the cost determinants.
The Cost Components of a Tummy Tuck
In Sydney the cost of a tummy tuck depends on a number of factors such as the patient body shape, the type of tummy tuck required to achieve the aesthetic goal, the surgeon and anaesthetist fees, and whether the tummy tuck is eligible for private health insurance rebates.
If the patient is eligible for private health insurance cover (will be decided at the time of your consultation), the cost of the hospital stay will be covered and patients are able to claim back a portion of the surgical fee and the anaesthetic fee.
Other costs involved in a tummy tuck can include the initial consultation, pre-operative consultations and post-operative consultations, cost of medications and scar management products. Some of these costs may be factored into the cost of the tummy tuck.
As patients’ needs are individualised, there is no one set price for how much a tummy tuck will cost. Following your consultation, an accurate quote will be provided.
The Main Costs of Tummy Tuck Surgery
It is best to divide the total cost of the tummy tuck surgery into eight components. :
- Surgeon’s Fee
- Assistant’s Fee
- Anaesthetist’s Fee
- Hospital Operating Theatre Fee
- Hospital Fees
- Cost of Medication
- Cost of Garments
- Cost of after care and follow up visits
The plastic surgeon’s fee is the price the surgeon charges to perform the tummy tuck procedure. The cost depends on a number of factors, such as geographical location of the Surgeon, and the experience of the surgeon. Specialist Plastic Surgeons are trained to the highest Australian standards and you can be assured that your tummy tuck surgery will be performed to that high standard. With the tummy tuck meticulously performed to the high standards in a safe environment, it is reasonable to expect Specialist Plastic surgeons who are registered by AHPRA as Specialists in the recognised speciality of Plastic Surgery to charge a bit more than doctors who are not registered as Surgeons.
It is important to select a plastic surgeon based on their experience and the quality of their work, rather than their price. As with most things, you get what you pay for so be wary of surgeons who are offering rock bottom prices for tummy tuck procedures. Be sure to find out exactly what is included in the price you are quoted when selecting a surgeon to avoid any unexpected, and sometimes high, costs. In our years of experience, we have realised that the cost of fixing a complication is significantly higher so it is best to get it right from the start.
The assistant’s fee will cover the costs of a surgical assistant who will assist the Plastic Surgeon. In an operation like a tummy tuck having an assistant will be efficient and will help save time.
The anaesthesia fee covers the cost of the specialist anaesthetist. The majority of surgeons perform tummy tucks under general anaesthesia to ensure accuracy and patient comfort. The specialist anaesthetist who will look after your safety during surgery and your post operative pain is an important member of the team.
The hospital operating theatre fee covers the cost of the operating room for the duration of the procedure. Factors that determine the facility fee pricing include how well equipped the operating room is and what standards it meets. If the tummy tuck is eligible for private health cover, the facility fee will be covered by your fund.
The hospital fees covers the cost of your stay in the hospital following tummy tuck surgery. This cost typically covers medical monitoring and 24/7 nursing and personal care, monitoring and managing pain, dispensing medications, management of drain output, wound care and compression management. This includes all amenities, meals, assistance with recovery management including assisted mobilisation and physiotherapy as needed. A typical stay is 3- 4 days days for a tummy tuck. Your recovery, pain control, ability to walk and the drain output will determine the length of stay
The Cost of Medication – Medications that you need to take home upon discharge will incur a cost.
The Garment fee – All tummy tuck patients will need to wear a compression garment to optimise the recovery. An abdominal binder is the standard garment used after a tummy tuck. In some instances, you may need additional garments based on other procedures done at the time of the tummy tuck. For example, you will need a surgical bra if you have a breast procedure along with a tummy tuck and a post liposuction garment if you have liposuction combined with a tummy tuck.
During your first consultation, your surgeon will inform you of the need for additional garments and their costs. Some surgeons include the cost of the garments as a part of the tummy tuck cost. You need to check this with your surgeon’s practice staff.
Other costs involved in a tummy tuck can include the initial consultation, and pre-operative consultations. Cost of the post-operative consultations are usually included in the quoted cost of the tummy tuck procedure. Medications for pain management or scar reduction are another cost which may or may not be factored into the cost of the tummy tuck. Unforeseen complications arising from tummy tuck surgery can impose additional costs arising from managing the complications. It is advisable for you to check with your surgeon’s practice at the time of the consultation.
The Value and Expertise of a Registered Specialist Surgeon for Tummy Tuck Surgery
Forme Institute Specialists Surgeon are trained to the highest Australian standards
- AHPRA registered specialists in the medical speciality of Plastic Surgery (plastic surgery include cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery)
- Completed Australian Medical Council accredited surgical training and exams conducted by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). FRACS stands for Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, a qualification awarded only to those doctors who have successfully completed several years of rigorous surgical training. With a commitment to lifelong learning and high standards of professionalism. Consider this qualification when choosing a surgeon.
- Have a lifelong commitment to excellence in cosmetic surgery through research and continuous professional development and membership of learned societies like the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) and the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
These qualifications, standards and certifications are the ‘Australian Standard’ and significantly differ from those who are unregistered surgeons who call themselves “cosmetic surgeon”.
These factors must be taken into consideration when evaluating your surgeon. The cost difference if any should be evaluated in terms of the value attached to personal safety and wellbeing, the value attached to quality of care and the value attached to natural longer lasting results.
(Source: Australia Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) )
What will be the cost of a tummy tuck if I am eligible for Medicare cover and my private health insurer has confirmed coverage?
Your total out of pocket cost is from $15,000. This includes the surgeon’s fee, surgical assistant’s fee, anesthetist’s fee, garments and after care.
The reason we have mentioned the term ‘from $15,000’ is to factor in any additional procedures like liposuction because whether you need Liposuction to contour your abdomen can only be decided at the time of the consultation.
Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery procedure and is not covered by either Medicare or your private health fund. So, if liposuction is necessary, it is important to itemize it pay for it separately in a manner that is transparent to your health fund.
What will the cost of a Tummy tuck be if I am not eligible for Medicare or health fund cover?
The cost will be from $23,000 and this includes the surgeon’s fee, anesthetist’s fee, 3 nights in hospital, garments and after care. Soon after the consultation we will request a formal quote from the hospital and send it to you.
The reason we have mentioned the term ‘from $23,000’ is to factor in any additional procedures like liposuction that will be billed by the hospital based on the time taken. The second reason is, all private hospitals have a baseline estimate of surgical time for a tummy tuck. Occasionally if there are any complexities that potentially could take up more than the standard time, we will need to estimate the time as accurately as possible before the operation for the hospital to provide you an accurate quote. We strongly feel it is the right thing to do and be upfront and transparent before the operation than subject our patients to ‘bill shock’ after the procedure.
Is tummy tuck covered by Medicare or private health insurance?
Tummy tuck when performed after massive weight loss is eligible for Medicare benefits and health fund rebates subject to satisfying strict criteria defined by Medicare. If the patient has private health insurance, generally they are able to claim back a portion of the surgical fee, the anaesthetic fee and the cost of their hospital stay. Tummy tuck to reverse changes due to pregnancy and childbirth are no longer eligible for Medicare benefits and health fund support.
With modern techniques and recent technological advancements, Tummy Tuck Surgery has become safer, effective and capable of delivering results that you always wanted with minimal pain, discomfort and downtime. Our Plastic Surgeons use modern techniques to give you natural looking and longer lasting results while the specialist Anaesthetist ensures your safety and comfort in a setting of a Modern Hospital.
As with any medical procedure, it is important to seek the advice of a professional skilled in addressing your specific issue. Each person’s anatomy is different and an examination and evaluation by a Plastic Surgeon will help determine the most appropriate and effective approach to meet your particular needs.
The cost of a Tummy tuck be if I am not eligible for Medicare or health fund cover will be from $23,000
The cost of a tummy tuck if I am eligible for Medicare cover and my private health insurer has confirmed coverage will be from $15,000
Tummy tuck when performed after massive weight loss is eligible for Medicare benefits and health fund rebates but subject to satisfying strict criteria defined by Medicare.
Medicare has stringent criteria that you have to fulfil in order to obtain cover. At your consultation, following clinical assessment, we will advise you if you are eligible for Medicare cover (Item number 30177)
- Patients who have experienced significant weight loss
- Suffering from excess skin and tissue causing health issues as a result of the weight loss
Do you have private health insurance and does the level of your private health insurance policy include cover for this Medicare item number.
For your operation to be eligible for private health fund cover, your operation MUST be eligible for Medicare cover. If your operation does not qualify for Medicare cover, your health fund will not cover the cost of the operation.
At the consultation, we will tell you if you satisfy the criteria for Medicare cover and we will give you the Medicare item number for your planned operation. You can then contact your private health fund and confirm the level of cover and any excess payment
What does your private health fund cover? Does your private health fund cover ALL components of the cost?
There is a big difference between health insurance coverage and coverage provided by other types of insurances such as car insurance. Since most of us are familiar with the level of coverage of our car and home and contents insurance but are unfamiliar with the level of the cover provided by our private health insurance, we often assume that Private health insurance covers everything. It is not uncommon for patients to be told ‘you are all covered’ by the health insurance company only to discover the meaning of ‘you are all covered”.
Private health insurance only covers your hospital bill and part of your surgeon’s and anaesthetic fee. This includes your hospital theatre fee and the fee for your hospital stay. So, when you are told “you are all covered” it means that your hospital stay and hospital theatre fee is fully covered.
Medicare and your private health fund pay a small proportion of the Surgeons fee and the Anesthetist’s fee. The rest is referred to as the out-of-pocket payment or gap payment. At your consultation, we will provide you with an accurate quote that will have detailed information of the financials.
If we have to get a quote from the hospital for any additional items, then we will send you a formal quote in due course.
Informed Financial Consent is the process by which we provide you with the cost of your upcoming surgical procedure in writing. The information will contain notification of all costs including the likely out of pocket costs (gap).
Will Medicare cover me if I have lost a massive amount of weight and my loose skin is causing problems?
Patients who have lost a massive amount of weight will qualify for a Medicare item number (30177) if they meet the following criteria. It is ideal if your GP doctor could include these in the referral letter.
(a) there is rash or another skin condition that has failed 3 months of conventional (or non-surgical) treatment; and
(b) the redundant skin and fat interferes with the activities of daily living; and
(c) the weight has been stable for at least 6 months following significant weight loss prior to the lipectomy and
(d) you have lost > 5 BMI in weight, which is about 12-15kg depending on your height.
My older sister had her post baby “tummy tuck” covered by Medicare and Private health fund. Is this true?
Yes, in the past, post pregnancy tummy tuck to repair the structural damage causing abdominal muscle separation was covered. Unfortunately, in 2016, the government abruptly withdrew Medicare cover and denied access to thousands of women who had significant structural changes to their abdominal muscle resulting in lower back pain and urinary incontinence following child birth.
Despite repeated representations from professional and patient groups requesting the government to reinstate the Medicare support for post-pregnancy women, we are still awaiting a response.
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About Forme Institute
The Forme Institute is a group of highly qualified and experienced Specialist Plastic Surgeons. We are committed to providing the best practice procedures and the most innovative treatment options. Our team has 20+ years of combined experience practicing plastic surgery. If you’re interested in having Tummy Tuck surgery, contact us today to make a consultation appointment.