A panniculectomy is a procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen that hangs below the waist.  The procedure is often performed on patients that have lost weight and as a result have been left with loose abdominal skin and soft tissue that drapes below the waist often resting on the upper thighs or even further down towards the knees.  For some individuals, the hanging abdominal skin and tissue (the abdominal pannus) is the source of several problems including:

  • skin irritation and sores
  • mobility and exercise restriction
  • difficulty with finding clothes that fit
  • hygiene issues
  • as well as personal and social negative impact

A panniculectomy therefore aims to remove the excess abdominal skin and soft tissue to prevent or correct such symptoms.  The procedure may be covered by insurance in certain cases.  It is important to know that a panniculectomy is different from a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) since a panniculectomy is not designed to:

  • tighten the entire abdomen skin
  • rejuvenate the belly button
  • tighten the abdominal muscles
  • thin and contour the sides of the waist via liposuction

These last set of abdominal contour improvements are part of an abdominoplasty.  When insurance is involved, the panniculectomy part may be covered by insurance and the remainder of the abdominal contouring achieved by an abdominoplasty will have to be paid for separately by the patient.

Below is a preoperative marking of a panniculectomy as well as a video showing the removal of the excess skin an soft tissue.


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