Financial analysis of factors impacting reimbursement for abdominoplasty

Michele A. Shermak, Shelly Choo, Jessie Mallalieu, David Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: With growth in numbers of abdominoplasty procedures performed, we studied our experience with reimbursement and factors that impacted reimbursement and indirectly access to care. Methods: From July 2004 to June 2007, 245 patients had abdominoplasty. Demographic and financial variables were noted. Twenty different insurance plans were categorized as a single "commercial insurance" group in our analysis, and the other two study groups were "self-pay" and "Medicare" patients. Results: Of the 245 patients studied, 87 paid for surgery ("self pay"), while 134 had commercial insurance, and 24 had Medicare. One hundred sixty patients (65%) had gastric bypass surgery (gbs). Medicare paid 28% less than insurance, and insurance paid 48% less than patients who prepaid. Of the 24 Medicare patients, 16 (67%) resulted in zero payment. On multiple logistic regression analysis, BMI, gbs history, and coincident hernia repair significantly impacted payment. BMI negatively impacted reimbursement, with every unit increase in BMI leading to a 0.77 percentage point reduction in reimbursement. Coincident hernia repair was associated with 17.5 percentage points reduction in reimbursement (p=0.002). History of gbs improved reimbursement by a factor of 11 (p=0.01). Neither age, gender, race, nor weight of tissue removed impacted reimbursement. Conclusions: Higher BMI and coincident hernia repair impaired reimbursement for abdominoplasty, while massive weight loss after gbs improved compensation. While having patients pay for their surgery guarantees the best reimbursement, strategies such as assuring authorization prior to surgery, which Medicare will not do, will secure better reimbursement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1236-1239
Number of pages4
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009


  • Financial analysis
  • Gastric bypass
  • Hernia
  • Medicare
  • Panniculectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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