It is not unusual to combine an elective surgical procedure with a medically necessary one in order to save on the cost and recovery times from two different procedures. A tummy tuck that is performed at the same time as a hernia repair is an excellent example of such a combination. However, it is important to understand which conditions cause the need for hernia or tummy tuck procedures, what each procedure entails, and which parts may or may not be covered by your health insurance.
Why Might I Need a Tummy Tuck or Hernia Procedure?
If you lose a dramatic amount of weight, particularly following a pregnancy, your abdominal muscles and skin may not necessarily shrink to conform to your new body shape. While your skin and muscles do have a certain amount of elasticity, they will lose that ability past a certain point.
An abdominal hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the muscle wall, which causes the intestinal organs to push through, creating a bulge around the area of the belly button. You can get a hernia from straining to lift heavy objects, chronic constipation, or as a result of heavy pushing during labor and delivery in childbirth.
Combined Tummy Tuck and Hernia Repair Procedure
If you undergo a complete tummy tuck, Dr. Deuber will tighten both the upper and lower abdominal regions. As part of this procedure, he will make an incision around the belly button, as well as a horizontal cut from one hip to the other, just below the panty line. He will then lift up the skin and underlying tissue, close up loose abdominal muscles by suturing them together, remove excess skin and tissue, and then suture everything back into place.
The abdominal hernia can be repaired by lifting up the structure of the belly button, pushing the displaced abdominal organs back behind the muscle wall, and then tightening up the abdominal muscles by suturing them closer together. This will strengthen up the abdominal muscles and prevent the organs from once again bulging out past the muscle wall.
Advantages to Combining Procedures
The main medical advantage to combining a hernia repair with a tummy tuck procedure is that you will only have to undergo one surgery, rather than two separate procedures. This also means that you will need less time off for recovery after the combined procedures than if you had two surgeries, which may also reduce the risk of infection, poor wound healing, or scarring.
Will Insurance Cover Both Procedures?
While your insurance company may cover for the cost of a hernia repair as a medically necessary procedure, it will most likely not cover the cost of the tummy tuck, which is strictly for aesthetic reasons. However, if you combine the procedures, your insurance company may cover the hernia repair portion of the procedures. This will still save you money, as it will most likely mean that the anesthesiologist and surgery center fees will be covered under insurance.
If you are considering having your tummy tuck combined with a hernia repair, Dr. Deuber strongly recommends that you consult with your insurance company to see what portion, if any, it will cover for the procedures. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how much money you might save from combining the procedures.