Can I Combine my Pacemaker Replacement with a Tummy Tuck to Save Money? I Am 38 and Otherwise Healthy.

I am 38 years old, and desperately need a tummy tuck. I feel great, and if I could, I would skip the pacemaker replacement and do the tummy tuck instead. I would like to find doctors who would be willing to work with me to do both near kansas city, mo. I do not have a current ps or cardiologist. I would like to combine the surgeries to save money, pain, and fit the procedures into my few vacation and sick days from work.

Doctor Answers 7

Tummy Tuck - Can I Combine my Pacemaker Replacement with a Tummy Tuck to Save Money? I Am 38 and Otherwise Healthy.

Uh, this does not sound like a good idea.

Although you state that you are otherwise healthy, it is not normal for a 38 year old to have a pacemaker.  And saving money is not the best (however understandable) motivation when you're talking about a pacemaker and a tummy tuck in the same breath.

Here's what I would advise:

1) See your cardiologist first.  You most likely won't have ANY surgery without that.  Find out exactly what has to be done, and how soon.

2) Consult with your PS, and explain the above situation. 

3) If appropriate - and ONLY IF SO - I supposed it's conceivable that you could have both procedures done at the same time...but I suspect that your PS will want you to have the cardiology situation square away completely before even considering plastic surgery  And that, at that point, it will be considered only if done in a fully monitored situation in the event that there is a cardiology problem at some point during the surgery.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Pacemaker replacement and abdominoplasty

I would not combine these procedures and I would be quite surprised if your cardiologist signed off on this. Your question hasn't clarified the reason for the pacemaker. Abdominoplasty, which is performed under general anesthesia, requires medical clearance so step one should be a serious discussion with your cardiologist about whether he would sign a medical clearance for the procedure. Also, while pacemaker replacement is covered by health insurance, abdominoplasty is generally cosmetic in nature. Performing them together in my area would be more expensive because the hospitals will not offer a flat rate, discounted price schedule for a combined procedure.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Combining Pacemaker Replacement with a Tummy Tuck to Save Money?

There are not a lot of 38 year old women out there with pacemakers. You have not shaed with us your full medical history including WHY you have a pacemaker, why with a pacemaker you do not have a cardiologist to check on it nor why the pacemaker needs to be changed.

I seriously doubt that any ethical Plastic surgeon would be willing to take you to the operating room for a cosmetic operation without knowing the answer to these questions. In addition, we would need to know that cosmetic surgery would be safe on you from your Cardiologist.

If assured on all these accounts AND you were indeed a candidate for Tummy Tuck surgery in every other respect, I wouldn't mind doing the procedure AFTER the pacemaker was replaced and working properly with the understanding that I could decide to not go ahead with your surgery at anytime based on your safety.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Combined medical and cosmetic procedures

although combining surgeries is done on occasion, in general it is not always a good thing. In your specific case, I think your pacemaker takes precedence and should be done first Medically needed procedures take precedence. As to saving money, there likely will be none as your insurance will only cover the medically indicated portion and you will still have to pay all the expenses for the cosmetic portion. On top of that, fees for cosmetic procedures are typically higher in a hospital rather than a surgicenter, and the pacemakers are not done in surgicenters. The down time from the pacemaker exchange should be much less than the tummy tuck too.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Heart before Tummy

It suspect that your cardiologist would not be very excited with that approach. I can understand you rationale however your health should come before finances. It is unlikely that you would save any money, as you will be charged for anesthesia and operating room expenses regardless for the tummy tuck.

William Loutfy, MD
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tummy Tuck And A Pacemaker Replacement Should Not Be Done Together

I do not think most plastic surgeons nor your cardiologist would feel comfortable combining these two procedures. These should be done separately with a pacemaker replacement and then a tummy tuck at least 3 months later. In addition, you would not save money contrary to many patient's perception. You would still have to pay for the full operating room and anesthesia time for the tummy tuck, which would be the same whether it is done with an insurance procedure or as a stand alone tummy tuck. It is insurance fraud to try and slide the operating room and anesthesia time under the guise of an insurance-covered procedure. While that was common practice decades ago, hospitals are very wise to what was once common practice.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Tummy Tuck Surgery and Pacemaker?

Thank you for the question.

You should know that there is no standard answer for this unusual combination of procedures. I can tell you that I would personally not feel comfortable doing the 2 procedures at the same time. I would suggest that you have the pacemaker procedure done first  and go at least 6 months  before you proceed with the tummy tuck surgery.

Full cardiology workup prior to the  tummy tuck surgery would also be indicated.

Although your desire to save money by combining procedures is understandable, compromising safety is not acceptable.

Please make sure you  seek consultation with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons and cardiologists.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.