A panniculectomy is a cosmetic surgical procedure to remove an abnormal growth of fibrovascular tissue, fatty (adipose) tissue and excess skin located between the abdomen and genital or thigh area. The growth, called pannus, can be caused by a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, genetics, age, hormonal changes, and weight loss. Pannus sometimes remains undiagnosed for a long time in obese people.
Panniculectomy is a low-risk surgery which can tremendously improve your quality of life. Image courtesy of Pixabay
Why should you consider panniculectomy?
The presence of pannus tissues can inhibit movement and affect general mobility, as well as other physical activities. Its presence also creates difficulty in maintaining hygiene, which might cause body odour. It could also increase the risk of infections. Visually, sexual partners might find the sight of a pannus distasteful. This could lead to body-image issues and other forms of mental health issues.
While an abdominoplasty or liposuction could help mitigate the issue, only a panniculectomy is capable of providing complete relief. Conversely, since a panniculectomy is not designed to remove fat or tighten skin, it is not a substitute for abdominoplasty or liposuction.
Qualifying criteria of panniculectomy
Patients must be in good physical health and have no previous history of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Preference will also be given to patients not suffering from extreme obesity. In addition, patients who are pregnant or on a weight loss program are advised to wait until their weight has stabilised first before taking the surgery.
It is important to remember that a panniculectomy is not designed to remove fatty tissues, and as such, is not a replacement for a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Length and details of the procedure
Although panniculectomy is an invasive procedure, it carries very little risk. Panniculectomy is considered an outpatient procedure, so patients can leave the clinic on the same day. However, since the procedure takes between two and five hours, they will have to stay overnight if their appointment is scheduled later in the day.
Surgeons will perform the procedure by making a couple of incisions below the abdomen and above the pubic area which could run across the length of the two hip bones. They will then manually cut out the excess fibrovascular and adipose tissues, as well as any excess skin before stitching up the area.
Complete recovery will between two and four weeks. During the recovery period, patients must avoid partaking in any strenuous activities. Even household chores or driving is frowned upon. In addition, patients must always keep the bandaged area clean and dry, and attend their dressing appointments to maintain the cleanliness of the wound. Patients also will be prescribed with mild painkillers to help with the slight pain.
Keep an eye out for any symptoms of infection such as fever, pus or stench. If any of the symptoms manifest themselves, quickly see your doctor.