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Panniculectomy vs. Tummy Tuck

panniculectomy vs tummy tuck

Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)

A panniculectomy and a tummy tuck are both cosmetic procedures that remove excess skin in the lower abdomen. 

However, understanding both procedures, their differences, and how suitable they are for your body are essential in determining whether tummy tuck or panniculectomy is right for you. 

Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure to remove excess skin from the abdomen. Unlike a panniculectomy, a tummy tuck can include muscle repair.

Benefits of Tummy Tuck

  • A tummy tuck can provide a noticeably flatter and more contoured abdomen.  
  • A tummy tuck can tighten the skin around the abdomen, creating an aesthetically pleasing, smoother finish. 

Tummy Tuck Cost

The exact cost of a tummy tuck is dependent on a range of factors, including the type of tummy tuck performed. 

At the CREO Clinic, the cost of a mini tummy tuck starts from £8,900, with the price of a full abdominoplasty beginning from £10,900 to £12,900.

How Long is a Tummy Tuck Procedure?

A tummy tuck can be performed under general anaesthesia or sedation and typically takes 2-5 hours, depending on factors such as the surgical techniques used and the amount of skin to be removed. 
During a full tummy tuck, incisions are made along the bikini line and around the belly button to remove the lax skin. After this, the abdominal muscles and remaining skin may be tightened, and the belly button may be repositioned for a natural-looking finish.

Tummy Tuck Results

Patients are able to immediately notice their flatter and more contoured abdomen following their tummy tuck.

However, patients should wait for all post-surgical to dissipate to get the full effect of their newly toned tummy, which can take between 6-12 months. 

How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Tummy Tuck?

The exact recovery timeline after a tummy tuck will vary depending on the type of procedure performed. In general, for a full abdominoplasty, patients are usually able to resume most daily activities 1-2 weeks after surgery, including a return to work.  

However, patients must wait 3-4 weeks before beginning light exercise and can expect a full recovery by 12 weeks after their procedure.

Panniculectomy

What is a Panniculectomy?

A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the pannus, the overhanging excess tissue on the lower abdomen. This typically develops following significant weight loss from a gastric bypass or pregnancy and can result in discomfort from chafing skin, sores, hygiene, and mobility problems. 

A panniculectomy, unlike a tummy tuck, is often considered a medical necessity as it can address a wide array of associated medical conditions like sores and infections. 

However, a panniculectomy only removes the pannus and does not provide the benefits associated with muscle tightening during a tummy tuck, such as reduced back pain and mobility issues. 

Panniculectomy Cost

The price of a panniculectomy at the CREO Clinic starts from £8,900. However, an exact cost breakdown will only be determined following a 1-to-1 consultation with a surgeon to understand the exact surgical techniques needed. 

How Long is a Panniculectomy Procedure?

A panniculectomy is considered a major surgical procedure, and can be carried out under general anaesthesia or sedation. Incisions are made in the lower abdomen and from the sternum to the pubic bone. After the pannus is removed, the remaining skin is sutured together.

Overall, this procedure typically takes 2-3 hours in surgery to complete.

Panniculectomy Results

The results from a panniculectomy will be both immediate and gradual. Following surgery, you will be able to notice your abdomen is free of the pannus and its associated medical issues. 

However, patients must wait for any post-surgical swelling to completely dissipate before they can see the final result of their panniculectomy. This can take several months, and you must wear a compression garment for the first few weeks after surgery to aid this process. 

How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Panniculectomy?

Following surgery, you will be provided with thorough aftercare instructions to care for any drains and dressings, ensuring the smoothest recovery possible. 

A panniculectomy is a less invasive surgery than a standard tummy tuck as it only excises the overhanging skin, meaning fewer incisions are made in the area. Furthermore, a panniculectomy doesn’t involve skin tightening or muscle repair, which can extend the necessary recovery period. 

However, it can take patients up to eight weeks to fully recover from a panniculectomy. During this time, you must avoid more strenuous activities that may place strain on the incision sites.

Pros and Cons of Tummy Tuck

Pros

  • A tummy tuck can create a more contoured and flatter abdomen by removing the excess, lax skin.
  • A tummy tuck can involve skin tightening, giving an aesthetically pleasing, smooth finish. 
  • A tummy tuck can repair muscle separation and improve associated medical conditions, such as back pain and urinary incontinence. 

Cons

  • Depending on the type of tummy tuck performed, scarring can be extensive. However, a good surgeon is able to disguise scars along the natural contours of the abdomen or where undergarments are typically worn. 
  • As a tummy tuck is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is unlikely that the cost will be covered by medical insurance

In order to maintain the results of a tummy tuck, patients must keep a stable weight to prevent lax skin from redeveloping around the abdomen. This can be done by ensuring patients stick to a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise. 

Pros and Cons of Panniculectomy

Pros

  • A panniculectomy can help create a more aesthetically pleasing tummy by removing the overhanging skin.  
  • By removing the pannus, patients can find relief from associated health complaints like sores and infections under the skin folds. 
  • As a panniculectomy is often done for medical purposes, the cost may be covered by insurance companies in certain circumstances. 
  • A panniculectomy is a less invasive procedure than a tummy tuck, meaning less downtime is necessary. 

Cons

  • A panniculectomy only removes the overhanging pannus and not additional lax skin around the upper and lower abdomen, which can be done in a tummy tuck. 
  • A panniculectomy does not involve abdominal muscle repair. This means that health issues associated with muscle separation won’t be remedied. 
  • A panniculectomy doesn’t involve skin tightening, meaning the skin will not have a smoother appearance after surgery.
  • A panniculectomy can leave a significant scar hip-to-hip and may require incisions down the sides of the body.

Which Procedure is Right for You?

Determining whether a tummy tuck or panniculectomy is right for you depends on a range of factors, including a patient’s expectations from the surgery and their suitability.

For patients who are not fit for a full abdominoplasty or who want to undergo a less invasive procedure, a panniculectomy will be the most appropriate treatment. 

However, for patients who require a more comprehensive abdominal treatment, with muscle repair or skin tightening, a tummy tuck may be ideal.

Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today

The first step to deciding the right procedure for you and your body is by talking to a professional surgeon with the expert, clinical knowledge, and experience necessary to determine your needs. 

Contact the CREO Clinic today to schedule a consultation with our specialist, body contouring surgeon, Dr Omar Tillo, and get on track to your taut tummy.

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