Healthcare including cosmetic surgery today is increasingly data driven. The computer and internet age has allowed the pooling of information or data from multiple sources. These include insurance billings, hospital admissions, medicare billings, medical specialty society online trackers such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons TOPS, etc. This data is periodically pooled and analyzed for trends over time, incidence of complications, hospital re-admissions, surgeon report cards, malpractice claims won or lost and so on.
Analysis of claims against insurance that covers for major complications of cosmetic surgery from 2008 to 2013 showed that major complications occurred in 4 percent of tummy tucks, compared with 1.4 percent of other types of cosmetic surgery. The most common major complications that were covered were hematomas (collection of blood outside blood vessels that usually present as tense bulges in the skin and deeper tissues such as a wrestler’s cauliflower ear), infections, blood clots and lung-related problems. This type of insurance does not cover minor complications and is separate from health insurance, which typically does not cover complications due to non-covered cosmetic surgery. The risk of major complications was 50 percent higher when patients had other cosmetic procedures at the same time as a tummy tuck. Male, obese and patients aged 55 or older were also at increased risk. The risk was lower if a tummy tuck was performed in an office-based surgical suite rather than in a hospital or surgical center, although that may be due to sicker less healthy patients being more likely to have this surgery in a hospital setting.
Tummy tuck is the sixth most common cosmetic procedure performed in the United States. More than 117,000 were performed in the US in 2014.