Does Excess Belly Flab Have Any Effect on Hernia?

After having my daughter 4 years ago, it left me with a "bib"-- excess skin or belly that hangs down. I also have an umbilical hernia. I was wondering if the excess heavy flab of my belly has any affect on the hernia, and if insurance would cover having that removed when I get my hernia fixed? Thank you for your time.

Doctor Answers 6

Excess belly skin or fat and umbilical hernia

Thanks for the question. It is unlikely that the excess soft tissue in your outer abdomen is having an clinical effects on your umbilical hernia. Having the hernia repaired under insurance coverage is clearly an option, although I doubt you will have any success getting the cosmetic aspect of the abdomen compensated, regardless of the type of procedure which your particular case may require.

I would start by visiting your plastic surgeon for a thorough evaluation, as he/she may be able to address both the hernia repair and cosmetic aspects in one surgery.

Best of luck !

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Tummy tuck

No, the belly fat will not effect the hernia or the repair.  An abdominoplasty will tighhten the abdominal muscles as well as remove the excess abdominal fat.  Insurance companies may, or may not, approve the abdominoplasty.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Obesity Will Negatively Affect Abdominal Hernias

I agree with the docs...I don't think the excess overhanging skin will have much of an effect on the hernia, but if you are overweight, the increased pressure of the abdominal fat will make repairing a hernia harder and make the recurrence rate higher.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 271 reviews

Excess belly fat and hernia

It is unlikely that the excess flab will affect the umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia can be repaired at the same time as the excess skin removal during a tummy tuck. I doubt if your excess skin will be covered by your insurance. Your hernia repair is usually (but not always) covered by insurance.

Michael Diaz, MD
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Tummy tuck, hernia

Insurance may cover the repair of your umbilical hernia, which could be performed at the same time as your tummy tuck. The cosmetic portion (tummy tuck) however, will not be covered by your insurance. This varies depending on your particular insurance carrier and I recommend you check with them and a board certified plastic surgeon to get "preauthorized" prior to any procedures.

If your excess skin/tissue is hanging low enough, to or lower than the upper portion of the pubic/vaginal area, then insurance may infact deem your condition as reconstructive and possible cover the procedure. Your plastic surgeon would have to submit photos along with a letter of medical necessity to get you approved.

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 377 reviews

"Belly Flab" after kids

To answer your questions:

1. the excess skin in the abdomen, "flab of belly" as you call it, has no effect on the umbilical hernia. What may contribute to the hernia is the amount of fat inside your abdominal cavity or intra-abdominal fat as it may put pressure against the weakening/opening in the abdominal wall which is the hernia itself.

2. In most cases, insurance would cover the hernia repair, but not the removal of excess abdominal skin (tummy tuck or mini-tuck, whatever your MD recommends). Of course, any insurance question is best dealt with the insurance company itself or your specific doctor's office.

Having excess skin after pregnancy is not uncommon, with the process itself a natural expansion of the abdominal area and skin. When patients come in to be evaluated, I look at the amount of skin laxity (above and/or below the belly button), the amount of muscle-fasica laxity and the amount of fat deposits - localized or circumferential. Most will come in with a combination of excess skin and fat and in most, a combination of some kind of liposuction and tumy tuck or mini-tuck might be the best option. Hope this helps.

J. Vicente P. Poblete, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 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.