Panniculectomy is a body contouring surgical procedure that removes hanging fat and skin, typically after massive weight loss. It may be performed as a standalone procedure or combined with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
Abdominoplasty tightens the abdominal muscle and removes excess skin and fat, while a panniculectomy only removes excess skin and fat (also called pannus). A panniculectomy may also be performed with another abdominal surgery, such as a repair of the abdominal wall or a belly button hernia.
Are You a Panniculectomy Candidate?
Panniculectomy candidates may have recently experienced significant weight loss after bariatric surgery to treat obesity or a post-pregnancy complication resulting in inordinate amounts of fat below the belly button.
Candidates may have fat extending as low as their knees, over their hips, genitals and around their back. This hanging pannus can cause a host of health issues including back problems, the breakdown of skin, rashes, ulcers, or skin disorders. These conditions may interfere with everyday life, and walking, standing, or sitting may become difficult.
Ideal panniculectomy candidates should be at a stable weight for at least one year. Individuals who have had the gastric bypass procedure or Lap-Band surgery should wait at least one year to undergo panniculectomy or any body contouring.
The Panniculectomy Procedure
Panniculectomy is performed by a specialist plastic surgeon in a hospital.
The surgery may last 3-4 hours and is performed under general anaesthesia (while you are asleep) and requires a hospital stay ranging from one day to one week.
Complications and Risks
Complications are possible with any plastic surgery. The most common panniculectomy complications include infection, bleeding, fluid collection (seroma), blood clots and excessive scarring. If these occur, notify your surgeon immediately.
Consult a Qualified Plastic Surgeon
Choose a specialist plastic surgeon from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) who has extensive panniculectomy experience, as well as expertise in all areas of abdominal plastic surgery. Specialist certification requires specific and rigorous surgical education and training, which can help maximize your cosmetic results while minimizing your risk of complications. Ask to view before-and-after photos of patients with similar conditions who received a panniculectomy. Start the process now.