Panniculectomy Recovery

What kind of recovery time can I expect from a panniculectomy? Is it the same as a tummy tuck or less? Will I need someone to help me out? How long will I need to take off of work? Thanks.

Doctor Answers (6)

Panniculectomy Recovery

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The recovery from abdominal wall panniculectomy is very similar to the recovery from abdominoplasty surgery. This recovery varies from patient to patient and is related to the amount of skin and subcutaneous fat removed. In some cases, relatively small amounts of skin are removed while in other cases 30 to 40 pounds can be removed following massive weight loss. This difference can dramatically impact the recovery.

In the immediate postoperative period, patients can anticipate limited physical activity for ten to fourteen days. I typically tell my patients bathroom and kitchen privileges initially with slow resumption of normal activity over the next two weeks. Patients can usually return to work in two weeks if no strenuous activity or heavy lifting is involved. After six weeks, they can resume all their normal activities including heavy lifting.

Patients typically wear an abdominal binder for three weeks following surgery. This minimizes swelling and increases comfort. Drains are placed at the time of surgery and are usually removed within two weeks of surgery. Pain management is extremely important. Most patients are initially given narcotic pain relievers and switched to Tylenol five to seven days following surgery. Patients with small children should have assistance with child care for at least one week and patients should not drive while taking narcotics.

For many patients, abdominal wall panniculectomy is a life-changing experience and results in dramatic changes in self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-image. 

Recovery from Panniculectomy (Apron Removal)

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Panniculectomy is the surgical removal of the tummy overhang or apron. It is NOT a Tummy Tuck. The operation only removes the hanging skin. It does NOT relocate the belly button, tighten the muscles, narrow the waist or lift the upper anterior thigh skin.

Since people react differently to pain and since skin overhangs vary drastically in their dimensions, recovery can be similar to a Mini-Tummy Tuck to that of a major abdominal operation.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Panniculectomy versus Tummy Tuck recovery!

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There are panniculectomies (2-5 pounds) and then there are panniculectomies (40 or more pounds). Recovery varies tremendously and so do the post-operative care requirements. In comparison to a tummy tuck it is generally less.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Abdominoplasty and Tummy tuck in Los Angeles

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The recovery time for a panniculectomy is considerably less than an abdominoplasty because there is no muscle plication and tightening in a panniculectomy.


Dr. Karamanoukian

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews


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The recovery from a panniculectomy is typically the same as for a tummy tuck.  Two weeks off from work is recommended, then 2 months off from exercise.

Panniculectomy recovery

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Recovery from this operation is dependent upon your medical issues, amount to be removed. On average 3 to 6 weeks is the range of recovery.


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.