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The goal of panniculectomy surgery is to remove hanging skin and fat from the lower abdomen to create a smoother abdominal contour. A panniculectomy differs from a tummy tuck in that the abdominal muscles are typically not tightened during a panniculectomy, and it is generally not considered a cosmetic procedure.  The word panniculectomy means removal of the pannus. The pannus is the overhanging skin of the lower abdomen that typically occurs after major weight loss, pregnancy or both. Even if patients lose more weight, there is excess skin, and this cannot be improved with weight loss.

Before and After Photos of Panniculectomy Patients

Panniculectomy Before and After

Panniculectomy Procedure

Panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that is typically performed under general anesthesia in a hospital.   Unlike abdominoplasty, panniculectomy does not tighten muscle or reposition the belly button. It only removes the excess skin and fat of the pannus from the lower abdomen, using a horizontal incision that runs from hip to hip with a downward curve, and sometimes a vertical incision from below the sternum to the pubic area. After overhanging skin and fat are removed, the remaining skin is pulled tight and sutured together. Typically a drain would be used to drain excess fluid post-operatively and the patient would be required to wear a binder post-op for at least 4 weeks.

Who is a Candidate for Panniculectomy?

There are many reasons why an individual can develop excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen. The most common causes are massive weight loss and pregnancy.  When this occurs, patients can develop chronic rashes from the overhang of skin. Some patients also develop back pain from the sheer weight of the pannus on the rest of the body.  This condition can interfere with the patients' ability to perform normal daily activities and for that reason is considered reconstructive and not cosmetic.

Post Surgery Recovery 

The first few days after a panniculectomy may be uncomfortable due to swelling and bruising.  Patients usually stay overnight in the hospital and wear compressive garments for up to four weeks.  They are also advised to avoid strenuous activity for a few weeks. However, patients can usually return to work within two to four weeks of the operation. Dr. Hazen will advise you on specific scar treatment and management as you heal.  Some patients have prolonged swelling after the procedure, but all swelling typically resolves by six months after the procedure. 

Why Choose Dr. Hazen

Dr. Hazen is professional while being very approachable.  You can talk to her and voice your concerns and she will take them seriously.  Although this procedure is not cosmetic in nature, Dr. Hazen gives you the best possible aesthetic results and gets you on the road to a healthier life. This surgery is a great step forward in that process!

What to Expect From Your Consultation

Dr. Hazen takes a detailed history of any medical issues and conditions, including hospitalizations and medications taken.  A physical exam is performed. Your goals and desires for surgery are explored and Dr. Hazen gives a comprehensive explanation of the surgical procedures that are possible for you, including complications and risks.  She describes your individual recovery process. Now, you have the option to take your pre-operative photos (saves a visit).  Dr. Hazen and you may explore any issues that are blocking or interfering with the surgery actually happening, including anxieties around it.  Then your surgery plan is made with a timeline.  If the procedure is not covered by insurance,  you receive an estimated cost for the surgery and anesthesia.

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