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Panniculectomy after Weight Loss Surgery

Losing weight is often a long and arduous process that improves your physical health and wellbeing, among many other benefits. If you have successfully lost weight, you'll feel that overwhelming sense of achievement, but you may also be frustrated with the loose skin that is associated with losing a large amount of weight in a short amount of time. If this is true for you, panniculectomy is an option as it will remove some of that extra skin through a unique body contouring procedureWhat is a Panniculectomy?

When you lose a large amount of weight quickly, whether through rigorous exercise, meticulous dieting, bariatric weight loss surgery, or a combination of these, your skin doesn’t always bounce back right away. In fact, the excess skin and fat on your abdomen can hang down over your lower abdomen, genital area, and even down to your thighs. This can be problematic, not only cosmetically, but for various health reasons. When this skin is rubbing against other body parts, it can cause skin rashes, ulcers, chaffing, and even back problems from the weight. A panniculectomy, also known as body contouring procedure, is a surgical procedure that will remove the extra skin and fat in this region.

Who is a candidate for a Panniculectomy?

Any person who has lost a large amount of weight and has excess skin or fat in the abdominal region can get a panniculectomy. The significant weight loss may be from weight loss surgery, diet and exercise, or even after pregnancy, particularly if it is for multiples. It's also not uncommon for women who have recently had a hysterectomy to want a panniculectomy.Individuals hoping to get a panniculectomy need to meet certain guidelines, such as maintaining their weight loss for at least a year, and not have obesity-related medical conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

What happens in a Panniculectomy procedure?

A panniculectomy is generally an outpatient surgery performed in a specialty surgery clinic or a hospital. General anesthesia is most commonly used for the procedure, and the average length of time is 2-3 hours or longer, depending on how much fat and skin there is to remove. Incisions are made from your sternum to the public bone, and another that runs across your pubic area in a horizontal line. The excess skin and fat is removed, and your remaining skin is sutured.

What is recovery like after a Panniculectomy?

Immediately after the procedure, you will remain in the hospital or outpatient center for at least a week. After leaving the hospital, you will be sore and swollen, and it can take up to a few months to recover completely. You will be given post-procedure instructions, which includes guidelines regarding bathing, caring for your sutures, and what to do if the pain worsens. You will wear special clothing for the first few weeks to keep you more comfortable. Heavy lifting or activity that can cause any sort of pressure to your abdominal area will be prohibited during your recovery.

Are there any risks of a Panniculectomy?

While a panniculectomy is an outpatient procedure, there are still risks associated with it. These include scarring, bleeding, infection, fluid collection, and blood clots. In rare cases, you may need additional surgery for revisions.

A panniculectomy can help to remove unattractive and unwanted excess skin following weight loss, but it should be noted that finding an experienced and licensed plastic surgeon to perform the procedure is vitally important. Choose a plastic surgeon that is board certified from the American Board of Plastic Surgery with experience performing panniculectomy procedures, along with abdominal plastic surgery in general. By choosing a surgeon who is board-certified, it will ensure he or she has extensive surgical education and training in order to minimize the risks associated with the procedure. Be sure to do your research before choosing a surgeon, and view their before and after panniculectomy photos.

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By Dr. Barker