Are Tummy Tucks Covered by OHIP?
A common area of confusion is that a tummy tuck is covered by OHIP.
This is not the case. A surgical procedure called a panniculectomy
has some minor similarities to a tummy tuck and may be covered by
OHIP (each patient must be approved individually by the Ministry of
Health). A panniculectomy is a very different operation than a tummy
tuck. A fundamental principle to understand is that OHIP does not
cover cosmetic surgery. A panniculectomy is covered by OHIP because
it is not a cosmetic surgery but instead a functional surgery, i.e.
one that is designed to relieve the patient of medical issues and
Technically, a panniculectomy removes ONLY the skin and fat tissue that overhangs the waist-line. The idea is that by removing this overhanging tissue, the space behind the overhang is eliminated thereby preventing the infections and rashes that often occur in this space. A panniculectomy does NOT address the excess skin and fat above the waist-line, does NOT involve tightening of the abdominal muscles, and does NOT involve liposuction of the love handles or upper abdomen. The overall esthetics of the abdominal region are only minimally improved with a panniculectomy procedure and the belly button (umbilicus) is often lost as a result of this operation.
Dr.Backstein is currently not performing panniculectomy procedures.
Technically, a tummy tuck removes the largest piece of extra skin and fat that can possibly be removed from the abdominal wall. As a rule of thumb, this generally involves removal of the loose skin and fat between the waistline and an area several centimeters above the belly button. Additionally, the abdominal muscles are tightened so as to create a dramatic flattening of the abdominal wall and eliminating the "ponch" that often exists in the lower abdomen. Additionally Dr. Backstein performs supplemental liposuction of the love-handles and upper abdomen as part of a tummy tuck. Tummy tucks are, by definition, not covered by OHIP.