Cosmetic surgery should only be used if necessary for physical health because of the many risks and complications. "After Plastic Surgeries, More Do An About-Face." Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL).
Opponents argue that cosmetic surgery changes lives by giving patients confidence.
After I examine the patient and her skin tag, I am confident that it is not a type of cancer and does not threaten her health or life. Here’s my dilemma as her doctor: If I remove the skin tag to improve her quality of life, she will almost certainly have to pay for the procedure because her insurance company will deem it cosmetic.
But if I remove the skin tag and then send it to a pathologist to evaluate, her insurance will pick up the cost because the removal can be justified as necessary to prove it wasn’t skin cancer.
But what if it is part of breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery, or part of gender reassignment surgery for a transgender patient? advertisement Sometimes there’s a fine line between a cosmetic procedure and a medically necessary one.
As a society, we have decided that most cosmetic procedures are elective and thus should be paid for by the individuals having them, while medically necessary procedures are covered by insurance.
It’s entirely reasonable to create a set of priorities for how we spend our health care dollars.
However, I think insurance companies’ priorities on what they will pay for do not necessarily match what can make real differences in people’s lives.
In addition to irritated skin tags, insurers also often don’t want to pay for steroid injection treatments for the painful overgrowing scars known as keloids, for the autoimmune hair loss known as alopecia areata, and even for painful cysts that form in the underarms or folds in the skin (hidradenitis suppurativa).
These conditions and others can deeply affect an individual’s quality of life.