A panniculectomy is a body contouring process that will remove excess skin and fat that may hang below the thigh and genital areas. This hanging skin and fat will occur in people who have lost a significant amount of weight loss after having bariatric surgery. Excess skin and fat in these two particular areas is not just a cosmetic problem but can cause health issues such as skin chaffing, skin ulcers, rashes, and back problems.
This type of surgery can either be done alone or in conjunction with a tummy tuck. Both focus on the abdominal area although they are two different types of operations. A tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin as well as tightens the muscles in the abdomen. A panniculectomy only removes excess skin and fat. A panniculectomy can also be done in conjunction with a hysterectomy a hernia repair or hysterectomy as the surgeon is already working on this area of the abdomen.
Qualifying for a Panniculectomy
There are several criteria that must be met in order to be considered an excellent candidate for a panniculectomy.
- You are considered obese
- You have lost a large amount of weight through exercise, dieting, or bariatric surgery
- You are carrying a significant amount of weight or excess skin after pregnancy
Requirements for getting a panniculectomy include:
- You must maintain a stable weight for no less than one year
- You should have had either gastric banding surgery or bariatric surgery and must stay at a consistent weight for one year after surgery
- Health concerns related to obesity such as high blood pressure and diabetes have become controlled
If you meet these criteria and requirements then chances are you will be an ideal candidate for a panniculectomy.
Learning about Panniculectomy Surgery
A panniculectomy can be done as an outpatient procedure or in a hospital where an overnight stay may be required. General anesthesia is typically used. The surgery itself can last several hours on average depending on how much fat and skin is present and whether you will be having a hernia repair, tummy tuck, or another type of surgery involving the abdomen. Patients will typically need to stay overnight in the hospital for several days to a week after getting a panniculectomy.
When doing a panniculectomy, your surgeon will make two different incisions: one at the pubic bone from the lower area of the sternum and another along the pubic area. Once the incisions are made excess fat and skin are then removed. Whatever skin is left is pulled tightly together and is then sutured.
Potential Risks of Panniculectomy Surgery
As holds true with any other type of surgery, there are risks that one must be aware of before making the decision on getting this surgery. Aside from pain and reactions to anesthesia, other types of risks may occur. These include the following:
- Collection of fluid in the newly created area in the abdomen
- Significant scarring
- Revision surgery
- Blood clots in the lungs or in the legs
Before deciding on getting a panniculectomy it is important to discuss all pertinent information to include costs, recovery time, what is involved in the actual procedure, and the risks involved with the surgery. If you cannot afford the surgery discuss payment plans with your surgeon.