Body dysmorphic disorder - does it qualify Lipo as a medical necessity, as opposed to a cosmetic procedure?

I have body dysmorphic disorder and I was wondering if having BDD would help me get insurance to cover liposuction or bariatric surgery. My thoughts about my weight significantly affects my ability to function daily, but unlike others with BDD, those thoughts go away when I'm smaller, which was only achievable on phentermine. So- would insurance cover Lipo or bariatric surgery if I can prove it would greatly benefit my mental and emotional health?

Doctor Answers 7

Body dysmorphic disorder - does it qualify Lipo as a medical necessity, as opposed to a cosmetic procedure?

Hello dear, thanks for your question and provided information as well.. This is the surgical procedure that revolutionized cosmetic surgery becoming one of the most performed cosmetic procedures. Subcutaneous tissue or fat is removed in order to contour the body in a way that is harmonious and pleasing to the senses. It can be performed in almost all regions of the body such as the neck, chin, abdomen, back, buttocks, thighs, arms and ankles. Usually done through a small incision in the skin through which a cannula connected to a vacuum is applied, it can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures. After liposuction your body is going to be really swollen for at least 2 to 4 months after your surgery. It is important for you to wear your compression garment for at least 6 months, the first 3 months 24/7 and then the last 3 months at least 12 hours per day for your body get use to not having the faja for so many time. When you remove it, your body can get swollen and also you can have pain. Remember to also compress your body to prevent a seroma which is an accumulation of liquid that has to be drained, it is hard to touch and also really painful. Bruises are completely normal for almost 3 months from surgery, that’s why is better for you to use a bruising cream and apply it all over your body 3 times a day. To prevent bad circulation and swollen legs, use compression socks. Brazilian butt lift can be performed with the same procedure and for a month it will be swollen and it will drop a little bit without losing it’s shape if you use your garment.. If you’re going to perform liposuction on your inner, outer, anterior, lateral, postetior thighs, be careful and consult with your surgeon what’s best for you, sometimes we have more extra skin than fat, that can cause severe sagginess on our legs, which can be only be reversed performing a thigh lift!

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 418 reviews

Liposuction with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Liposuction is an elective procedure, not covered by any insurance company. I suggest seeking a counselor or psychiatrist for help regarding your body dysmorphic disorder. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Body dysmorphic disorder - does it qualify Lipo as a medical necessity, as opposed to a cosmetic procedure?

Thank you for sharing your question.  Liposuction is deemed to not be "medically necessary" by insurance companies and they will not cover the costs.  You may be able to have insurance pay for bariatric surgery but this would require an in-person consultation and filing of paperwork.  

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews


Liposuction is an elective procedure and not covered by insurance. Bariatric surgery may be covered if you qualify. No insurance company covers any procedure for mental or emotional health.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Body dysmorphic disorder

Unfortunately BDD will not make you a candidate for insurance to cover liposuction, but it will totally disqualify you from liposuction or other types of cosmetic surgery for the reasons already discussed by other consultants.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Body dysmorphoc disorder

Unfortunately having BDD means you will likely never be satisfied with your surgical results and are therefor a poor candidate. It is possible that insurance may cover counseling for BBD, but for them to cover surgery would be like a 12 step program supplying your alcohol. 

Stacey Folk, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Body dysmorphic disorder - does it qualify Lipo as a medical necessity, as opposed to a cosmetic procedure?

I actually think it is rather laughable that you pose this question on this forum. The thought that a diagnosed mental disorder would make it medically indicated to have cosmetic surgery is very far fetched and I am sure would not even be entertained by an insurance company. Furthermore, no respectable surgeon would or should operate on someone who is seeking surgery to quell psychiatric conditions. Although I really like Dr. Folk's analogy, let me offer would be like building several different houses to hold your multiple personalities and then asking insurance to pay for them because you have a mental disorder and your personalities can't get along all living in the same house. 

Dallas Buchanan, MD
Spokane Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 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.