NHS Tummy Tuck Criteria

I am 21 and have had 2 children, and I'm left with a huge over hang on my belly. If I held the excess skin up and pushed it in, I would lose about two dress sizes. I am a size 18 with this belly and without it I would be about a 12-14. It's really big and disgusting, and it really depresses me to the point where I won't even leave my house. I am a single mum and can't afford to pay out for a Tummy Tuck, but I can't live like this any longer. Will the NHS help me?

Doctor Answers 4

NHS coverage of Panniculectomy VS Tummy Tuck

I am not aware of any major participation on this website by any of my British colleagues to whom I would gladly defer in this matter.

From my understanding of the NHS which is solely based on reading and discussions with British patients, the system operates much like our Medicare / HMO gate keeper model. All patients must go through gate keeper primary physician screeners before being referred on to specialists. Cosmetic Surgery is never paid for while Reconstructive Surgery MAY be after it has been evaluated and its merits proved.

Two operations are frequently confused: PANNICULECTOMY (removal of the loose overhang WITHOUT muscle tightening, relocation of the belly button and undermining the skin to the ribs) VS ABDOMINIOPLASTY (TUMMY TUCK) (the "full Monty" - undermining the skin all the way to the ribs, tightening of muscle separation, removal of all loose skin ). The latter procedure is never paid for by insurance while a panniculectomy MAY be.

You may wish to discuss it with your physician. If he finds that you NEED a panniculectomy NHS MAY approve you.

Good Luck.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Insurance sponsorship for Tummy tuck

I hope that you have taken "mywish"'s recommendations to heart. Having grown up in London, I know that the NHS does provide coverage "from the cradle to the grave", however the procedures which are covered do have to be "functional" rather than cosmetic. In order to establish that your excess skin does cause functional problems, such as intertirgo or heat rash, in the area above your pubic brim, you will need to enlist the assistance of your GP, so that you can be referred for "panniculectomy". Panniculectomy is different from abdominoplasty, because it merely involves removal of the excess skin. Tummy tucks usually involve reshaping the umbilicus and repairing the weakness of the abdominal muscles.

Don't loose hope. In the mean time, do try to exercise, get fit and within your ideal body weight. Many insurance companies in the US insist that patients are close to the ideal body weight, as defined by BMI. Body Mass Index. Good luck.

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Insurance coverage for a tummy tuck

In the US, insurance does not cover elective cosmetic procedures such as a tummy tuck. I am not aware of the coverage options in London.  I hope it works out for you.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Insurance may help

If you have medical symptoms related to your belly ie. rashes under the overhanging skin, your health insurance may pay for a panniculectomy. This involves simply excising the skin and fat below your belly button. It differs from a tummy tuck because there is less undermining, the belly button may be sacrificed, and the muscle is not tightened. This may be a good compromise between doing nothing and a full tummy tuck.

Good luck!

Jeffrey Horowitz, MD
Bel Air Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 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.