Steve Fallek (Plastic Surgeon & Medical Director, Face Focus Medical Spa, New York City) gives expert video advice on: What are the risks and complications associated with a panniculectomy? and more...
What is a "panniculectomy"?
A panniculectomy is an excision of extra skin and fat that hangs down from the abdominal area. It's a pannus, or an apron, of skin and fat is the basis for what we call a panniculectomy. And a pannus is very common in patients that have lost significant weight, where in fact a true tummy tuck or an incision around the belly button and in the crease area, is really not appropriate. The difference really between a panniculectomy and an abdominoplasty is with a panniculectomy it's just that skin and fat which is excised and removed without touching the belly button or umbilicus.
What are the risks and complications associated with a panniculectomy?
Any patient that has a pannus and is a candidate for panniculectomy usually has either gained or lost significant weight. So, the risks and complications associated with panniculectomy, or really the risks and complications associated with any patient that is overweight or was overweight; and that would include diabetes and high blood pressure or any other medical conditions. In terms of the panniculectomy surgery, having excess tissue certainly puts more weight, more difficulty on the incision site.
Is a panniculectomy painful?
Generally, a panniculectomy is less painful than a tummy tuck because the abdominal muscles are not touched, and that is the painful part of a tummy tuck. A panniculectomy is just removing excess skin and fat, so in general, it's not very painful.
What incisions or scarring should I expect with a panniculectomy procedure?
A panniculectomy scar is in the bikini or underwear crease only. It's just that extra skin and fat that's removed. The scarring from panniculectomy is minimal and for patients that have this apron of skin hanging down, it really improves the appearance of that area. I'm always less concerned about what the scarring looks like in a panniculectomy.
What are the costs associated with panniculectomy?
If there has been significant weight loss, then your insurance company may consider paying for a panniculectomy. They may not pay for a tummy tuck or an abdominoplasty, but they may pay for a panniculectomy. That will usually require some pictures and a whole bunch of medical documentation. You need to check with your plastic surgeon before having this procedure done. If in fact insurance will not pay for a panniculectomy, the cost can be anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000.
Will I have to take time off from work for a panniculectomy?
You most certainly will have to take time off from work after a panniculectomy because this is an extensive removal of fat and tissue and you may be uncomfortable for a couple of days. I would suggest taking at least a week off from work.
Can I get other plastic surgery procedures at the same time I receive a panniculectomy?
Your plastic surgeon may be hesitant to perform other procedures at the same time as a panniculectomy, especially if there's a significant amount of fat and tissue that needs to be removed. A lot of it will depend on that, and exactly what the operating time is and how much fluid is involved. You need to be careful about having more than a panniculectomy done at the same time.