Q:

What plastic surgery procedures are covered by health insurance?

A:

Quick Answer

Specific plastic surgery procedures covered by health insurance vary by company and plan. In most cases, plastic surgery is only covered if it is considered medically necessary, states Aetna.

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Full Answer

Reconstructive surgery is a type of plastic surgery that is often covered by health insurance policies, states the Baylor Health Care System. Reconstructive surgery procedures include cleft palate and lip repair, hand surgery, breast reconstruction or scar revision. Other reconstructive procedures repair congenital defects or damage from injury, illness, disease or tumors.

Cosmetic surgery to improve appearance is usually an elective procedure and is not covered by insurance, states Aetna. Some of these procedures include breast or buttock lifts or augmentation, cheek or chin implants, laser hair removal and neck tucks.

Some cosmetic procedures may be considered medically necessary if they meet the criteria determined by the health insurance company's policies, states Aetna. Examples include breast reduction, scar revision and skin tag removal.

Although plastic surgery can improve appearance and self-esteem, the procedures do come with risks. Patients may face complications or reactions caused by the anesthesia, infections at incision sites, scarring and possible numbness from nerve damage, notes Mayo Clinic. Obese individuals and people with diabetes or lung disease face a greater risk of complications.

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