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Panniculectomy Surgery: Procedure, Recovery and Complications

Panniculectomy is an elective surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen, often after significant weight loss. This can be a transformative experience with significant benefits to your comfort and hygiene.

This article will help you understand the procedure, its benefits, what to expect before, during, and after surgery, and tips for a successful recovery.

Click here to learn more about the differences between a panniculectomy – a procedure we perform here at Meridian Surgery Center – and a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), which would be require the services of a plastic surgeon.

What is Panniculectomy?

A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen, known as the “pannus.” The pannus is often present after substantial weight loss or due to other medical conditions, and it can cause discomfort, skin irritation, and hygiene issues.

Why is Panniculectomy Necessary?

A panniculectomy can provide both medical and aesthetic benefits. It helps in:

  • Relieving Discomfort – The excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen can cause physical discomfort, back pain, skin irritation and hygiene issues.
  • Enhancing Mobility – Removing the pannus can improve your ability to move freely, exercise, and enjoy a more active lifestyle.
  • Boosting Confidence – Many patients experience a significant boost in self-confidence and body image after the surgery.

What to Expect During Surgery

  • You will be administered general anesthesia, ensuring you are unconscious and pain-free during the procedure.
  • Your surgeon will make an incision in the lower abdominal area, removing excess skin and fat.
  • The surgery typically takes a few hours, but the duration can vary depending on the extent of the excess tissue and complexity of the procedure.

Post-Surgery Recovery

Recovery after a panniculectomy varies from person to person, but here is a general timeline to help you understand what to expect:

  • You will spend some time in the recovery room to monitor your initial post-operative condition.
  • You may have drains to remove excess fluids from the surgical site, which will be removed later.

At Home Recovery

You can typically resume normal activities within a few weeks, but always consult Dr. Wright for personalized advice. To ensure optimal recovery:

  • Adhere to all post-operative care instructions, including medications, wound care, and follow-up appointments.
  • Continue to use an abdominal binder as directed for as much as one month.
  • Drains may be in place for as long as three weeks. No driving while drains are in place.
  • There may be a need for oral antibiotics. Take prescribed pain medications as directed and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
  • Give your body time to heal by avoiding strenuous activities, lifting heavy objects, or bending at the waist to allow proper healing for several weeks.
  • Keep the incision area clean and dry. Watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge.

Risks of a Panniculectomy

  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Seroma or hematoma (fluid collection)
  • Delayed wound healing

A panniculectomy can be a life-changing procedure for individuals who have experienced significant weight loss or have medical conditions that result in excess abdominal skin and fat. While the surgery can offer immense benefits, it’s essential to understand the process, follow post-operative care instructions, and maintain realistic expectations.

Dr. Wright will be your best resource throughout this journey, providing tailored advice and addressing any concerns. If you are considering this procedure, please contact us to arrange an appointment or evaluation today!

“I wish I’d found you much sooner. Life is awesome, again. Meridian Surgery Center and Dr. Wright have my highest recommendation.”