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Panniculectomy vs Abdominoplasty: Body Contouring Options Compared

By tmccall on February 13, 2018

A woman's stomachFollowing major weight loss, the body can undergo many changes. Loose skin, stretch marks, and drooping can leave your body looking less than ideal. Thankfully, our plastic surgery center serving Milwaukee, WI offers plenty of body contouring and lift options to help address these issues.

For many patients, an abdominoplasty or a panniculectomy will meet their needs. Let’s take a moment to compare these two different kinds of surgeries.

What Is a Panniculectomy?

A panniculectomy is a body contouring procedure that helps remove excess skin following major weight loss. During the procedure, an incision is made that extends from the bottom of the sternum down to the pubic bone. A horizontal incision will also be made that extends along the lower abdomen from hipbone to hipbone.

Working through these extensive incisions, a plastic surgeon can remove a great deal of excess skin and tissues that hangs loose from a patient’s frame.

Ideal Candidates for a Panniculectomy

Good candidates for panniculectomy are people who have experienced extreme weight loss, often as a result of bariatric surgery. The amount of loose skin around the abdominal area is often quite extreme, with drooping sometimes extending down to the knees. The panniculectomy is able to remove all of this excess skin and improve the overall appearance of a patient’s torso and abdominal region in the process.

What Is Abdominoplasty?

Also known as a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty is a body contouring procedure designed to remove excess skin and enhance the tautness and tightness of the abdominal region. The surgery involves three incisions that form an anchor shape:

  • A circular incision around the belly button
  • A horizontal incision that extends along the lower abdomen from hipbone to hipbone
  • A vertical incision from the base of the belly button incision connecting to the lateral hipbone incision

Working through these incisions, a plastic surgeon is able to adjust the abdominal area and tighten the loose skin of the stomach.

Ideal Candidates for a Abdominoplasty

Good candidates for abdominoplasty are people who have experienced major weight loss that has resulted in drooping and sagging skin. This could mean bariatric surgery, natural weight loss through diet and exercise improvements, and pregnancy/childbirth. The adjustment of the abdominal muscle and tautness helps keep the abdomen looking trimmer and more toned.

When Is Panniculectomy a More Ideal Option?

A panniculectomy is a more ideal surgery when the amount of loose skin is extreme. As noted above, major weight loss can cause people to have loose abdominal skin that drapes their lower body. The skin may seem like an apron, falling to the knees, the thighs, or over the genitals.

When Is Abdominoplasty a More Ideal Option?

Abdominoplasty is a more ideal option for patients whose loose skin following weight loss is not quite as pronounced. The loose skin will often hang in a noticeable fashion, but usually does not drape over the lower body as much. An extended tummy tuck surgery can be performed if needed to address sagging of the flanks.

Tailoring Treatment to Meet Your Needs

It’s not uncommon for a panniculectomy to be combined with other body contouring procedures or techniques. This is usually part of a total body lift, which improves skin tightness and overall body contour following extreme weight loss. In fact, a panniculectomy can be combined with an abdominoplasty in many patients, enhancing the overall appearance of the abdominal area and flanks.

Learn More About Body Contouring Surgery

For more information about your many body contouring options, be sure to contact Lake Country Plastic & Hand Surgery. Our team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you look and feel great about your appearance.

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