Panniculectomy is the surgical removal of the panniculus, i.e excess skin and tissue from the lower abdomen. Panniculus can form after pregnancy or rapid weight loss as seen with strict exercise plans.

Panniculectomy surgery may be necessary for patients with hanging fat and skin on the abdomen, whether the removal is needed to address cosmetic concerns or resolve medical issues.

Panniculectomy Procedure

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and it can last up to five hours. The surgeon then makes two incisions horizontally and vertically across the pubic bone. The length of the cuts depends on how much skin needs to be removed.

Through the incisions, the surgeon will remove excess fat and skin. The remaining skin and tissues are then pulled together and closed with stitches, and the incision areas are taped. Doctors may insert drains during the procedure to remove excess fluid.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, the panniculectomy can lead to some complications and potential risks. Some of these risks include:

  • bleeding at wound sites
  • swelling
  • scarring
  • persistent pain
  • numbness
  • infection
  • fluid accumulation
  • blood clotting
  • nerve damage

If you begin to experience any irregular symptoms following your surgery, seek immediate medical attention.

Panniculectomy Cost

The total cost for panniculus removal surgery depends on a lot of factors such as the anesthetic fee, private hospital fee, private operating facility fee, size of panniculus and insurance coverage.

Most often than not, panniculus removal cost is considered a cosmetic procedure and as such is not something that is covered by insurance plans. Since each patient’s insurance coverage is different, it’s important to understand your plan in order to know how much, if any, of the surgery will be covered. For example, some patients may have high deductibles where insurance will cover only a small portion of the associated costs. On the other hand, some patients may have 80/20 plans where the insurance may cover a significant amount and the patient is only responsible for their copay.

Also, panniculectomy cost is usually higher when performed with other procedure such as tummy tuck.

The total cost of the procedure is around $7500 – $1500.

Panniculectomy Recovery

In most cases, a panniculectomy is an outpatient surgery. But depending on the extent of the procedure, the patient may be required to stay over night for observation and proper healing. There should be no heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a few weeks following the procedure.

Panniculectomy patients can expect pain and discomfort from swelling and bruising at the incision sites. The stitches may be removed within a week while deeper sutures dissolve on their own. Complete recovery will take months and you will be required to have follow-up appointments with your doctor to ensure lasting results.

When you remove the dressings and look at the incision for the first time after surgery, do not be alarmed. The incision will be quite wrinkled and puckered, and will look quite ugly. This is exactly what they are supposed to look like. It takes 2-4 months for the incision to heal (inside and outside). The puckering of the incisions will smooth out over several months, but the scar will remain wide and red anywhere from six months to one year after surgery. Once the scar has matured, the redness will go away.

Patients are generally pleased with results and often lose 5–10 pounds from the surgery. Some patients may notice improvement in their physical activity and personal hygiene.

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