MSP Coverage for Excess Skin Removal Post Extreme Weight Loss sign now

Weight-loss surgery is changing lives in BC.  According to the Richmond Bariatric Surgery program, over 80% of the patients having the weight loss surgery will maintain their weight loss.  Not only is it changing lives, it is also saving lives by reducing and eliminating obesity associated diseases and health conditions (such as diabetes, sleep apnea, joint replacement, etc.).

There are two parts to treatment for Extreme Weight Loss.  The first part is losing the weight through either Bariatric Surgery or other means.  The second is the removal of excess skin after the extreme weight loss.  What we believe is missing from this Obesity Management Plan is the MSP coverage and availability of skin reconstructive surgery.

After a massive weight loss (at least 100 pounds) there is an enormous amount of excess skin that remains. Patients are left with large pockets of excess skin on thighs, upper arms, buttocks, breasts, abdomen etc.  Skin that, no matter how much you exercise or how much moisturizer you use, will never shrink back to its original size and shape. Not only can it be unsightly and difficult to deal with psychologically, it can also be associated with chronic infection, skin irritation, ulcers, and cellulitis. When exercising, excess skin on the upper arms, thighs, breasts and abdomen chafe causing pain, bleeding and chronic irritation making it possible for super bugs such as c-diff and MSRP, potential problems.  Personal hygiene is a major issue as it becomes very difficult to clean all parts of the body because of the multitude of skin folds and creases. Carrying the weight of the excess skin also has an impact on the back, hips and knees, causing joint pain and discomfort.

Research has shown that the cost of reconstructive surgery can be as high as $50,000 in Canada.  Often this is a cost to the patient.  For most, this cost is prohibitive. Many either choose risky medical tourism outside the country to such places as Mexico or the Dominican or they choose to suffer in silence. 

Under the current legislation, some reconstructive surgery is covered, however, it only covers the front portion of the abdomen. The procedure is known as a Panniculectomy.   If a patient meets the appropriate criteria, the Panniculectomy is covered by MSP.  But, accessing even this type of surgery is almost impossible!  Due to limited surgical hours available to surgeons and the process required for approval of the surgery by MSP, it is difficult to find a surgeon willing to perform the procedure under MSP.  Wait times can be as long as two years.

We are proposing that at the time that a morbidly obese person is approved for surgery which is Part One of the process, they should be approved for Part Two with a referral from their medical practitioner. Since in order to qualify for Weight Loss Surgery in the first place, the patient must be referred by their own medical practitioner and meet with and be recommended for surgery by a dietician, physiologist, psychologist, gastroenterologist, and the bariatric surgeon.  Any one of these specialists can refuse to recommend for surgery thus ending the process.

We also propose that as part of the Bariatric Surgery Program, Reconstructive Surgeons should also be part of the team.  These surgeons, much like bariatric surgeons, should specialize in MSP covered skin removal surgeries and have appropriate access to surgical operating rooms to carry out this surgery.

Because of the many complications associated with excess skin, we believe it is important to include skin reconstruction surgery as part of the obesity management plan as many other provinces in Canada of done.

Please sign this petition to urge the BC government to add complete skin reconstruction under MSP as part of the Morbid Obesity Management Plan.

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Petition target:
Government of BC, Medical Services Plan

Petition community:
Bariatric Surgical Patients


excess, plastic, skin, surgery, weightloss


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