What is Urgent Elective Surgery? Limitations On Elective Surgery Due To Covid

Limitations On Elective Surgery COVID

Urgent Elective Surgery for Plastic Surgery Patients – What are Surgery Procedure Categories?

During the COVID Crisis, Hospital resources are limited and scarce, so restrictions are placed on Elective Surgery. Decisions must be made about what is Urgent Elective Surgery.

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Procedures without an item number are very restricted during the COVID Crisis

This means elective procedures deemed cosmetic or that can’t be claimed with an MBS item number are restricted.

  • Only procedures with MBS item number are likely to be performed – Surgical procedures that do NOT have an associated MBS item number will NOT be performed
  • No Combination surgeries – item number and non-item number procedures at the same time- are NOT likely to be performed
  • Elective surgery has been reduced to limited activity – (based on theatre capacity, # patients, # hours or # procedures – depending on hospital administrator)
  • This Applies to all Metropolitan Melbourne Hospitals and Day Surgeries currently
  • Priority may also be based on Urgency as assessed by admitting doctor – See Surgery Categories 1, 2 and 3

Is your Elective Surgery Procedure Urgent?

Priority Elective Surgery Categories

When a patient is assessed by a surgeon as requiring elective surgery, they are categorised as urgent based on 3 categories.

  • Category 1: treatment required within 30 days or semi-urgent
  • Category 2: treatment required within 90 days or non-urgent – condition causes pain or disability
  • Category 3: treatment required within 12 months.

The different Australian State Governments, Surgeons and Hospital Administrators disagree over the exact category classifications of urgency during the Crisis.

Surgeons must make an assessment of what is URGENT – but may be subject to peer review or over-ruled by the Hospital or Health Department.

Common Plastic Surgery Procedures and their usual Urgency Category (selected from the pdf below)

  • Malignant skin lesion – excision of +/- grafting – Category 1
  • Breast prosthesis – removal of (for reasons other than cosmetic) – Category 2
  • Trigger finger/thumb release – Category 2
  • Breast reconstruction (for reasons other than cosmetic) Category 3
  • Breast reduction (for reasons other than cosmetic) Category 3
  • Cleft lip and palate – repair of – Category 3
  • Dupytrens contracture release – Category 3
  • Lipoma – excision of +/-grafting – Category 3
  • Lymphangioma – surgery for – Category 3
  • Rhinoplasty (for reasons other than cosmetic) – Category 3
  • Skin lesions, non-malignant – excision of – Category 3
  • Scar revision (for reasons other than cosmetic) – Category 3

National Elective Surgery Urgency Categorisation Guideline – April 2015 (PDF, 1 MB)

Urgent category 2 plastic surgery may also include procedures like removal of a breast implant for non-cosmetic reasons like a rupture

Our Coco Ruby Surgeons Operate in these Victorian Hospitals

Urgent Elective Surgery

  1. St Vincents Kew
  2. Ramsay Masada and Glenferrie Private
  3. Epworth Hawthorn
  4. St John of God Berwick

Each hospital administration is assessing the availability of their theatre lists for plastic surgery based on Health Department criteria, supplies and impact of COVID in their location.

A list of the most popular procedures performed at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery


Medicare benefits are NOT payable for non-therapeutic cosmetic services.

  • ALL – Purely Cosmetic Procedures (no MBS item number applies)
  • ALL – Fat Transfer to Breast or Face and Liposuction
  • ALL – Liposuction
  • BODY – Cosmetic Abdominoplasty – where no Item number (e.g. post-pregnancy)
  • BODY – Cosmetic Labioplasty – where no item number applies (e.g. < 8 cm)
  • BREAST – Removal and Replacement of Implants – where no item number applies
  • BREAST – Breast Augmentation – where it is just for aesthetic reasons (congenital deformation may have an MBS number)
  • BREAST – Breast Augmentation and Mastopexy – Breast Augmentation with Implants
  • BREAST – Cosmetic Breast lift Mastopexy – no item number applies
  • BREAST – Removal of implants where no MBS item number applies
  • BREAST – Removal and replacement of Implants for Size change only
  • EYE – Upper or Lower Blepharoplasty – where no item number applies
  • FACE – Cosmetic Facelift/Necklift
  • NOSE – Cosmetic Rhinoplasty – where no item number applies
  • NOSE – Cosmetic Septo-Rhinoplasty – where No item number applies

Plastic Surgery Procedures with an MBS Item Number

urgent elective surgery

(ALL the MBS Criteria must apply – see MBS Website below)

Item Number with a Summary of Procedure (see specific qualification details below)

  • BREAST 45060   Breast Asymmetry or Tubular breast surgery
  • BREAST 45520   Breast Reduction Surgery Unilateral
  • BREAST 45523   Breast Reduction Surgery Bilateral (where strict MBS criteria apply)
  • BREAST 45548   Removal of Breast Implant
  • BREAST 45551   Breast Implant Removal with capsule
  • BREAST 45553   Remove and Replace implants due to complication
  • BREAST 45554   Remove and replace implants due to complication
  • BREAST 45558   Breast lift Mastopexy with an item number
  • BODY 30171   Lipectomy – a wedge of skin removal  – arm lift, thigh lift
  • BODY 30172   Lipectomy – multiple wedges of skin removal after Weight loss (Tummy Tuck)
  • BODY 30177   Lipectomy, Post Weight loss Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
  • BODY 30179   Circumferential lipectomy (Belt lipectomy) for massive weight loss
  • BODY 30403   Hernia Repair surgery
  • EYE 42866   Entropion or ectropion – Eyelid tightening
  • EYE 45617   Upper eyelid surgery for obstruction/vision issues
  • EYE 45623   Eyelid Lift for obstruction/vision issues
  • EYE 45624   Upper eyelid lift for obstruction/vision issues
  • LABIA 35534   Labioplasty or Vulvoplasty (> 8cm)
  • NOSE 41671   Septoplasty or Septum surgery
  • NOSE 41672   Nasal septum reconstruction
  • NOSE 45641   Rhinoplasty for airway congestion
  • NOSE 45644   Rhinoplasty for an obstructed airway

(NOTE – there are many other item numbers – these are the most popular procedures at our clinic)

Download our Guide to Medicare and Health Insurance for Plastic Surgery

Medicare and Health Insurance Guide

How to Find other MBS Item Numbers for other Surgery Procedures

For other surgeries such as Skin Surgery, Cancer Surgery, Hand Surgery, Breast Reconstruction.

WEBSITE – Visit MBS Online
MOBILE APP – MBS Search for Apple or Android

Want More Information about MBS Item Numbers?

  • Request more information – DOWNLOAD A GUIDE about the procedure or contact us
  • Book a Complimentary Consultation with a Nurse
  • Organise a phone call with Patient Coordinator (FREE)  Click here.
  • Attend our Regular Practice FREE Events and hear from our Team of Plastic Surgeons along with their top support team.
  • Speak with a past patient that has had the procedure you want – call or contact us

Next Steps – How to Book your Initial Consultation with a Surgeon

  • Email us below or Call on 1300 264 811 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment
  • Book a FREE 15-minute Phone Chat with our Patient Liaison Manager.  Click here.
  • A Referral from your GP or from your specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral although no rebates are claimable without one.
  • Schedule a confidential consultation with your selected Specialist Surgeon by paying the $300 booking fee ($300 for a virtual consultation).

Please contact us using the form below to arrange a consultation with one of our expert Specialist Plastic Surgeons or to speak with our Patient Care Team on 1300 264 811


Last updated: 07/08/2020
Author profile image
David Staughton
David Staughton is the Business Manager of Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery