panniculectomyIt is recognized that obesity has been a rather difficult problem in this day and age. Medical complications such as high blood pressure and heart malfunction are some of the risks obese individuals are prone to have. The fight against obesity has influenced many people to try losing weight.

It’s a well-established fact that weight loss is a great way of improving one’s health. However, drastic weight loss, when caused by bariatric surgery or extreme dieting, may leave behind massive amounts of excess skin.

The extra skin and fat hanging below the belt line in the lower area of the stomach is called the pannus, or abdominal “apron”. This may extend several inches from the body, covering the genital areas, and will likely become burdensome because of the added weight.

The pannus can also hinder hygiene, strain your back, and make other regular day-to-day activities harder. Your hygiene suffers because of the build-up of moisture in various parts of the body (specifically in the pubic region). This moisture develops from perspiration, and can cause rashes, bad odor and skin ulcers.

Day-to-day activities will be more difficult, too:  clothing may not fit properly and—should the skin area be larger—it will be difficult for an individual to even stand or move around.

The best approach

The best approach to removing the pannus involves a method that directly attacks the area surgically. This is a plastic surgery procedure called panniculectomy, or more specifically, abdominal panniculectomy. This specific surgical operation removes the pannus, and is usually performed on its own, or with another operation called abdominoplasty (more commonly known as the tummy tuck, a surgical technique that takes out excess skin and fat and tightens the muscles of the abdomen).

Abdominal panniculectomy is a major operation and should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon either in a hospital or in an outpatient surgery center.

At the start of the operation, an incision that spans the entire region from the lower sternum to the pubic bone will be made, followed by a horizontal incision across the pubic area. Extra fat and skin are removed. Afterward, when all the targets have been removed, the wound is sutured.

This takes a few hours and is performed under general anesthesia. A hospital stay is recommended after the operation.

Who Needs Panniculectomy?

Those who suffer from great obesity, or those who have experienced drastic weight loss, especially due to bariatric surgery are the best candidates for abdominal panniculectomy. Mothers who suffer from post-pregnancy issues of having left so much inordinate fat below the belly button can also benefit from this operation.

Candidates should maintain a stable weight and follow a proper diet and exercise program. Those who have undergone the gastric bypass procedure must wait after a year or so. All health problems associated with obesity should be addressed before undergoing abdominal panniculectomy.

Tummy Tuck and Abdominal Panniculectomy

While similar in results, panniculectomy and tummy tucks are two vastly different operations. Abdominoplasty is a procedure that also removes excess fat and skin, but tightens the muscles as well. It does not totally remove everything, since it focuses on tightening the muscles primarily. Panniculectomy, on the other hand, focuses on removing excess skin from the pannus area.