What is the difference between Panniculus Removal and a Tummy Tuck?

I am 51 yrs old. 2C-sections. The older I get, the worse this "Apron" becomes. In addition to the probs 25 yrs of extra weight in that area has caused my back (including a protruding disk) I'm not "living with it" as well as I thought. it also blisters/sores/irritated. I am not at my Ideal weight but am working on it. I have ZERO interest in being skinny. just want the body back that I had prior to childbirth. Just want the skin GONE & area to dry! Candidate for either? ..signed Trapped :(

Doctor Answers 7

Difference Between Tummy Tuck and Panniculectomy

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A panniculectomy ("apron removal") is a very limited operation that removes overhanging skin in the lower abdomen.  A tummy tuck removes extra skin and tightens both upper and lower abdomen.  The muscles are brought together where they belong anatomically and the belly button is repositioned.  Panniculectomies do very little to improve the appearance of an abdomen and can have wound healing complications.  A tummy tuck removes more skin than a panniculectomy.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Panniculectomy vs Abdominoplasty

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Panniculectomy removes excess hanging abdominal skin and fat whereas, abdominoplasty tightens the abdominal wall and removes excess hanging skin.
It is recommended to be evaluated by a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your individual situation.

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

What is the difference between Panniculus Removal and a Tummy Tuck?

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From your description, a panniculectomy seems reasonable.  A tummy tuck will produce a better cosmetic result. 

Find a plastic surgeon with elite credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tuck procedures each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD
Los Angeles, CA


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Thank you for your question.

To best help you please send in some pictures consisting of a front, back, left and right side view of your body as well as your height and weight in order to determine which procedures and technique would be best for your case.  

Jaime Campos Leon, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 257 reviews

Procedure question

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A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure. A panniculectomy is an insurance procedure that is performed for several reasons, mostly due to skin infections. A tummy tuck is the way to go if you a concerned about getting the best cosmetic result. Many plastic surgeons will not do insurance based panniculectomies due to the high complication rate. Good Luck!

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

The difference is that with a tummy tuck your often move the belly button and tighten muscle

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A panniculectomy remove excess fat and skin below the belly button. A tummy tuck also removes the excess skin and fat but usually moves the belly button and sutures tight the muscle covering. A panniculectomy take less than an hour to complete while-there is the added steps of moving the belly button and tightening the muscle layer with a tummy tuck. Most of the panniculectomies that I have done are on patients that are still over weight and want the hanging part of the skin removed. 

Ralph M. Rosato, MD
Vero Beach Plastic Surgeon

Focus on what results you want

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You should not get hung up on the terms that we use to provide rough categories of procedures. You would be better off to define what you are trying to achieve. From your comments it would appear that losing some weight, to try to get rid of some of the internal fat, tightening up the underlying muscles, stretched out from pregnancy, removing excess skin and doing some liposuction would help you achieve that "before baby body". This would fall into the category of abdominoplasty with liposuction. A panniculectomy will only remove skin below the belly button.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 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.