Panniculectomies and tummy tucks are both types of abdominal surgery that remove excess skin from the lower belly area. Both procedures are typically undertaken when there has been extreme weight loss and a person is left with extra belly skin that hangs down. There are similarities between a panniculectomy and a tummy tuck but there are also differences between the two surgeries, which this article will explain in further detail.
A panniculectomy is an invasive form of surgery that removes excess skin from the belly. It is usually used when people have lost a large amount of weight, whether that’s through changes to their diet and exercise or as a result of weight loss surgery, and have been left with loose, hanging skin. A panniculectomy is typically performed for medical reasons, for example, if you are experiencing problems as a result of your excess skin, such as pain, rashes or infections.
During a panniculectomy, the surgeon makes two incisions in your abdomen and removes the excess skin in the middle, before suturing together the bottom and top portions of skin. It generally takes between two and five hours to perform the surgery and at least six weeks to recover.
Like a panniculectomy, a tummy tuck procedure is designed to remove excess skin and is an invasive surgical procedure, however, this is usually an elective surgery that is performed for aesthetic, rather than medical reasons. A tummy tuck is ideal for people who have lost a significant amount of weight and have a healthy body mass index (BMI) but who are unhappy with the appearance of their excess skin.
During a tummy tuck, the surgeon will cut out any excess skin from the belly while also tightening abdominal muscles. The surgery takes around two to five hours to complete depending on the amount of excess skin to be removed. After the surgery, it can take around six weeks for you to recover and you will need to attend a follow-up appointment to make sure your wound is healing well.
Both types of surgery have similar success rates and for both panniculectomies and tummy tucks, the results are considered permanent, providing you continue to lead a balanced lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight after your surgery.
It’s important to be aware that the recovery process for both surgeries can be slow and you will likely experience side effects from your procedure for several weeks afterwards. Like any form of surgery, there are also risks, which your surgeon should discuss with you in detail ahead of your procedure. In both cases, your surgeon will likely want you to be at a stable, healthy weight before your surgery, to ensure the best chances of success.