Panniculectomy: Surgical Removal of Excess Abdominal Skin

Abdominal skin removal surgery or panniculectomy is an operation to remove excess lower abdominal skin (panniculus) due to considerable weight loss.

Unlike tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery, panniculectomy does not tighten the abdominal muscles to get a more attractive body look. Therefore, this surgery is not included as a cosmetic procedure.

Basically, panniculectomy surgery is an operation performed to relieve symptoms that arise from dangling abdominal skin, such as irritation and rash.

However, removing excess skin can still make your abdominal area look flat. Even if necessary, panniculectomy can also be performed in conjunction with tummy tuck surgery or other abdominal surgery procedures.

Conditions Treated With Panniculectomy Surgery

After losing considerable weight due to following a weight loss diet or surgery, you can experience excess skin in the abdomen and the skin in this area will become looser.

The condition can make the appearance of the body less attractive. In fact, excess skin often causes a number of skin disorders, such as rashes, irritations, including body odor.

To solve it, one way that can be done is panniculectomy surgery. You become an ideal candidate for this excess abdominal skin removal operation if:

  • You have excess belly fat that causes health problems, such as back pain, skin rashes, or ulcers
  • You don’t smoke
  • You’re in good health
  • You have a stable weight for at least the last 6 months to 1 year
  • You maintain a healthy diet
  • You are physically active

You are not recommended to perform abdominal skin cutting surgery if you have certain medical conditions that are not well controlled, such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease. Obesity can also increase the risk of complications after surgery.

Preparation of Excess Abdominal Skin Removal Surgery

A few days before surgery, your doctor will ask you to fast and stop taking medications that can cause bleeding problems, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and warfarin.

The doctor will also require you to quit smoking, at least 3–6 weeks before surgery. Because, cigarettes can slow down the recovery process after surgery and increase the risk of serious surgical complications.
Over abdominal skin removal surgery procedure

You will be completely sedated so as not to feel pain during the operation. During surgery, the doctor will make an incision horizontally or vertically in the area between the navel and the penis. Excess skin and fat will be cut through the incision.

During surgery, a special hose will also be installed under the skin to prevent fluid buildup. Once the skin and excess fat are cut, the remaining upper abdominal skin will be pulled down and the incision closed with stitches.

The procedure usually takes between 3–5 hours, depending on how much skin and fat is removed.

After Excess Abdominal Skin Removal Surgery

After the operation, you will be monitored in the recovery room. As you recover from the effects of anesthesia, you may be asked to get up and walk a few steps. Depending on the condition, you may be allowed to go home immediately that day or may have to stay in the hospital for a few days.

Your surgical incision wound will be covered with gauze or bandages. Within 1–2 days after surgery, the doctor will usually ask you to wear an elastic buffer or compression clothing (such as a corset) to help support the stomach during the healing period.

The skin in the incision area usually feels pain, as well as experiencing bruising and swelling for several days after surgery. The doctor will give the patient painkillers to relieve it. For swelling and incision, it may take up to 3 months for it to fully heal.

If the patient is fitted with a special hose as a drain under the skin, the doctor will explain how it is treatment, including how to record the amount of fluid in the container bag and how to empty it. Hose removal will be performed by the doctor when the patient performs control.

You may be able to return to work and work within about 4 weeks of surgery. However, you still need to be aware of heavy activity for at least 6 weeks.
Complications of Excess Abdominal Skin Removal

The following are some complications that can occur as a result of excess abdominal skin removal surgery:

  • Bleeding in the wound
  • Scarring appears
  • Persistent pain
  • Numb stomach skin
  • Infection
  • Build-up of fluid under the skin of the abdomen
  • Nerve damage in the abdominal area
  • Blood clotting

Panniculectomy surgery can indeed be a solution to overcome complaints of excess abdominal skin due to considerable weight loss. However, before this operation is performed, it takes consideration from the doctor and special preparations.

If you experience any complaints regarding this condition, consult a doctor whether or not you need to undergo panniculectomy surgery. Based on your overall health condition, your doctor will recommend the most appropriate and safe way to deal with complaints that bother you.

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