Despite successfully losing a large amount of weight, many women and men find themselves dissatisfied when faced with a large amount of excess skin left over as a reminder. The lower abdominal skin can often get stretched past the point of return during weight gain, and a loose draping “apron” of skin can become apparent after weight loss.
As fat disappears, unfortunately the skin does not necessarily shrink along with it, and the leftover loose, excess skin can only be removed surgically. Panniculectomy is a reconstructive surgical procedure that removes the excess skin left behind by dramatic weight loss, effectively getting rid of what is referred to as the abdominal pannus. Please note this procedure is not the same as an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, which contours the abdomen and provides a tighter sleeker abdomen from top to bottom.
The surgery will consist of surgical reduction of excess loose skin and subcutaneous tissue of the lower abdomen (below the belly button only). A curved horizontal incision is made along the lower abdomen, and excess skin will be removed. (Tightening of the underlying muscles is not done with panniculectomy, though is done if combining the procedure with an abdominoplasty.) The incision will then be sutured and dressed, and an abdominal garment will be applied.
Please Note: These are general estimates that may or may not apply to you individually.
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During your consultation, Dr. Anita will take time to learn more about your motivations and goals, understand your concerns, and discuss the treatment in detail. She will go through your medical history and perform a physical exam in order to determine the best plan to reach your goals, and make sure you are a good candidate for surgery.
The day of surgery, Dr. Anita will meet with you in the pre-operative area, review the planned procedure, and mark the surgical site. This is also a time you can go over any additional questions you may have prior to surgery.
After surgery, you will be provided with postoperative care instructions, and instructions for follow-up. Dr. Anita will see you for the first postoperative visit 1-2 days after surgery, with an additional visit the week after for drain removal if appropriate. Additional postoperative visits are typically spaced at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery.
The overhanging “apron” of skin on the lower stomach is called an abdominal pannus. Surgical removal of this skin apron is called panniculectomy.
Apron belly refers to the loose redundant skin that hangs off of the abdomen, usually draping over the top of the pubic bone.
A pannus is another word for the flap of loose skin along the lower abdomen.
A panniculectomy is a surgical excision of the “apron” of skin from the lower abdomen. In contrast to a tummy tuck, a panniculectomy refers to only removing the excess skin between the belly button and pubic bone. A panniculectomy does not include repositioning the belly button, tightening the abdominal muscles, or tightening the skin of the entire abdomen.
Since a panniculectomy removes only skin and fat, the amount of weight loss from surgery is surprisingly lower than one might think. Typical amounts can vary between 4-12 pounds.
Panniculectomy may be covered by insurance if you meet specific criteria set by the insurance company. The criteria varies based on your insurance, but commonly asked questions include what symptoms you are having related to the excess skin, how long you have had them, what conservative therapies you have tried, how long you have tried the therapies, the physical extent your abdominal pannus, and record of your weight. Photographs and/or additional documentation from other physicians are sometimes required by insurance to make a determination.
The cost for excess skin removal surgery will depend on many factors. To provide you with accurate pricing information, we invite you to book a complimentary Pre-Consult Phone Call with our Patient Care Coordinator by calling 310-205-0212. During that phone call, important information will be discussed and ballpark pricing will be provided.
Panniculectomy is not as painful as a tummy tuck, where most of the pain is from the muscle tightening. However, you will still be sore along the incision, and this pain is usually the worst the first few days after surgery, and then significantly lessens, and may not require much in terms of pain medication past the first few days.