Is a Panniculectomy the Right Procedure for Me?

Is a Panniculectomy the Right Procedure for Me?

If you have hanging skin around your lower abdomen causing you discomfort, a panniculectomy may be able to resolve this problem. Excess skin can be uncomfortable, and this surgery may be life-changing, especially if that excess skin is causing rashes, sweating or ulcers in the fold between the lower abdomen and pubic area. Dr. Kayastha can assess whether you are a candidate for a panniculectomy, but this overview may help you with the initial decision.

What is a Panniculectomy?

Panniculectomy surgery is a functional procedure that removes hanging skin from the lower abdomen to reduce any symptoms or discomfort resulting from it. This lower abdominal skin is called the pannus and is sometimes referred to as an apron since it can hang down over the genitals and even thighs, depending on how much hanging skin you have. Removing the pannus not only improves the appearance of the abdomen but can also increase mobility and significantly reduce discomfort and symptoms resulting from the excess skin.

Procedure

Surgery is a big decision, and your doctor will first want to make sure you are a good candidate. They may ask for lab work to check for underlying health conditions and ask about known medical conditions, such as allergies. Dr. Kayastha will check your abdomen and discuss your goals to make sure they align with what you can expect from a panniculectomy.

Before your surgery, you will either be sedated with a local or general anesthetic, based on your comfort and the doctor’s recommendations. A horizontal incision will be made at the bikini line and, if needed, a vertical incision may also have to be made in the middle of your abdomen. The need for a vertical incision depends on how much loose skin is being removed; likewise, depending on this factor, your surgery can take about 2-5 hours.

Recovery

After your panniculectomy, you will be bandaged and asked to wear a support garment for several days to promote healing and reduce swelling as much as possible. You should expect to take a week for complete rest and recovery, meaning no work or excessive movement. Like with any surgery, it is important to acknowledge that you will have some pain and discomfort, but your doctor will prescribe pain medication to alleviate these symptoms. After this period of time, you should be able to move around easier, but swelling may take a few more weeks to gradually subside before you will see your results. Strenuous activity and exercise should be avoided for 4-6 weeks for optimal healing.

Good Candidates for a Panniculectomy

If you have recently lost a lot of weight due to pregnancy, weight loss, or the natural aging process and are experiencing discomfort from your loose skin, you may be a great candidate for a panniculectomy. Additionally, being in a good health condition at a stable weight is crucial for a successful outcome. Some patients will choose to have a panniculectomy to remove excess skin that hangs after losing weight froms gastric bypass surgery.

Comparing Panniculectomy and a Tummy Tuck

Although these may seem like similar procedures, a panniculectomy is not done for cosmetic purposes, like a tummy tuck. Because of this, a panniculectomy might be covered by your insurance, but it is important to check with your provider to be sure before your procedure. A panniculectomy removes excess skin without tightening the abdominal muscles and is more often done for functional or health reasons. Removing the pannus limits the risk of future ulcers or reoccurring irritations and infections in the folds of your loose skin.

However, patients can combine a panniculectomy with an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, if they are looking to define the appearance of their midsection while removing uncomfortable excess skin. If you are simply looking to tone your abdomen and do not have a significant amount of excess skin causing other health problems, a tummy tuck may be suggested instead.

Schedule a Consultation

If you think a panniculectomy is right for you, schedule a consultation online with Dr. Sanjiv Kayastha at K Plastic Surgery in Albany, NY. He will work with you to design a treatment plan that meets your goal and will most effectively resolve your medical concerns. You can also contact the office at 518-674-9060.

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