Will Medicare Cover Extended Abdominoplasty After Weight Loss?

MBS Item Numbers for Extended Abdominoplasty

After significant weight loss or weight loss surgery, you may require an abdominoplasty or extended tummy tuck to remove excess skin or repair weakened abdominal muscles. While this operation is usually done for cosmetic reasons after pregnancy, it is often integral for patients to correct excess skin after surgical weight loss procedures.

Are You Considering an Extended Abdominoplasty?

Many patients feel a great deal of pressure to appear perfect. Abdominoplasty can improve your appearance and your quality of life. However, it is also a major surgery and is not suitable for everyone. If you are obese, consider if you have done all you could before surgery. This includes dieting and exercise.

Does Medicare Cover Your Extended Abdominoplasty?

In November 2018, Medicare made several changes to their benefits scheme. As a result, many procedures that Medicare previously covered, were reduced reimbursement or have been removed from coverage altogether.

Generally, Medicare does NOT cover the cost of cosmetic procedures, and some private health insurance will NOT cover it, either. However, if your abdominoplasty procedure is done for reconstructive reasons and you meet the specific criteria, part of your costs might be covered. You can discuss this with Dr Briggs for more information.

Medicare will provide a modest rebate if you satisfy the weight loss criteria. You will need to demonstrate:

  • That you have had significant weight loss, defined as 5 BMI points or more
    • This must be unrelated to pregnancy
    • In women, this means a weight loss of at least 15 kgs or more without weight fluctuations in the last 6 months
  • The level of excess skin is interfering with your daily living
  • Use of non-surgical treatments for skin irritation caused by excess skin, has failed to work
  • You have a hernia that can be documented in an ultrasound

Relevant MBS Item Numbers

You may be eligible for Medicare Rebate or subsidy from your Private Health fund for these codes:

  • 30177   Lipectomy skin removal after weightloss – Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
  • 30179   Circumferential lipectomy (Torsoplasty) skin removal after massive weight loss
  • 30403   Hernia Repair surgery
  • 30621   Hernia Repair surgery

Visit Dr Briggs Medicare Information page for more details about these item numbers

Unfortunately, Medicare does not provide assistance for women suffering muscle separation or excess skin just related to pregnancy. This is despite the demonstratable, significant improvements in back pain and incontinence for women that have muscle separation repaired with a tummy tuck. The government is currently reviewing their position on this, but it is uncertain if this rule will be changed.

extended abdominoplasty

Download Dr Briggs’s Ultimate Guide to Tummy Tuck Surgery

Tummy Tuck Surgery

Am I ready for Extended Abdominoplasty?

Before a surgeon will perform your operation, you will need to be at a stable weight. You may be asked to postpone your operation if you still have weight to lose or you plan to become pregnant. Abdominoplasty will not prevent you from gaining weight in the future.

If you are under 18 years old, you will need to undertake a psychological assessment and wait for a cooling-off period of up to 3 months before having this major cosmetic procedure. However, this will not apply if you are having surgery for reconstructive reasons.

What is the Cost of Extended Abdominoplasty

A number of factors determine the cost of abdominoplasty surgery. These costs vary from patient to patient and include:

  • Surgeon fees
  • Anaesthetist fees
  • Hospital fees
  • Medication
  • Dressings
  • Support garments

Dr Brigg’s team will provide you with information, in writing, about the cost of your abdominoplasty. This information will include:

  • The total cost
  • Details of deposits and payment dates
  • Payments for follow up care
  • Possible further costs for revision surgery or treatment

What is an Extended Abdominoplasty?

An extended tummy tuck or expanded abdominoplasty procedure, involves a surgeon removing excess skin from the patient’s front and sides. It also improves muscle laxity at the flanks (love handles) and hip region.

The extended tummy tuck was developed after surgeons acknowledged that traditional tummy tucks (just the front overhang or pooch) improved the abdominal area but not the flanks or back. This procedure has been performed on thousands of patients, with excellent results. Placement of the extended abdominoplasty incisions is a critical skill so that scars can usually be covered up and hidden by bathers or underwear.

Am I a Candidate for an Extended Tummy Tuck?

An extended tummy tuck is often effective treatment for patients wishing to refine their figure following substantial weight loss. These patients usually need help to restore tone and contours to the abdominal, hips, flanks, and back muscles and are usually suffering from excess skin. This excess skin can often weight several kilograms

Extended Tummy Tuck Surgery

An extended tuck incision spans the entire length of the abdomen and extends to the back of your hips. Your surgeon tightens muscles and creates a new navel to match your new body shape. Further, your surgeon  may also use liposuction to achieve ideal body contouring.

Once excess skin has been trimmed, the abdomen, hips, flanks and back, the incision is closed with sutures. For the best body contouring results, your surgeon may also undertake an arm lift, thigh lift, or liposuction with your tummy tuck.

Recovery after Extended Abdominoplasty

Due to the large incision and dramatic physical changes, most surgeons will require patients to stay in hospital for at least one day after surgery. Depending on your surgeon’s preferences and your body needs, you may have drainage tubes placed under the skin to prevent the accumulation of fluid. This also allows the incision to heal properly.

Patients should arrange for someone to help them for a few days after returning from hospital. Swelling and bruising are normal after any body contouring procedures but the majority of swelling should subside after about six weeks. You will be provided with pain relief during this time.

Many patients are able to return to light activity within two weeks of their extended tummy tuck. However, it is best to consult with your surgeon before resuming any physical activity.

Want to know more about extended abdominoplasty procedures? Do you qualify for an extended tummy tuck?

What to do next

Our Patient coordinators can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. Furthermore, you can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 8am-6pm, Monday – Friday. .  Y

Please phone (03) 8849 1444Email us for our Patient Liaison Coordinator.


Dr Patrick Briggs FRCS (Plast) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is vastly experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. 

With worldwide expertise, Dr Patrick Briggs is practising breast, face and body surgery for men and women in Melbourne, VIC.


Next Steps to find a top Plastic Surgeon

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday on 1300 264 811.

What to Bring to your Plastic Surgery Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book your Initial Consultation

  • Dr Briggs Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential.
  • To claim any medicare benefits or Health Insurance for reconstructive plastic surgery you will need a referral.
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.

*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general.  For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation.

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