What is Panniculectomy? Procedure, Recovery and Complications in 2023

what is panniculectomy
image source: healthline

After massive weight loss, a dramatic increase in bariatric surgery has increased the number of patients with redundant skin/large panniculus. Surgery is the most effective treatment; however, not all patients with redundant skin or panniculus receive authorization from their insurance companies.

People who have Panniculectomy Insurance must meet certain requirements before they can get the surgery.

Insurance companies develop these Panniculectomy Insurance guidelines, and surgeons have little say in what policies are fair to physicians and patients.

We will discuss Panniculectomy Insurance in detail.

What is Panniculectomy?

A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess, hanging skin below the belly button that frequently occurs because of rapid weight loss, particularly following gastric bypass surgery.

Panniculectomy risks include anesthesia reaction, bleeding, infection, swelling, fluid accumulation, scarring, blood clots, and even death.

Unlike a tummy tuck, the Panniculectomy does not tighten the abdominal muscles, disqualifying it as a cosmetic procedure. However, removing excess fat can cause a flatter abdominal area.

In addition, the Panniculectomy may hold at the same time as a tummy tuck or other abdominal surgery.

Surgical costs for this procedure can range from $8,000 to $15,000, which includes anesthesia, the surgeon’s fee, and facility fees. Your insurance company may cover the panniculectomy because they do not consider it cosmetic surgery.

Certain requirements, however, apply, and the panniculectomy must be considered a medical necessity.

To discuss your payment options, contact your health insurance provider.

Who is a Good Candidate for Panniculectomy Insurance?

People who lose a lot of weight through exercise or surgery may end up with excess skin and loose tissue around the abdomen. Excess skin can cause rashes and irritation on the skin, as well as odor because of moisture.

Panniculectomy has many reasons for people to get it, but someone who meets the following conditions:

  • Realistic about what will happen
  • Afraid of the way their stomach looks
  • Getting infections or rashes under the extra skin on their abdomen.
  • Back pain because of the extra skin they carry.
  • At a steady weight for about 6 months and more.
  • A whole, I’m healthy.
  • A person who doesn’t smoke
  • Excess abdominal fat causes health problems like back pain, rashes, and ulcers.
  • You have realistic surgical expectations.
  • You eat a well-balanced diet.
  • A person who engages in physical activity.

Keep an eye out for the “non-smoker” requirement, though. It’s important to note these things. If you smoke a cigarette, you might not get enough blood and your body might not heal itself.

If someone who is a regular smoker has this procedure, they are more likely to have problems while they are recovering from it.

Therefore, it is so important for you to be a non-smoker or to stop smoking well before this surgery. Be honest with your doctor from the start about how much you smoke. If you aren’t, your health and safety could be in danger.


  • The cost of a Panniculectomy ranges from $8,500 to $15,000, which includes the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia, facility fees, and an overnight hospital stay.
  • According to the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery, the cost ranges from $8,500 to $10,000. A plastic surgeon in Indianapolis, Barry Epley, estimates a cost of $10,000 to $15,000.
  • Insurance companies may consider a panniculectomy to be medically necessary sometimes. Aetna, for example, considers a panniculectomy medically necessary only if the excess skin hangs below the pubis and causes chronic dermatitis, irritation, infection, or chafing that hasn’t responded to other medical treatment; otherwise, the procedure is cosmetic.
  • For patients with health insurance, costs typically include a copay for the office visit and a coinsurance of 10% to 50% for the surgery, which could exceed the out-of-pocket maximum.


Panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the panniculus.
A qualified plastic surgeon performs a Panniculectomy. The time to complete this invasive surgical procedure could be up to five hours.

During the surgery, an anesthesiologist will administer general anesthesia to put you to sleep.

Your surgeon will make two incisions after that:

  • A cut that runs horizontally between two hipbones.
  • A vertical cut that reaches all the way to the pubic bone sometimes.

The amount of skin that needs to be removed determines the length of the cuts. More so, incisions will remove excess fat and skin by the surgeon.

The incision areas are then taped and the remaining skin and tissues are stitched together. Doctors may use drains to remove excess fluid during the procedure.

Sometimes, they can remove or reposition the belly button. Prior to making the surgical decision, your doctor will discuss this with you during a consultation.

Users can upload before and after photos and write reviews of cosmetic surgery on RealSelf, a community-driven website. Here are some images from the Panniculectomy surgery.


They usually perform a panniculectomy as an outpatient procedure. You may be required to stay overnight for observation and proper healing, depending on the extent of your procedure.

Your surgeon will tell you during your pre-consultation that you should have someone drive you home after surgery and assist you for the first few days.

During the first few weeks after your surgery, avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities.

Swelling and bruising at the incision sites can, however, cause pain and discomfort in panniculectomy patients. Your stitches may come out in a week, and deeper stitches will dissolve on their own.

Also, it will take months for you to recuperate, and you will need to see your doctor for follow-up appointments to ensure long-term results.

In the days following the procedure, you may experience some discomfort and pain around the surgical site. This area may have some bruising and swelling, which can add to your pain. While it will get better over time, it will take at least a few weeks before you are pain-free.

You’ll want to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for the first few days after the procedure, so if you don’t live with another adult, ask a friend or relative you trust to stay with you and assist you.

Also, patients are usually happy with the results, and most lose 5–10 pounds after the surgery. Some patients may notice that their physical activity and personal hygiene have improved.


The panniculectomy, like any surgical procedure, has the potential for complications and risks. These are some dangers:

  • Bleeding from wounds
  • Swelling
  • Scarring
  • Ongoing discomfort
  • Numbness
  • Infection
  • The accumulation of fluid
  • Clotting of the blood
  • Damage to the nerves

If you experience any unusual symptoms after your surgery, see a doctor right away.


Panniculectomy surgery is a medically necessary procedure for removing excess fat from the abdomen. Excess fat, also known as pannus, can cause ulcers and irritation, as well as limit your physical activity.

Although the Panniculectomy is not a cosmetic procedure, we can use it with other procedures to improve the appearance of your stomach.

To determine the best procedure for you, discuss your options and expectations with your doctor.


A Panniculectomy takes two to five hours for a surgeon to complete. A Panniculectomy takes two to five hours for a doctor to finish.

The length of the incisions and the amount of extra skin that is removed also affect how long the procedure takes.


Panniculectomy is frequently required after a person has lost a significant amount of weight, such as after bariatric surgery.

The need for this procedure can also arise after pregnancy, though this is not the most common reason. It’s worth noting, however, that a panniculectomy won’t be as effective if a person’s weight fluctuates significantly after the procedure.

During this time, the person should decide that they are close to meeting their weight loss goals and want to keep their healthy weight.

While money should not be the deciding factor in this procedure, it is an important factor to consider when determining if it is time for it. Also, having the funds or insurance coverage for the procedure matters in deciding when to proceed.


Panniculectomy is a relatively safe procedure that has aided many people. However, panniculectomy surgical procedures have associated risks as seen below:

  • Swelling is one of them.
  • Numbness
  • Consistent discomfort
  • Bleeding from the wound
  • Scarring
  • Clots in the blood
  • Infection
  • Damage to the nerves
  • Fluid accumulation

Will My stomach Be Flat After A Panniculectomy?

You should expect your low abdomen to seem flatter and smoother after the surgery. Most patients perceive an increase in their self-esteem after having a panniculectomy because they feel better about their appearance.

How Much Weight Can You Lose With A Panniculectomy?

In most cases, patients lose only a few pounds, usually less than five. Other people with more significant loose skin may drop 5 to 10 pounds, or even more.

Does A Panniculectomy Include Pubic Area?

A panniculectomy just removes the pannus, or hanging skin, over the pubic region. A panniculectomy does NOT entail the removal of extra pubic skin or fat.

How Do You Get Rid of A Pannus Belly?

A panniculectomy may be recommended by a doctor to eliminate the pannus. This procedure aids in the removal of extra skin and fat deposits that make up the pannus. A panniculectomy and belly tuck procedure may be combined.


A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess, hanging skin below the belly button that frequently occurs because of rapid weight loss, particularly following gastric bypass surgery.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article.



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