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When is an Abdominoplasty Considered Reconstructive Surgery


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Pregnancy, weight gain, and aging can all lead to abnormalities in body shape and contour. The abdomen is divided into four categories when determining the best operation for correction body shape problems. We must consider,

  • Skin
  • Fat
  • Abdominal wall laxity
  • Intra-abdominal Fat

If there is excessive weight of the lower abdomen with overhanging skin and fat then several pathologic conditions can occur. These include a pulling effect on the lower back creating a medical condition known as kyphosis of the lower lumbar spine. Every pound of excess weight in the front transfers ten pounds to the lower lumbar spine. This frequently causes an indentation of the lower back as well as progressive back pain. It is helpful to have an evaluation by a family physician, orthopedic surgeon or chiropractor to document lower back pain . Frequently it is necessary to be evaluated by a physical therapist.

An excessive amount of overhanging skin of the abdomen, known as a panniculus, can cause skin irritation due to excessive moisture and heat. This condition is known as intertrigio. Frequently this symptom is more severe in the summer time and is treated with powder and topical steroids. A corrective measure would be to remove this tissue. This procedure is known as a panniculectomy.

The abdominal wall is composed of several layers including skin, fat and the connective tissue covering over the muscle called the fascia. It is this fascial layer that becomes overstretched due to pregnancy and weight gain followed by weight loss.

In order to get insurance coverage for an abdominoplasty you have to meet several criteria these include the following:

It must be considered reconstructive surgery, that is it is performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease.

An Abdominoplasty qualifies if there is a large symptomatic overhanging panniculus or if there is evidence of chronic lower back pain. A thorough examination by a qualified plastic surgeon should detail these physical findings.


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