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Tummy Tucks on the NHS

What is a tummy tuck?

It is a surgical procedure commonly called Abdominoplasty which results in a flatter, tighter abdomen and lower body as well having the potential effect of reducing the appearance of stretch marks and unwanted scars around this area of the body. The tummy tuck procedure involves the removal of excess fat and skin from the waist area which may have appeared after rapid weight loss or following pregnancy and it can also be combined with liposuction to improve results.

What happens during the Surgery?

A cut is made just above the pubic area, running from hipbone to hipbone with a second cut made which frees surrounding tissue from the navel. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall allowing the surgeon to lift a skin flap so that he can reach the vertical abdominal muscles to pull them together and tighten them. They are then re-stitched and the flap of skin and fat is stretched down so that any excess can be removed and a new navel is formed and stitched in place.

The surgery usually takes around 2 hours to complete which typically is followed by a 1-2 night in hospital and 6-8 weeks recovery.

Will the NHS pay for my Tummy Tuck?

Currently a Tummy Tuck is top of the most requested NHS cosmetic surgery list. However it is usually only available through the NHS in exceptional circumstances such as disease or serious disfigurement as it is classed as under "cosmetic" surgery and not "plastic" surgery.

Plastic surgery is classed as surgery that is used to primarily repair tissue or skin and restore it's function to as close as it was before illness or injury. Cosmetic surgery however is classed as surgery that is used to primarily improve a patients physical appearance which, according to the NHS, is what Tummy Tucks usually fall under.

It can possibly be offered to anyone who has lost a large amount of weight resulting in a vast and uncomfortable amount of excessive skin in the abdominal region or is suffering from any disease which causes the muscles in the mid stomach region to separate. An Abdominoplasty operation on the NHS will not usually be given in any other circumstances as it is not seen as being totally necessary surgery. A doctor will be required to give an assessment to decide if there is eligibility for the grant and then refer you to a hospital offering this surgery.

Other Funding Options

Most health insurance companies also work to a similar criteria to that of the NHS when deciding on whether they pay for tummy tuck surgery or not. Due to the fact that they both use quite similar criteria to determine a patients eligibility then if the NHS refuse to fund your surgery then it is more than likely that the patients' insurance company will refuse as well.

However, if you hold an extensive private medical insurance you may find that they will cover the costs in certain instances. If you are refused funding from these sources, there is always the option of taking out a loan with a 3rd party to cover costs or alternatively many private hospitals offer their own funding options such as "Buy now Pay Later" schemes and offering 0% finance for cosmetic procedures. These options will however tend to come with a credit check, usually require an initial deposit and will of course cost more in the long term.

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