The purpose of a panniculectomy is to remove hanging fat and skin, as one would have after losing a massive amount of weight. This procedure can be done by itself or as part of a tummy tuck, depending on the patient's condition. Panniculectomy is different from abdominoplasty, in that abdominoplasty tightens the muscle as well as removes excess skin and fat, but a panniculectomy is performed only to remove excess skin and fat.
People suffering form obesity or those who recently experienced a massive weight loss are the best candidates for panniculectomy. It may also be an option to correct for post-pregnancy issues. Some candidates may have fat extending as low as the knees, over hips and around the back. This condition can cause the candidate for this procedure to have lots of health issues, including back problems and skin breakdown, rashes, ulcers and skin disorders. Even walking or standing may be very difficult.
The best candidates will have their weight remain relatively stable for about a year before the procedure. The candidate additionally must be participating in proper diet and exercise plans. If the candidate has had a gastric bypass they need to wait for at least a year before having a panniculectomy.
The procedure is typically done in a hospital, although the procedure may be performed in an outpatient surgery center. Time in surgery may be several hours. The procedure is normally performed under general anesthesia and requires a hospital stay in the range of one day to one week.
The procedure involves a horizontal incision at the pubic area where the excess fat and skin can be delicately removed and possibly also an incision from the lower area of the sternum to the pubic bone. The surgeon then pulls the skin that remains together and closed.