A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove excessive skin and fat from your lower abdomen. Specifically, it is performed to remove the tissue that folds over your waist line and hangs over your groin and legs. This is a surgery preformed on individuals many times after massive weight loss. This weight loss may be achieved with diet, exercise, or bariatric surgery. The skin and fat that hangs off your waistline may be creating issues with hygiene, pain, mobility, and clothing fitting. Additionally, you may feel this area is unsightly and makes you less excited about your body’s new contours after weight loss. A panniculectomy can be a wonderful compliment to all your hard work and the next step in your weight loss journey.
Who is a Candidate for Panniculectomy?
Any healthy individual who has significant excess skin and fat in their lower abdomen after massive weight loss.
Individuals with difficulties related to their abdominal pannus (poor hygiene, skin breakdown, skin infection, etc.)
Patients who are may be near or on good trajectory towards achieving their goal weight.
Many times your bariatric surgeon will have a good idea when this surgery would be best for you.
Your Consultation Visit
During this initial visit, we will review your health history and any previous surgeries. We will visit in depth about your weight loss journey and goals. At this point, we can discuss the steps and decision-making process and timing of your panniculectomy surgery. We want to make sure that you are in ideal shape for surgery and it’s done at the right time for you.
We will review possible risks, anticipated recovery time, and answers for any specific questions you may have. A physical examination is then performed where photos and measurements will be taken. These physical findings will be utilized to ensure the safest and best procedure is preformed to help you achieve your goals. Surgical options based upon this assessment will then be provided and reviewed.
A full hour is scheduled for your initial visit. This time allows for a thorough evaluation and an opportunity to get all your questions and concerns addressed.
The Day of Surgery
For your comfort and safety your procedure will be performed at an accredited surgical hospital. You will get to meet all nursing staff and anesthesia providers prior to your surgery. Your surgeon will also visit with your preoperatively to review surgical plan and preform surgical marking. All members of this team will work to provide a discreet, comfortable, and professional level of care from the moment you check in until your discharge.
The surgery itself will be done under general anesthesia and take approximately 3 hours. During this time, meticulous dissection and closure is performed. Operative site is closed over drains and local anesthetic is placed to help improve postoperative pain control. All incisions are covered with a surgical bandage and then an abdominal binder is placed for postop comfort and support.
Most patients, after a panniculectomy, elect to spend the evening in the hospital following this procedure. Staying in the hospital affords you around the clock care, excess to iv pain medications, and the support of knowledgeable nursing staff. Your surgeon will visit with the friends/family that came to be with you for your surgery. Typically, you are comfortable and ready for discharge the following morning after being seen by a member of our plastic surgery team. At the time of this discharge, nursing staff will review specific postop instructions and medications with you and your caregiver.
We ask you to stay in your compression garment as much as possible following your procedure. Your abdomen will feel swollen and sore for a few days following surgery. This discomfort should be readily controlled with the medications prescribed for you. You will need assistance getting around and doing normal activities of daily living.
You may shower the day after surgery. We will encourage you to get up and walk around frequently after surgery to promote healing and reduce your risk for developing blood clots.
A follow-up appointment in clinic will be made for the week after surgery. Follow-up appointments will be utilized to remove any sutures, drains, and ensure your recovery is on track. We like to see patients frequently during the first several weeks following your procedure. During your recovery we encourage you to call our clinic whenever a question or concern arises. We want you to have a stress-free recovery focused on allowing your body time. Everyone’s recovery is unique to their experience. That is why we will want to be involved with your individual recovery process. However, most patients will be ready to return to work in 1 week. We ask that you avoid any strenuous activity for 6-8 weeks following surgery. Your result will likely be evident sometime between 3-6 months.
If you are interested in surgery, spend some time reviewing this information and videos on our website. We also have photo library of before and after results from some or our past clients.
Then give our clinic a call at (605) 334-1930 to schedule your free initial consultation.