Do I Need A Tummy Tuck Or A Panniculectomy?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have had three c-sections, gained and lost over 100 lbs at least three times. ( after each pregnancy) I want to know if I need a tummy tuck or some type of pannus removal.

A: The difference between a tummy tuck and an abdominal panniculectomy is really one of magnitude. They are in many ways the same procedure with some different variations to them. A panniculectomy is nothing more than a ‘big’ tummy tuck. It involves a larger amount of abdominal skin and fat removal as a pannus means an apron or overhang of abdominal tissues across the waistline often onto the pubic areas or upper thighs. This means the horizontal incision and resultant scar may be longer and even extend into the back area from that of its smaller cousin, the more traditional tummy tuck. Given your description of recurrent weight loss of that magnitude and pregnancies, I would have no doubt that you have a pannus and your surgery would be a panniculectomy, often called an extended tummy tuck. The recovery from a tummy tuck or an abdominal panniculectomy would be the same. Longer incisions do not really mean a longer or more significant recovery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana