Is This Too Much for a Tummy Tuck?

So I was given an "estimate" for $5400 for my Tummy Tuck. That was all-inclusive (minus pre-op tests and post-op meds). I had less than a lb of excess skin removed from a standard tummy tuck w/o complications. 5 months later I'm being told that my "excision, excessive skin" was $9,075. I would not have gotten the surgery if I'd known it would be double. I also have a bill that shows they put through "exc skin abd" for $1400. I sound like I'm being charged double. Does this seem right?

Doctor Answers 6


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There are a lot of details that are missing. Was this a cosmetic tummy tuck or some thing else with a cosmetic component

New York Plastic Surgeon

Cost of Cosmetic Surgery

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It is very important to have all the costs of any cosmetic procedure carefully explained to you before the operation.  If there is no insurance involved then that cost should be exact, all inclusive and pre-paid before the surgery.  If insurance is involved then you will be subjected to deductibles, co-pays, pre-authorizations and denials.

It would appear to me that you have many different charges that were not explained to you before your procedure, like a pathology charge of $1,400 for a pathologist to look at your skin and fat and then throw it away!

I would go back to your plastic surgeon with all your bills and payments and sit down with him/her, not the office manager, and explain your problem.  Perhaps there can be some compromise made between the two of you.  This would help you financially and would also help the plastic surgeon correct an obvious problem in his/her preparation of patients for surgery.  A win-win situation.

Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Cost of tummy

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It is hard to say without knowing specifically what the charges were for and what your understanding of the fees were prior to surgery.  When I give a patient a rice quote, it is understood to be a quote, not an estimate.  Like you patients do not want any surprise bills after the fact.  You should question your surgeon on the specific charges as well as questioning why you were not informed of these charges ahead of time.  I make sure I give patients an exact quote so we do not have to deal with these issues later and you are certainly within your rights to understand why there is this discrepancy.  Good luck!


Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Is This Too Much for a Tummy Tuck?

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I think we need more details here before giving a good answer so I hope you will resubmit your question. Did you ask your surgeon to put this through your insurance company? What type of facility was used for your surgery - a physician's private facillity, a hospital, or something else. Who quoted you the fee and what did it specify in writing. I think you may be able to get some reduction but let us know more so we might help you.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Your "all-inclusive" fee was perhaps just the surgeon's fee, and not truly "all-inclusive."

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If your surgery was performed in a surgeon's own accredited facility, then the cost quote should have included surgeon's fee, anesthesia provider's fee, operating room/facility fee, and perhaps a surgical garment or compression wrap. "All-inclusive" should have been "all-inclusive," and any additional fees would have to come with a pretty good explanation without being a "bait and switch."

However, if your procedure was done in a hospital or free-standing surgical facility, then your surgeon's fee may well have been "all-inclusive" for your surgeon, and the hospital/OR/facility fees plus anesthesia provider fees would be in addition.

However, I think I know what is going on here. Perhaps you were having an insurance-covered panniculectomy, OR, and anesthesia at a hospital or freestanding surgical facility, and paid your plastic surgeon for the "tummy tuck upgrade." If this is indeed the case, you have just found out why this "scam" frequently ends badly at giving you a "reduced-fee" tummy tuck, and ends up costing more than if you paid a plastic surgeon the usual total costs for a totally elective abdominoplasty operation, which in my nationally-accredited (AAAASF) in-office surgical facility costs about $8500 for everything (the "real" all-inclusive, without any hidden charges or "extra" bills later). If liposuction or an extended incision is necessary, these extra costs are clearly spelled out in advance, and there are NO misunderstandings about who pays what and where! Talk with your surgeon and figure out just what happened! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Is This Too Much for a Tummy Tuck

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I am not sure I understand the story here. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you got an all-inclusive quote, had the procedure for which the quote was given, and that you received a bill for nearly twice the amount. Where does the $1400 come from?  If the surgery was done in the surgeon's suite, I don't know why the extra fee. If it were done in a hospital or surgicenter, a bill would come from there and not the surgeon. 

My advice is to discuss this with your surgeon--it may just be an error. Thanks and best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.