Procedure to Remove a Large Apron of Fat

I'm overweight, but have lost weight going from 400lbs. to 330. I'm 24 years old with good blood pressure, and no diabetes nor other health problems.

The better I get around my ribs, across my chest, and in my arms, the bigger my lower tummy gets. Lower body exercise is getting harder because of this apron of fat hanging. It even changes how I sit.

I want to get rid of it, but it's kind of heavy. How many pounds, or in general, how much can I remove from my body safely? How much would a procedure this large cost?

Doctor Answers 23

Best procedure to remove a large apron of fat????????????

Congratulations on losing the weight.  An abdominal pannus can be very debilitating and cause hygiene issues as well as difficulty with ambulation.  So far you have lost 70 pounds and you are continuing to lose weight.  If that is the case, do not have your surgery until you have reached your goal weight.


The other piece of this picture is that you are still morbidly obese at 330 pounds.  I would encourage you to get closer to a normal body weight.  You may be able to reach this with true lifestyle modification, but you may also need some help.  Bariatric surgery has excellent outcomes compared to lifestyle changes alone.  Should you remain in the morbidly obese category, I would encourage you to explore the option of weight loss surgery.

Body lift for removal of abdominal apron of fat

Congratulations on your substantial weight loss - way to go!! You're young, and other than your obesity, you appear to be fairly healthy. This bodes favorably for you in the long run. I'm afraid, though, that at this stage you are probably not yet an ideal candidate for a panniculectomy, the procedure that removes the apron of fat (pannus) at the lower abdomen, or a total body lift, which removes a "belt" instead of the apron only found in the front. Both of these operations that we are addressing are not operations done specifically FOR weight loss, but rather, are done AFTER massive weight loss has occurred. In regards to your question, though, usually due to the large size of the pannus, substantial weight loss can do achieved. This procedure ususally costs several thousand dollars, and may vary in cost, depending on how much time is taken in the Operating Room, as well as if other procedures are to be done concurrently. I understand that it is getting harder to deal with the pannus, and that it interferes with daily activities and exercise. My only reply to that is: KEEP AT IT!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!! Continue to lose more weight, continue to watch what and how you eat, and continue increasing the activity level in your life. When it's the right time, a panniculectomy or total body lift will work wonders for you, and the quality of your life will be immensely improved. Good luck.

Large Apron of Fat

As the other surgeons have mentioned, what you likely need is a panniculectomy, or an abdominoplasty if you want contouring and a new belly button. Regardless of what you choose you need to wait until you have lost more weight. It is certainly impressive that you have lost 70 lbs already, but you are not yet at a safe weight for surgery. At your size your complication rate would be 70% or above, with the likely complication being an open wound on your belly. I'd recommend waiting until your BMI(body mass index) was below 35 at the most. Below 30 would be even better. You've done great so far. Good luck.

Procedure to Remove a large apron of fat

Hello and thank you for your question. The simple procedure is called a panniculectomy and may very well be covered by insurance. If not the cost for that in San Antonio is $7000. I have removed as much as 50 pounds.
Peter Fisher M.D. 

Peter Fisher, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Procedure to lose large apron of abdominal fat

 Congratulations on losing the weight. I would not offer surgery until your goal weight was achieved. If you have the surgery to soon you may not have the results you are looking for. I have my patients wait to have their surgery once their weight has stabilized for 3 to 6 months. Please visit with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area.

Procedure to Remove Large Apron of Fat

It is possible that you may be a candidate for panniculectomy, a procedure that removes the apron of fat (pannus) at the lower abdomen. However, it would be best to hold off until you reach a BMI [body mass index] of around 35 or less before electing to have any surgical procedures. This would allow you to address all areas of concern at one time and would assist you with a smoother recovery period. My recommendation is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to devise a long term plan to address your concerns.

Scott Chapin, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Abdomen apron

It sounds like your procedure, if done at this time, will be classified as a panniculectomy.  You may not be an ideal candidate for such a procedure.  The closer you can get to your goal (ideal) weight, the better your result, the better your health, the better your recover will be.  I would recommend, if possible, that you postpone surgery until you get closer to your ideal body weight and your weight loss plateaus for at least 6 months, preferably 12.  If you are not not yet on a physician supervised weight loss program it may be helpful to do so.  

Jeffrey D. Wagner, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Procedure to remove large apron of fat

Congratulations on your commitment to losing weight.  I would recommend that you continue the current weight reduction plan.  I realize that the more you lose weight, the more relaxed and sagging the lower abdomen becomes.  You will have a better result with a greater degree of safety by waiting until you are closer to your goal weight.  Once you reach your goal weight, allow a couple of months for the weight to remain stable before preceding with surgery.  The best surgical option depends on your goal.  If you want an immediate functional improvement by removing the skin apron only, then a panniculectomy would be a good option.  However, if you desire the best cosmetic result, then abdominoplasty (aesthetic improvement of the entire abdomen) would be the best option.  Congratulations with the current weight loss, and lots of luck with reaching your weight loss goals!

Paul Fortes, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Body lift surgery

You are not the first patient to comment on the worsening roll of skin or the exorbitant weight of it as you shed pounds.  I think that you may still benefit from further weight loss from the perspective of the optimal final outcome.  Ideally your weight should be stable for some time.  A consultation with a surgeon will best answer that question for sure.

The specific area of concern is the pannus (apron) and a panniculectomy can be performed.  I often write to the Ministry of Health in Ontario to ask them to fund that portion of the procedure.  Although not the same as a body lift or abdominoplasty, by having OHIP cover the cost of the panniculectomy, it will save my patients $2-3K on the cost of their procedure.  It is not a guarantee but a supportive letter from your surgeon can go a long way.  Hopefully you have that where you live.  

Dr Rodger Shortt
Plastic Surgeon Oakville
Ass't Clin Professor
Director of Cosmetic Surgery Training,
McMaster University

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Apron of fat on tummy

A large abdominal pannus ( the technical term) can often be a source of frustration for folks who have worked so hard to lose weight, only to be left with a big apron of fat on the tummy. Fortunately, I have found that insurance companies are becoming more understanding in the realization that it can be quite debilitating for patients.  Ask your plastic surgeon about your options. Hope that helps.

Joshua Korman, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

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.