Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in abdominal panniculectomy surgery although I am not exactly sure what it is but it sounds like what I need. I’m 45 and am about 510 lbs at 5’10.
I need help asap. I have a real bad overhanging belly and a scar from my belly button to waist that’s feel likes it’s ripping. I also have bad hernia that’s randomly pokes out and creates extreme pain.
A: While there is no question that some form of an abdominal panniculectomy could be incredibly helpful, at your level of weight it is also a surgical procedure that has a very high risk and will undoubtably have a 100% complication rate. This most certainly will be from a wound healing standpoint and potentially from medical risks as well. This is also a procedure that would have to be performed in a hospital that would likely need 5 to 7 days of hospitalization…and that is providing that no significant medical complications occur. You are going to have to get a medical reference from your physician who has been following you and has you in the best health as possible for this weight. He/she must also feel that the procedure is medically indicated and that your are cleared to have the procedure.
In short, while an abdominal panniculectomy would provide numerous medical benefits, it is not a procedure that should be approached lightly and with great preoperative consideration. I would assume you know that losing weight by bariatric surgery would be far preferred before undergoing such a procedure.
Dr. Barry Eppley