How Much Does It Cost To Have An Abdominal Panniculectomy?

Q: Hopefully someone there can fill me in even though I have no insurance! I want to know the approximate cost for an abdominal panniculectomy. I am very obese, weigh 360 lbs and am 5′ 2″. The majority of my weight is in my abdomen. This apron is like a catch 22, It is getting harder to walk and then I don’t so I eat and don’t walk and gain weight. I fell and hurt my knees 4 years ago, gained 100 lbs since then.  Thanks for providing an outlet for me to vent. I liked the idea that you have had experience with this surgery for obese people. I still want to know what the surgery would cost. I maintained a weight of 250 to 260 lbs for over 25 years before the knee injury that never got fixed. Fat never stopped me before and it won’t now. My health history is otherwise remarkably good. My blood pressure is 115/60,   fasting blood sugar 70 to 80 and the rest of my blood work is normal.

A: The abdominal panniculectomy procedure provides great physical benefits to those patients such as yourself. By the removal of overhanging weights that often approximate 30 to 40 bs, if not more, the strain on one’s back and knees is significantly reduced. This is in addition to the improvement in groin and genital hygiene.Most medical insurances will cover this procedure as ythey should given the medical benefits that it provides. The abdominal panniculectomy can not really be compared to the more common tummy tuck which is performed in more weight appropriate patients and is smaller in surgical magnitude and recovery.

Unlike a tummy tuck, the cost of an abdominal panniculectomy is out of reach for most patients. Costs could easily approach $10,000 to $15,000. It takes longer to do and will almost always require an overnight stay and often several days in the hospital. Complications rates are high and secondary problems such as fluid collections and wound breakdowns are common. Secondary surgical revision for wound closure is not rare ane exposes one to even greater expense. For these reasons, one should attempt this procedure under insurance for the really large type pannuses that you appear to have.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana