Is There a Benefit or Drawback to Having a Panniculectomy Before Having a Full Tummy Tuck?

I have lost 150 lbs and believe I have another 15 to 30 lbs to lose. My medical insurance will cover the cost of a panniculectomy to mitigate the existing skin/fat apron problem. Eventually, I would like to have a full tummy tuck, however I need to save money and lose the last 15 to 30 lbs, so it is at least a year down the road. My understanding is that the panniculectomy will not reposition my belly button and that it may simply be excised along with the excess skin. Input please.

Doctor Answers 11

Best to wait, lose weight and then have an abdominoplasty

In my opinion it would be best for your to wait and do everything at the same time.  I would encourage your to continue with your weight loss and when ready have an abdominoplasty.  

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Is there a benefit or drawback to having a panniculectomy before having a full tummy tuck?

Hello! Thank you for your question! I hope that these answers help! A panniculectomy is an excellent method for removing the excess skin and soft tissue of the lower abdomen (abdominal panniculus), often caused by weight loss. It is mainly performed to ameliorate symptoms caused by the abdominal apron such as hygiene issues, excoriations, rashes/infections, back pain, etc. A panniculectomy gives almost immediate relief from these issues as well as has been shown to stimulate additional weight loss as your activity level is increased after removal of the panniculus. An abdominoplasty is more of an aesthetic procedure in that as opposed to simply excising this excess tissue in a wedge to relieve complaints, an abdominoplasty focuses more on abdominal contouring, abdominal wall tightening, re-insetting the belly button, as well as often times the addition of liposuction.

I would highly recommend continued diet and exercise prior to any consideration for a panniculectomy or body contouring as getting down to your ideal weight prior to the procedure will certainly give you the best results as well as be the safest for you. Neither one is a weight loss procedure. Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle will be needed in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you. You should consult with a plastic surgeon at anytime to go over options and in order to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right one for you. Depending on your examination, photo documentation, and discussion of your symptoms, insurance coverage may be possible. Best wishes for a wonderful result!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Panniculectomy v. Tummy Tuck After Massive Weight Loss

A panniculectomy is intended to remove extra skin where there is an overhang in the lower abdomen. It helpps with chafing and skin infections.   It does not address the upper abdomen, the muscle separation or the shape of the abdomen.  Insurance coverage for the panniculectomy can help decrease the cost of the tummy tuck if done at the same time.  It is in your best interest to have one surgery instead of two and get the procedure you really need (abdominoplasty or lower body lift), rather than one that you can get financial help for.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Is There a Benefit or Drawback to Having a Panniculectomy Before Having a Full Tummy Tuck?

           I would not recommend having two surgeries to obtain the result that could be obtained with one. 




Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Is There a Benefit or Drawback to Having a Panniculectomy Before Having a Full Tummy Tuck?

It is totally unwise to undergo two major operations for financial reasons when it can be done in one stage.  Your experienced plastic surgeon can give you a better outcome if you have gone down as low as you are going to go in weight and allow him to do it in one shot.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Panniculectomy vs tummy tuck

The medical reasons for patients to have a panniculectomy may include infection and wound issues.  The panniculectomy essentially wedges out the hanging tissue only below the belly button.  If you have some of these symptoms and are a good candidate for a panniculectomy then you may consider doing this first.  Keep in mind that once you remove that wedge of tissue, then you will still have significant upper abdominal tissue that can only be addressed by a tummy tuck.  Some patients find it frustrating to be able to keep up their pants or underpants because it is still too full on top after a panniculectomy.  (Picture putting underpants on an egg shape.  It would be difficult to keep the underpants up.)  Ultimately, you may want a tummy tuck for the best result and outcome. Make sure to visit with a board certified plastic surgeon, that can guide you through this process.

My best to you.

Elisa A. Burgess, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Tummy tuck and panniculectomy

It is certainly OK to do what you suggest, and is a good choice for someone who won't or can't get an abdominoplasty at a later date. But it sounds like you plan on getting the abdominoplasty so I'm not sure I would recommend the added healing time and risks of the panniculectomy when it would be included in the abdominoplasty later. However the panniculectomy does not increase the difficulty or risks of a later abdominoplasty if that is your question.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tummy tuck and panniculectomy

I agree with the others it makes the most sense to do this as one surgery.  Your insurance might help defray some of the cost. You worked hard to lose the weight and you wouldn't be happy with just a panniculectomy. Save your money and go for the result you want, an intermediate step is not rewarding for either you or your surgeon. Congratulations on your weight loss. 

John Paletta, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Is There a Benefit or Drawback to Having a Panniculectomy Before Having a Full Tummy Tuck?

Dear FM,

Thank you for your post.  Congratulations on the weight loss!  You are most of the way there.  May be best and more economical to go ahead and to the abdominoplasty.  The panniculectomy portion of the surgery can still be covered by insurance.  You would have to pay just for the cosmetic portion. A lot of excess belly fat can be excised at the same time.

Best wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

It makes sense to get the tummy tuck done


Thank you for the question.  It makes more sense to me to have one surgery and accomplish the desired goal that you are looking for.  I would have a few consultations with board certified plastic surgeons about this situation as a full abdominoplasty may be in your best interest and your insurance company can pay for the panniculectomy portion of it.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 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.