Panniculectomy or Abdominoplasty?

What's the difference between a panniculectomy and an abdominoplasty? How do you know which is better for you?

Doctor Answers (1)

Panniculectomy vs. Abdominoplasty

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It’s not unusual for massive weight loss patients to develop significant amounts of redundant abdominal tissue. In addition, many of these patients will develop weakness and laxity of the underlying abdominal muscles as well. A variety of surgical options are available to address these problems including panniculectomy and abdominoplasty procedures. The choice of procedure is dependent upon the patient’s anatomic findings and aesthetic goals.

An abdominal panniculectomy removes excess hanging lower abdominal skin and fat. It doesn’t remove excess upper abdominal skin, tighten abdominal muscles or reposition the umbilicus. This procedure is frequently utilized following massive weight loss when patients suffer back pain, rashes, and severe infections because of their hanging abdominal skin. The procedure is frequently covered by insurance carriers.

In contrast, abdominoplasty removes excess upper and lower abdominal skin, tightens the underlying abdominal muscles and repositions the umbilicus. This procedure is performed for aesthetic reasons and is considered cosmetic. The procedure dramatically shapes and contours the abdomen. It’s associated with excellent clinical results and high levels of patient satisfaction. It’s typically not covered by insurance carriers.

It’s important that each patient be considered individually when undergoing this type of procedure. It’s therefore important to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to determine what type of procedure will meet your aesthetic goals.


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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.