How Can I Get My Abdominal Panniculectomy Done?

Q:  I have a large pannus that hangs down to my knees. My insurance will not pay to have it removed even though my doctor and a specialist has written that it is medically necessary due to the health problems that it is causing me. How much would something like this cost or do you know any doctor that would do this probono. I have also lost a little over a 100lbs.  (used to weight 550 lbs and now weigh 450 lbs) but my abdomen still keeps growing to the point it is down my knees. This has greatly affected my life to the point I have sores, I can’t bend, I have a hard time walking,and taking care of myself. I have to depend on my wife and daughter for the stuff I used to do for myself. I am desperate and need help and guidance.

A:  What you are in need of is an abdominal panniculectomy. This should not be confused with a more simple tummy tuck or abdominoplasty in the cosmetic patient. Removing a large pannus in a man of your size is a complicated procedure with significant medical risks. In addition, that type of abdominal panniculectomy is associated with a 100% incidence of postoperative complications such as wound breakdowns, fluid collection, and infections This is not said to deter you from having this operation…as you need it…but it must be done in the right medical setting. This means in a hospital with good medical supervision afterwards and at least a few days of hospital time for recovery. This is why it should not be economically viewed as a cosmetic procedure. There are just too many potential expenses that are likely to occur that go beyond just the cost of the operation. Because of this operation’s complexity, there is not going to be any doctor who will do it for free…there is just too much work and risks to be taken for that approach.

For these reasons, you and your doctor should continue to work on getting it approved through your insurance carrier. This is your best bet to eventually getting this important operation for you done.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana