A panniculectomy is a surgical cosmetic procedure to remove the excess hanging skin and tissue in the lower abdomen (the pannus). This can develop following significant weight loss after a gastric bypass or pregnancy. As a result, patients may experience physical complications such as chafing skin, sores, and skin rashes, as well as hygiene and mobility problems.
In this article, we will explore the panniculectomy procedure in greater depth and how it can benefit patients struggling with excess tissue in the lower abdomen.
At the CREO Clinic, we are led by our expert body contouring surgeon, Dr. Omar Tillo, who has the specialist knowledge and experience to design your panniculectomy surgery. Contact the CREO Clinic today and get on track to your taut tummy.
Common Reasons To Get Panniculectomy Surgery
A panniculectomy, unlike similar procedures such as a tummy tuck, is often considered a medical necessity due to the associated complications it can cause. Patients may seek surgical treatment if:
- They develop associated medical issues such as chafing skin and sores.
- They are unable to maintain adequate hygiene around the area, resulting in infections
- Their mobility is impeded by the excess fat and overhanging skin.
- They are unhappy with the appearance of the pannus and wish to achieve a flatter, more contoured stomach.
Who Is A Candidate For Panniculectomy Surgery?
Adults who are seeking to remove excess skin in the pannus for aesthetic or medical and/or functional reasons are typically ideal patients for panniculectomy surgery. Patients should also:
- Be in overall good physical and psychological health.
- Be at their ideal weight, with a BMI below 30. To determine your BMI, use our BMI calculator.
- Have realistic expectations about the results a panniculectomy can achieve.
What Panniculectomy Can’t Do
Although a panniculectomy has many key advantages, it’s important to understand the limitations of this body contouring surgery:
- A panniculectomy is designed to remove the pannus only. This means that it won’t remove additional excess skin and fat in the upper and lower abdomen, which can be done with a tummy tuck.
- A panniculectomy does not involve abdominal muscle repair. Unlike a tummy tuck which tightens the abdominal muscles, this procedure won’t help associated health issues like back pain.
- The skin is not typically tightened during a panniculectomy, meaning the surface of the skin won’t have a smoother appearance after surgery.
How Much Does Panniculectomy Surgery Cost
The cost of a panniculectomy at the CREO Clinic starts from £8,900. However, the price can vary depending on a patient’s exact needs. For this reason, a bespoke price breakdown will only be given following a consultation with Dr. Tillo.
What’s Included In The Cost
The quoted price at the CREO Clinic includes:
- Hospital and theatre fees
- Surgeons fees
- Anaesthetist and anaesthetic fees
- Follow-up appointments with Dr. Tillo
- Compression garments
However, additional charges may be incurred for chaperone services, additional medical tests/scans and private prescriptions.
How To Prepare For A Panniculectomy
In the run up to your panniculectomy surgery, you will need to take several preparations:
- Maintain a stable BMI – Your BMI will need to remain at a suitable and stable level to reduce the risk of complications during and after surgery.
- Stop smoking – You will need to cease all nicotine consumption four weeks before any cosmetic surgery as this can cause complications.
- Limit your alcohol consumption – Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink to help your body heal effectively after surgery.
- Prepare your home for recovery – Ensure your home is comfortable for your return after surgery and make any necessary arrangements for child and pet care.
During your consultation with Dr. Tillo, you will be asked about your medical history and Dr. Tillo will fully assess your pannus to design a suitable treatment plan.
You will then be told about the results you can expect from a panniculectomy, and you will be asked about your expectations for the procedure to ensure these are realistic.
What To Expect During Panniculectomy Procedure
A panniculectomy is carried out under sedation or general anaesthetic, and typically takes 2-3 hours to complete.
During surgery, a series of incisions are made in the lower abdomen and from the sternum to the pubic bone. The pannus is then removed, and the remaining skin is sutured together.
After surgery, you will be given comprehensive aftercare guidance to manage any drains and dressings at home.
As a panniculectomy only involves removing the pannus, it is a less invasive procedure than similar surgeries like a tummy tuck, meaning the associated downtime is also reduced.
However, it can still take patients up to eight weeks to completely recover from a panniculectomy. After this period, patients are able to resume all normal activity, including strenuous exercise.
When Will I See Results From Panniculectomy Surgery
Immediately after surgery, you will be able to notice that your lower abdomen is flatter and more defined in appearance now the pannus has been removed.
During the initial few weeks of recovery, you will need to wear a compression garment to manage swelling. Once all post-surgical swelling has dissipated, which can take several months, you can enjoy the full effects of your newly contoured upper body.
Although a panniculectomy is considered a safe procedure, like any surgery, it comes with its own potential risks, including:
- Loose skin developing again, requiring further surgery
- Nerve damage
- Poor wound healing
Is Panniculectomy Surgery Worth it?
A panniculectomy can alleviate a wide range of medical, functional and aesthetic benefits. In addition, the procedure is less invasive than similar procedures like a tummy tuck, meaning less downtime is required. For these reasons, many patients consider a panniculectomy to be a worthwhile surgical procedure.
How is a panniculectomy different from abdominoplasty/ tummy tuck?
A panniculectomy removes the pannus only, whereas a tummy tuck removes excess skin from the upper and lower abdomen. In addition, unlike a panniculectomy, a tummy tuck can involve skin tightening and abdominal muscle repair.
Can excess skin return after panniculectomy surgery?
Although the excess skin is permanently removed during surgery, lax skin can once again develop in the area if a patient experiences significant weight fluctuations. Therefore, patients should seek to be at their ideal, stable weight prior to surgery.
How should I sleep after undergoing a panniculectomy?
After panniculectomy, you should sleep on your back until the incision sites are fully healed. This reduces the risk of complications caused by putting pressure on the area, such as wound breakdown and infections.
Are panniculectomy scars noticeable?
A panniculectomy involves an incision from hip to hip and may involve incisions down the sides of the body. However, a good surgeon will make every effort to place incisions so that scarring can be disguised with underwear and the natural contours of the body. For patients concerned about scarring after a panniculectomy, we offer laser scar removal to vaporise scar tissue while rejuvenating the surrounding skin, improving the overall appearance of the area.
How long do panniculectomy results last?
The results from a panniculectomy are permanent in that the pannus is completely removed from the body. However, in order to maintain the results, patients will need to remain at a stable weight.
When can I exercise after getting panniculectomy surgery?
It can take patients up to 8 weeks to fully recover from a panniculectomy, after which they are able to resume their normal exercise routine.