Tummy tucks are one of the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. But if you try to find out how much a tummy tuck costs in Australia, you’ll find it hard to pinpoint a specific figure for what you’ll need to spend. The cost of a tummy tuck can vary according to the extent of work needed, the surgeon you choose and the hospital where the surgery is performed. This article helps you understand the full costs of a tummy tuck in Australia.

Fast Facts

  • Tummy tucks are mostly performed on women.
  • Depending on your needs, you might want a full abdominoplasty or a partial one.
  • Tummy tucks can be performed as part of a combined procedure like a mummy makeover that combines tummy tucks with breast reduction or enhancements, liposuction and other body sculpting procedures.

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure that aims to firm up the abdominal area by removing excess fat and skin and tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. A tummy tuck removes excessive sagging and skin as a result of pregnancy and weight loss. It reduces stretch marks, especially those below the navel. A tummy tuck may also improve the waistline, depending on how much tissue is removed and tightened. Sometimes an abdominoplasty is medically necessary to repair an abdominal hernia.

Tummy tucks are mostly performed on women.

Tummy Tuck Cost in Australia

Typically the cost for a tummy tuck is anywhere between $9,000 (AUD) – $29,000. With no medicare rebates or private hospital cover typically the total out of pocket cost is between $18,000 and $29,000. If you have top private health cover, hospital fees of around $7,000 – $8,000 may be fully or partially covered. The other main driver of cost depends mostly on the surgeon and your location (certain cities tend to be slightly more expensive than others). The range of surgical fees in Sydney for example can range from $6,700 to $18,000 depending on the surgeon you choose and the extent of the surgery.

The best way to obtain the exact costs of abdominoplasty is by visiting a surgeon specialising in this procedure. Although you might find a ballpark figure, it is difficult to get exact costs of a tummy tuck online or from other sources. This is because the Australian Medical Board Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services prevents medical service providers, like your surgeon, from providing inexact information. Guidelines also discourage advertisements that give a price and then list conditions or variables that can change that price. As each person and his or her requirements are different, it is impossible for a surgeon to give a specific cost for a cosmetic procedure without seeing you first.

Depending on your needs, you might want a full abdominoplasty or a partial one. A full tummy tuck removes excess skin and tightens muscles across your whole abdomen and around the navel. A partial or mini tummy tuck fixes the area below the navel, tightening only the muscles in your lower abdomen.

Once you visit a surgeon for a consultation and have an idea of the costs of a tummy tuck, you may also want to get a second opinion from another surgeon before making the decision to undergo surgery.

Tummy tucks can be performed as part of a combined procedure like a mummy makeover that combines tummy tucks with breast reduction or enhancements, liposuction and other body sculpting procedures. When thigh and buttock lifts are combined with liposuction and abdominoplasty, they are referred to as a body lift.

If you plan to combine your tummy tuck with other procedures, the costs will go up accordingly.

What makes up the total costs of a tummy tuck?

The total costs involved in a tummy tuck can be broken into a number of components:

  • Surgeon’s fees
  • Assistant surgeon’s fees
  • Anaesthetist’s fees
  • Hospital and theatre costs
  • Follow up-visits for a given period
  • Cost of support garments

As with most other cosmetic surgeries, tummy tuck costs are given as block figures.

Almost all the costs associated with a tummy tuck, including the surgeon’s fees, anaesthetist’s fees and hospital costs, are dependent on the time it takes to complete the operation.

You can expect the cost of a full tummy tuck to fall within the $9,000 (AUD) – $29,000 range (updated in 2020). If your hospital costs are not covered by private insurance, you may be out of pocket between $6,800 and $8,000 for the hospital component of the fee as well as anesthetists fees of around $2,000. GST must be added to all costs quoted.

Mini-tuck vs Tummy Tuck vs Extended Tummy Tuck

We are mostly referring to a standard tummy tuck in this article. However, there is a mini tummy tuck, sometimes referred to as a lower abdominoplasty. This procedure is much simpler and quicker. It also does not require a 2 or 3 day hospital stay, often only requiring one night. Because of this, for patients without any hospital cover, the total out of pocket cost can be as low as $9,000 or $10,000 AUD vs $20,000 – $29,000.

An extended tummy tuck is a more complex operation and usually involves a wider incision and removal of more skin and fat. For this reason, it takes longer and is more complex surgery. On average this can add $2,000 – $4,000 to the cost of the procedure and may also incur higher hospital and anaesthetist fees.

Surgeon’s fees

A surgeon’s fee usually includes the cost of the procedure, including pre- and post-operative care. That means you will not need to pay extra for a specified number of follow up visits or for follow up visits during a given period.

The surgeon’s fee depends on the surgeon you choose. The wide range in fees reflects differences in surgeons’ expertise in surgery, qualifications, experience, professional recognition and popularity.

Because there may be medical doctors who are not qualified in surgery performing these operations—and often at a discounted price—you should make sure you are choosing a surgeon with the requisite training and experience. Besides the typical risks and complications involved in any surgery, tummy tuck surgery can weaken the abdominal wall and lead to serious health consequences. You do not want to put yourself in the hands of inexperienced and untrained doctors.

You may want to read the Costhetics article, Do Your Homework, before selecting a surgeon for your tummy tuck.

On another level, surgeon’s fees are also likely to differ based on geography and where their offices and practices are located.

Your surgeon should provide you with a detailed breakdown of costs at the initial consultation.

Initial consultation fees

There will be an initial consultation fee when you first see a surgeon regarding a tummy tuck. How much this will be depends upon the surgeon. Consultation fees range from $50 (AUD) to $500. If you see more than one surgeon—and you really should, before deciding on the best surgeon to proceed with—you will have to pay a fee for each consultation. Typically most surgeon’s charge $250 – $350 for the initial consultation.

Anaesthetist’s fee

Fees for the anaesthetist depend on their qualifications. A GP attending you as an anaesthetist during a tummy tuck will likely cost much less than a qualified anaesthetist. Anaesthetist fees are not calculated on a standard scale. However, According to the Australian Society of Anaesthetists, the fee charged by an anaesthetist is determined by the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) number or the Relative Value Guide (RVG) number.

For cosmetic procedures the hourly charge for an anaesthetist would be in the range of $600-1,000 AUD. Typically a tummy tuck takes around three hours, depending on how much work is needed. The anaesthetist’s fee will go up accordingly.

You want to proceed with a qualified anaesthetist because the anaesthetist watches over your life and vital functions during your surgery. A qualified person who knows the ins and outs of anaesthesia, troubleshooting and potential risks is the safest option. Besides safety, your anaesthetist will also be a factor in making sure of your comfort both during and after the procedure.

Most surgeons’ use only qualified anaesthetists, and their fees far exceed the fee charged by a regular doctor performing the same duty.

Hospital fees

Hospital fees vary significantly from facility to facility. The key element of hospital fees is the operating theatre fee. Most hospitals charge on an hourly basis, with the charge covering theatre fees, accommodation and sundries. Per hour, hospital fees start at around $750 (AUD) and can vary by thousands of dollars. Additionally, a standard tummy tuck requires a 2 – 3 day stay in hospital after surgery which adds a lot to the cost if you aren’t covered by private health insurance. In Sydney for example, the hospital fees for a standard tummy tuck are around $6,800 – $8,000.

Tummy tucks take between one and three hours to complete. Your surgeon may recommend an overnight stay in hospital overnight for one or even two nights. Hospital costs will increase significantly if an overnight stay is needed.

Will medicare pay for my tummy tuck surgery?

Medicare reimbursements cover only costs of medically necessary procedures. Medicare does not cover costs of cosmetic surgery. Sometimes abdominoplasty is considered to be a medically necessary procedure. If, for example, there has been significant weight loss and the redundant skin and fat interferes significantly with daily life. Previously, medicare used to cover tummy tuck surgery for women who needed it based on past pregnancies. We have written a comprehensive article about medicare rebates for plastic surgery procedures here. The medicare rebate for tummy tuck surgery is relatively small, but the most important part of being able to qualify is that it enables your private health insurance to pay for some or all of your hospital fees. Because a tummy tuck often requires up to 3 days in hospital, this is expensive and contributes a large portion of the overall cost.

Are costs of tummy tuck covered by insurance?

Whether your private insurance fund covers the costs of a tummy tuck depends on the type of cover you have. Some cover hospital fees and some other costs such as an anaesthetist, depending on your policy. Whatever elements are not covered by private insurance will be out-of-pocket payments for you. Hospital and anaesthetist costs when not fully or partially covered by your private health insurance can add another $8,000 – $10,000 to the total cost of the surgery.

Before proceeding with the operation, it’s very important to clarify with your insurance fund what exactly is and is not covered.

We hope this article gives you a better idea of the costs involved in abdominoplasty. We welcome your comments on this article.

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