As you consider your tummy tuck options, you may have come across the term panniculectomy. If you are wondering what type of procedure this is, we are going to cover the details below to help you understand if this is the right surgery for your needs.

Hands grabbing apron of stomach fat

What is a Panniculectomy Tummy Tuck?

A Panniculectomy tummy tuck is much different than a normal tummy tuck. A Panniculectomy tummy tuck will remove excess skin (pannus) that’s in the lower region of your abdomen. This skin is sometimes referred to as the “apron.”

This surgery does not tighten muscles in your abdomen like a tummy tuck procedure, meaning it’s not considered a cosmetic procedure. This procedure can be aligned with the tummy tuck and other operations to give you that look in your tummy that you’re looking for.

Who is a Good Candidate?

If you’ve worked hard at losing weight, by dieting and doing plenty of exercises and are still going strong, but the extra skin just won’t go away, you’re a prime candidate for this procedure. It’s also good if you don’t smoke because it reduces your risks during surgery.

This is a common choice for those who are seeing excessive weight loss after a weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass or lap band. When the weight comes off in large amounts fast, it tends to leave behind more loose skin. This can lead to infections and pain, so a panniculectomy is often recommended.

How Much Does it Cost?

A Panniculectomy tummy tuck procedure will run you anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 depending on the extent of the procedure. While this might sound high, because this is not considered cosmetic surgery, your health insurance might be able to help cover a lot of the costs. You have to meet your insurance’s criteria, and it must be considered a necessary procedure.

If you are working toward losing weight or have recently lost a significant amount that has left you with a loose flap of skin on the lower abdomen, you should begin talking to your doctor about adding things to your chart regarding this. That would include watching for extra pain, stress on your back, yeast infections, or rashes that develop underneath the apron. This can help to present your insurance with reasons it would be medically necessary to remove.

If you are considering this procedure, you may also want to grab My Tummy Tuck Planner. It’s a great tool to help you keep track of supplies and progress!

What’s the Procedure Like?

A Panniculectomy tummy tuck procedure can take up to 5 hours in length. Your surgeon will be making two incisions, the length depends on how much fat will be removed. The surgeon will then take the remaining skin and pull it together, stitching it with stitches and tape.

Typically this will only remove the loose skin and some amounts of fat from below the navel. Depending upon the physician and your physical appearance and shape, there are instances when the navel will be moved and more of the upper belly area is removed along with the apron removal.

You might also notice drains that are inserted to help remove excess fluids. It’s also not uncommon for your belly button to be repositioned or recreated altogether.

What’s Recovery Like?

Depending on your situation, for the most part, a panniculectomy tummy tuck is an outpatient operation. The recovery will depend upon the physician’s style of surgery and how much was removed. Some things to consider regarding recovery are listed below.

  • You will need someone to drive you home from the surgery and be with you at least during the first 24 hours post-surgery. Depending upon restrictions, it is recommended that you not be alone in the first 72 hours, but up to 2 weeks post-surgery.
  • You will not be able to drive for at least 2-weeks. Some doctors recommend longer.
  • There will be a lifting limit of 5 to 10 pounds for an extended number of weeks while your body heals.
  • You may need help removing bandages or cleaning incision areas. Some doctors have you bathe the next day while others make you wait for a week before removing the bandages to clean.
  • Allow yourself up to 1 year for swelling to go down completely in the area. You will see an immediate difference, but as your body heals and tissues reconnect in the area, you will have swelling in your lower abdomen off and on.

Recovery from a panniculectomy is not an overnight process. Expect your body to take at least 4 to 6 weeks to come back to a “normal” amount of energy and comfort. As the scars heal and your body adjusts, you will need to be patient and understand that no two people recover in the same way and you may need more time to heal than others.

Do you think the Panniculectomy tummy tuck is right for you? Have you, or do you know someone that has undergone the Panniculectomy tummy tuck procedure? How do you or does your friend feel about their new body? We’d love to hear your story.

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