BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual



Liposuction involves the use of a narrow cannula, inserted through a tiny incision, to vacuum the fat layer beneath the skin. The cannula is pushed and pulled through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and removing them by suction. Either a vacuum pump or a large syringe can provide the suction. Localized fat is removed from various areas of the body in an attempt to recontour body areas. This method of liposuction is usually performed using local anesthesia.

Tumescent liposuction involves the subcutaneous infiltration of a large volume of local anesthesia that is intended to decrease pain, bleeding, swelling, discomfort, and recovery time. The tumescent solution acts to thicken the subcutaneous fat layer, which is intended to cushion and protect the fat and adjacent tissue from trauma during the procedure. This is a method for performing liposuction surgery using local or general anesthesia.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction involves the use of ultrasonic vibrations to liquefy fat cells that are then vacuumed out. This can be done either externally with a special emitter or internally with a heated cannula. This technique is intended to remove fat from dense, fibrous areas of the body such as the upper back or enlarged male breast tissue. This technique is often used in combination with the tumescent technique.

Reconstructive surgery can be performed to restore normal form or function that is absent as a result of congenital causes, accident or disfigurement from a disease state. Symmetry is defined as correspondence in shape, size, and relative position of parts on opposites of the body.



Tenn. Code Ann. ยง 56-7-2507 Reconstructive breast surgery.

  (a)  (1)  Any individual, franchise, blanket or group health insurance policy, medical service plan, contract, hospital service corporation contract, hospital and medical service corporation contract, fraternal benefit society, health maintenance organization, or managed care organization that provides coverage for mastectomy surgery shall provide coverage for all stages of reconstructive breast surgery on the diseased breast as a result of a mastectomy, but not including a lumpectomy, as well as any surgical procedure on the nondiseased breast deemed necessary to establish symmetry between the two (2) breasts in the manner chosen by the patient and physician. The surgical procedure performed on a nondiseased breast to establish symmetry with the diseased breast must occur within five (5) years of the date the reconstructive breast surgery was performed on a diseased breast.



National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). (2017, August). Liposuction for chronic lymphoedema. Retrieved May 11, 2018 from

Tennessee Code: Title 56 Insurance: Chapter 7 Policies and Policyholders: Part 25 Mandated Insurer or Plan Options: 56-7-2507. Reconstructive breast surgery. Retrieved January 5, 2021 from

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2008, July). Center for Devices and Radiological Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database. K081593. Retrieved July 26, 2012 from

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2010, April). Center for Devices and Radiological Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database. K092066. Retrieved July 26, 2012 from




Policies included in the Medical Policy Manual are not intended to certify coverage availability. They are medical determinations about a particular technology, service, drug, etc. While a policy or technology may be medically necessary, it could be excluded in a member's benefit plan. Please check with the appropriate claims department to determine if the service in question is a covered service under a particular benefit plan. Use of the Medical Policy Manual is not intended to replace independent medical judgment for treatment of individuals. The content on this Web site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider if you have questions regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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