A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin from the lower abdomen, sometimes referred to as an “apron”. Unlike a tummy tuck, which tightens the abdominal muscles underneath as well, a panniculectomy removes and tightens only the loose skin. This procedure is often performed after extreme weight loss or pregnancy, in which excess skin on the abdomen is common.
Liposuction is a way to shape and contour the body, producing dramatic changes in a small amount of time by removing stubborn fatty deposits under the skin. Although liposuction is most often associated with the thighs and abdomen, liposuction can be performed on many places of the body such as the thighs, abdomen, arms, back, and chin.
Vaser liposuction (ultrasonic) and Smartlipo (laser) are types of liposuction that use heat to liquefy the fat prior to removal. The heat promotes collagen production and skin tightening.
A panniculectomy is often combined with liposuction, contouring the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin. These procedures can be performed separately, but are often combined for stronger results.
The cost of the procedure varies from patient to patient. Prices vary depending on the intensity of the procedure, as well as if the surgery is combined with other procedures and the part of the body where the surgery is performed.
In some cases, the costs of a panniculectomy may be covered by insurance. Contact your health insurance provider to find out specific criteria. Liposuction, however, is not normally covered by insurance. Dr. Hardaway will discuss pricing at your consultation.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks. The most common risks include bruising and swelling after the procedure. As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection if not taken care of properly. Blood clots and nerve damage are other risks from the procedure but are uncommon. Strictly following the doctor’s instructions for aftercare can help decrease the chance of these risks.
Results from a panniculectomy with liposuction surgery will last for many years. However, fluctuations in weight and changes to the body such as pregnancy can alter the results. Maintaining a stable weight and practicing healthy habits through diet and exercise will help prolong results.
This surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning that the patient will be sent home after surgery. Patients should plan on having someone to drive them home from the procedure. A compression garment may be used after surgery to support the abdomen, as well as minimize swelling. This should be worn for 3 to 6 weeks, except when showering. Surgical drains may be used to help drain off any excess fluid or blood, and will be removed by the doctor 5 to 10 days after surgery.
Patients can normally return to work 2 to 3 weeks after the procedure, depending on the physical intensity of the job. Normal physical activity can be resumed when cleared by the doctor, normally two to three weeks after surgery. Do not resume normal physical activity or return to work until cleared by the doctor.
A panniculectomy with liposuction is an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient will be able to go home after surgery. The patient is under general anesthesia for the procedure.
For a panniculectomy, a horizontal incision is made between the pubic hairline and bellybutton. Sometimes, a vertical incision is needed as well. The shape and width of the incision depends on the amount of excess skin that needs to be removed. An incision is made around the bellybutton as well. The skin from the upper abdomen is then pulled down, and the excess skin is trimmed and sutured together.
Small incisions are made near the areas of treatment and a very thin tube called a cannula is inserted under the skin to reach fat deposits. The cannula is attached to a vacuum, and the doctor will move the tube under the skin to suction out fatty deposits. With liposuction, the fat can also be inserted into other areas of the body, to help contour and shape other areas.