Panniculectomy Is Performed to Remove Abdominal Fat and Skin

Surgeons at University Hospitals Department of Plastic Surgery in Cleveland, Ohio, specialize in panniculectomy to remove excess fat and skin from the lower abdomen.

In contrast to a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), the abdominal muscle layer is not tightened. The procedure can significantly reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen.

Patient History and Examination

Consultation for panniculectomy consists of a thorough discussion of the patient's desires and concerns. An extensive evaluation of the patient's abdomen and body contour is performed. Photographs are reviewed. The available surgical options and the doctor's recommendations are discussed, including the limitations and risks of surgery. Panniculectomy may be performed in conjunction with liposuction and other procedures.

Ideal Candidates for Panniculectomy

The best candidates for panniculectomy are men and women who are in relatively good health but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that will not respond to diet and exercise. Patients who intend to lose a significant amount of weight should postpone the surgery until they have reached their desired weight.

Panniculectomy is often a good remedy for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight through dieting and exercise or bariatric surgery and do not want to undergo a full abdominoplasty.

Panniculectomy Procedure

Panniculectomy is usually performed at a hospital under general anesthesia. Patients occasionally stay in the hospital for one day after surgery. During the procedure, the umbilicus (navel or belly button) is sometimes repositioned. The abdominal wall can be tightened in a similar fashion as in abdominoplasty, but generally insurance companies would not cover that portion of the procedure.

Side Effects and Recovery

Following discharge from University Hospitals, patients will have drains in place for several days. Our team uses implantable catheters for continuous delivery of pain medication directly to the site of surgery, which will reduce the need for narcotic pain medication. Patients are usually discharged with the pain pump. The pump and the catheters do not need additional care.

After undergoing panniculectomy, patients will return for follow-up visits on a weekly basis for the first month. Return to normal activities is slow. Most people remain out of work for two to three weeks.

Results After Panniculectomy

Panniculectomy produces very good results for patients with excess skin. Some patients may need to undergo liposuction of their hips or other regions at the same time in order to achieve an enhanced result.

In most cases, the results following panniculectomy are long lasting, provided the patient follows a balanced diet and exercise.

Health Insurance Coverage

In some cases, panniculectomy is covered by health insurances.