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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) vs Panniculectomy

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) vs Panniculectomy

I often find that the difference between a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and a panniculectomy is confusing to patients. It is understandable because the two procedures have some aspects in common but they are not the same. This distinction has become even more relevant because of the growing popularity of weight loss surgery.

The word panniculectomy means removal of the pannus. The pannus is the overhanging skin of the lower abdomen that typically occurs after major weight loss, pregnancy or both. A panniculectomy is a functional and not a cosmetic procedure. By this I mean that it is designed to relieve problems associated with the overhanging skin (pannus) that often occurs after a large amount of weight loss. The most common problems that may lead to insurance approval for a panniculectomy are skin irritation or skin erosion under the pannus and interference with typical daily activities.

A tummy tuck, which is also known as an abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure designed primarily to improve the appearance of the torso. It often also involves tightening of the abdominal muscles that are typically stretched out during pregnancy. Since a tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by insurance.

From a surgical standpoint, a panniculectomy involves removal of the excess skin and fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat) and closure of the wound. While a tummy tuck also involves removal of the excess skin and fat of the lower abdomen, it usually is much more extensive and also entails the following procedures:
- release of the excess skin and fat all the way to the bottom of the ribs to maximize the tightening and contouring that can be achieved
- tightening of the rectus (abdominal) muscles as well as the fascia (fibrous tissue) that surrounds the muscles
- reconstruction of the navel
- liposuction of the flanks

Should you wish to discuss a tummy tuck or any other procedure, please give Weider Plastic Surgery a call at (972) 566-8444.

To Your Health,

Dr. Weider

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