This or That: Panniculectomy vs Tummy Tuck

Published on September 23rd, 2022

While they’re both similar procedures, panniculectomies and tummy tucks have one very important difference: one is considered a medical necessity after a significant amount of weight loss and the other, while no less necessary to the patients that get them, is considered an elective procedure for cosmetic reasons.

What is a Panniculectomy?

A panniculectomy is a surgical treatment most often performed on people who have recently had weight loss surgery and/or have lost a significant amount of weight and are left with large amounts of hanging skin on the lower belly.

For many, this hanging skin dramatically affects their quality of life, sometimes leading to rashes, infections, and ulcers under the area of hanging skin. Because of this, the procedure may be considered medically necessary. A  can offer many benefits, including:

  • A smoother, more attractive body contour
  • No more skin irritation from loose skin rubbing against clothing or other skin
  • A more comfortable fit to clothing without excess skin to add bulk to the body
  • Removal of stubborn pockets of fat to create a sculpted look to the body
  • A higher level of satisfaction with your weight loss efforts
  • Increased self-confidence in your appearance
  • Easier time exercising

What is a Tummy Tuck?

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is designed for individuals who desire tight, contoured midsections and offers some of the most dramatic body contouring enhancement, with results that will last a lifetime if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Depending on your unique needs and body, Dr. Barrett may tighten underlying muscles while removing tissue, fat and loose skin. A tummy tuck can offer a lot of benefits for the right patient, including:

  • Smoother, flatter midsection
  • Tighter abdominal muscles
  • Reduction in loose skin around the middle
  • Elimination of some stretch marks, those above the belly button typically can’t be removed
  • Repositioning of the belly button for a natural look

There’s also a mini tummy tuck, which uses a shortened incision and is less invasive overall. It offers correction with a faster, more comfortable recovery process. Whereas a full tummy tuck involves the entire abdominal area resulting in a profoundly dramatic outcome. It requires two incisions ending with a more extensive scar, plus involving the encircling of the navel.

While often performed as a stand-alone procedure, a tummy tuck can also be combined with liposuction for even more enhanced results.

How long is recovery for a tummy tuck?

A minimum of two weeks of downtime is needed for your initial tummy tuck recovery—but keep in mind that it’s really dependent on the individual and the procedures performed; some may need longer than two weeks of downtime. Keep in mind that no matter what procedure combination you choose, you don’t want to do any heavy lifting for at least six weeks. When it comes to liposuction recovery, you can expect mild swelling, bruising and discomfort in the treated area, and you can usually return to work and regular activities within a few days, but strenuous activities like exercise should be avoided for a few weeks.

A tummy tuck might be right for you if you’d like to tighten and flatten the midsection. Have folds of loose skin, retain excess fat despite diet and exercise efforts, and/or pregnancy has caused your muscles and skin to stretch.

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