With more baby boomers -- the largest percentage of our population -- passing the half century mark every day, legions of upper and lower eyelids are starting to sag like fleets of Mac trucks crossing rope bridges.
What your insurance company doesn’t want you to know: if your upper eyelids are starting to fall over your eyeballs so that your vision is obscured, they should cover the procedure. Average cost of eyelid surgery in the United States: $3825.
Number of blepharoplasties done in 2006: 210,000 according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).
Extremely large breasts cause back and other health woes and
will eventually cost your insurance company even more money if left
The magic words that cause even the stingiest insurers to let their cash
flow like fountains: “I have back, neck and shoulder pain due to my
extremely large breasts.” But don’t try to bluff. You may have
to show a doctor’s report, proving the condition exists.
Some breasts are so large, the weight on the woman’s bra straps have
worn notches into her shoulder bones. Medically, the condition is known
as shoulder grooving.
The total cost of breast reduction surgery averages about $8500 in the United States. That usually covers the surgeons’ fees, facility costs, the anesthesiologist, post-op visits and medicines.
In 2006, plastic surgeons performed 104,455 breast reduction procedures, according to the ASPS.
3. Breast reconstruction
That is a four-to-six hour procedure that is usually done in one of
four ways to rebuild the female breast, or breasts, after a mastectomy.
The procedure can keep you off your feet for one to six
weeks, depending on the reconstruction method used.
As far as your medical coverage is concerned, there is simply no wiggle room for the insurance company. Current law requires them to cover the operation. Be sure and say you’ve read the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act.
Fees vary widely depending on whether mastectomy is included.
Number performed in the United States in 2006? 56,176, according to the ASPS.
4. Hand Surgery
Plastic surgeons are highly skilled in operating on tiny bodily structures so many also perform hand surgery, usually to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. But the surgeons may also rejoin amputated fingers or even move a toe to a hand so a person can work again.
Hand surgery rejoins nerves, muscles, tendons and bones to bring back normal function and feeling. The various types of hand surgery vary so much in costs, an average cost can’t be pinned down.
What does your insurance company need to know? Easy! You can’t work without your hands functioning properly. (That way, you can continue writing checks to your insurers!)
2006 saw 155,810 hand surgeries, according to experts.
A 57-year-old English woman shows the difference cosmetic hand surgery can make. The age revealing veins in her left hand have been removed by plastic surgery. Compare the treated hand to her other hand for a sense of before and after. We hope she likes it because a U.S. insurance company would not pay for it.
5. Facial tumor removal.
A plastic or dermatological surgeon may have to take off a dangerous facial growth -- like basal cell carcinoma -- and then transplant some donor skin over the wound.
Your insurance company needs to know the plastic or dermatological surgeon is preventing a much more, expensive condition, something that will cost them even more money in the long run.
Removing a facial growth by electrodessication and curettage runs from $250 to $500.
By excision with a scalpel, about $1200.
By Mohs surgery from $2000 to 2500.
If you have a Mohs surgery in an operating room as an outpatient, plan on about $4000.
The American Academy of Dermatology says about one million cases of facial skin cancer crop up yearly. Overall, 3.9 million tumor removals were done in 2006, says the ASPS.
HINT: Most insurance companies routinely reject the first request for coverage on almost any procedure. It’s because most people then forget about it all together.
Those in the know send a second request which is often approved, especially if you show the procedure is not to make you look better but for serious medical reasons.