Panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that aims to remove excess skin from the lower abdomen to create a smoother contour. Excess skin in the lower abdomen can be caused by aging, hereditary, surgery, pregnancy, and massive weight loss.
This elective procedure can relieve the symptoms caused by the overhanging fold of skin, such as irritation and interference with daily activities.
The difference between a tummy tuck and a panniculectomy is that the latter does not involve tightening the abdominal muscles during the surgery.
Am I a suitable candidate for panniculectomy?
During your consultation, the surgeon will do a physical exam, review your medical history and order some lab tests to determine whether panniculectomy is the right option for you.
You may be a good candidate for this surgery if:
- You are in good health and at a suitable weight.
- You do not have any health conditions that affect the surgery or its results.
- You have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery.
- You have recurring sores and rashes caused by the overhanging fold of skin in the abdomen.
- You are not happy with the appearance of your abdomen.
How to prepare for this surgery?
During the consultation, the surgeon will give you specific instructions that you need to follow before surgery, such as what to wear, eat and drink and the medications you should stop taking. Moreover, you should ask a friend or a family member to drive you home after the procedure and stay with you for 1-2 days while you are recovering.
What to expect during the surgery?
After administering local or general anesthesia, the surgeon will make a horizontal incision between your belly button and the pubic area to remove excess skin and fat. Other techniques may be used depending on your case.
The surgeon pulls the remaining upper abdominal skin down and closes the incision with sutures and may insert drains under the skin to prevent the accumulation of fluids.
The surgery takes from three to five hours, depending on the amount of skin and fat that need to be removed.
What happens after the surgery?
After the surgery is finished, you will be moved to the recovery room where our medical staff will monitor your condition to check for any complications. You will be able to go home on the same day, or you may need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days, depending on the extent of your surgery.
The incision will be covered with bandages or gauze dressing, and after a couple of days, your surgeon will ask you to wear a compression garment to help support the abdomen during recovery.
How is the recovery period like?
You can expect some pain, swelling and bruising during the first few days after the surgery, and the doctor will prescribe some pain medications to help relieve any discomfort.
You should avoid strenuous activities for one to two months after the surgery, but you will be able to go back to work within four weeks or so.
A panniculectomy can help improve your self-confidence and body image, but the full result may take some time to appear. It can take up to two years for the scars to fade so you can see the desired result.