Out-of-Pocket Costs and Physician Payment Variations in Abdominal Contouring: Evidence From United States Claims Data

Olachi O. Oleru, Nargiz Seyidova, Peter J. Taub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Abdominal contouring after massive weight loss has positive impacts on quality of life. There are often cost and access barriers for patients who desire these procedures. Objectives: To examine levels of access to body contouring in the era of price transparency, this study aims to characterize the out-of-pocket expenses and physician/facility payments in abdominal contouring procedures. Setting: The IBM MarketScan Commercial Databases were queried to identify patients who underwent outpatient abdominal contouring surgeries in the United States in 2021. Methods: Financial variables of interest included gross payments to the provider (facility and/or physician) and out-of-pocket costs (total of coinsurance, deductible, and copayments). Univariate analysis and mixed-effects linear regression were utilized to study the variations in costs across regions, insurance plan types, and places of service. Results: A total of 1319 abdominal contouring episodes were identified. The average age was 44.7, and the majority of patients were female (91%) and in the South region (44%). Median out-of-pocket costs were low overall ($30, IQR $768) and median total physician/facility payments for abdominal contouring was $4982.47 (IQR $7392.46). Out-of-pocket costs were highest in the South ($105) and $0 in all other regions (P <.05). The highest physician/facility payments were in the Northeast ($6392) and the lowest was in the South ($3936). Conclusions: Patients undergoing abdominal contouring incur relatively low out-of-pocket costs overall, but there is a need for further reimbursement negotiation in regions where physician payments are lower and out-of-pocket costs are higher. Further study should explore reimbursement and payment gaps in procedural coverage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlastic Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Bariatric surgery
  • body contouring
  • insurance coverage
  • physician payments


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