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The panniculus is a dense layer of fatty tissue that hangs down from the lower abdominal area after major weight loss. A panniculectomy is a type of tummy tuck that is performed to remove this disfiguring tissue and sculpt a flatter abdomen.

Excess skin: The downside to massive weight loss

Massive weight loss can help obese patients reclaim their health and bodies. Unfortunately, it often results in loose, drooping folds of skin in the lower abdominal area that can hang all the way down to a patient’s knees. Also known as an abdominal “apron,” the panniculus can prevent you from leading a normal life and may cause a number of health problems, including:

  • Back pain
  • Rashes and ulcers
  • Skin disorders

The basics: Panniculectomy at a glance

  • Done under general anesthesia
  • 2 to 5 hour procedure depending on the amount of skin and fat present
  • May require a hospital stay of at least one night
  • Approximately 2-3 week recovery period
  • Can be combined with other body contouring procedures
  • Moderate pain and swelling during the recovery period

Candidates: Is a panniculectomy right for you?

  • Significant amount of drooping skin and fat on the lower abdomen
  • In good overall health (both physical and emotional)
  • No plans for future pregnancy or weight loss
  • Stable weight for at least six months which you are comfortable maintaining
  • Free of serious medical conditions
  • Non-smoker

The procedure

Your procedure will be done under general anesthesia, which means you will be unconscious and unable to feel or remember a thing.

Once you are sedated, Dr. Lewis will make a horizontal incision above the pubic area from hip to hip (and in some more severe cases a vertical incision in your abdomen as well). Through those openings, he will remove the excess fat and skin, before suturing the remaining tissue together.

The panniculectomy differs from a traditional tummy tuck because it doesn’t reposition the belly button or tighten lax underlying muscles. It only removes the panniculus.

The recovery: What to expect as you heal

Two to three weeks off from work. Most of our Portland patients need to stay home from work for about two to three weeks while they heal from surgery. At that point, you should feel well enough to return to a sedentary job.

Bruising + swelling. The first few days of your recovery will be characterized by swelling, bruising and discomfort. However, these effects should subside over time and can be managed with pain medication prescribed by Dr. Lewis.

Plenty of rest + self-care. You should plan to take it easy after your panniculectomy. Other than lightly walking around the house to promote healing, you will need to get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activities for six to eight weeks.

Schedule an appointment today >>

For many weight loss surgery patients, a panniculectomy is the final step on their journey to reclaiming their bodies. Contact our Portland office today to schedule an appointment and begin planning for your procedure.

A Portland Plastic Surgeon

407 NW 17TH AVE, STE 2Portland, OR 97209

Matthew Lewis,MD

Discover your true beauty. At the office of Dr. Matthew Lewis, we take everything into consideration, including your comfort, discretion, and of course your outcome. Please call us to schedule an appointment.

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