Panniculectomy is an invasive surgical procedure that has the purpose to remove the excess skin, tissue or fat in the area of lower stomach. That excess usually hangs below the belt, and it is commonly called abdominal apron. This plastic surgery procedure is done with patients who have lost a lot of weight in any way, and the so-called ‘abdominal apron’ is what is left after the weight loss. It is also done with the people who have already had some kind of a weight-loss surgery, but in such cases it is recommended to wait for at least a year before doing this procedure. Even though this procedure is related to weight-loss, it should be clear that there is a difference between panniculectomy and the weigh-loss procedures, because this one includes thightening of the muscles of the abdominal wall, and repositioning of the naval. Every patient has to be physically and mentally healthy and ready for this kind of the procedure. It is necessary that their weight be stable for at least six months before the surgery, and if the candidate for the procedure is a woman, it is important that she does not plan children in the nearer future.
As for the process or the recovery after panniculectomy, it depends on several factors. During the first week, every patient should expect bruising and swelling, but the stitches will probably be removed in this period, as well as the surgical drainage tubes. Support garment is absolutely necesary, and it will have to be worn even for a few weeks. The patient will also feel numbness and tightness for a while, but all of this is quite natural after this kind of a procedure. In the following several weeks, activity and exercise may gradually be increased, though strenuous activities should definitely be avoided for a long period of time. The swelling and bruising will gradually disappear, and it might take a whole month or even longer for the first results of the surgery to be seen. Until then, the patient should not be afraid by the look of the abdomen, because it is normal that it won’t look nice during the first several weeks.
After a few months, a picture will be much clearer, and the results of the surgery will seem much better than during the first several weeks. Numbness and tightness should entirely disappear, and the incision line should begin to fade. The process of fading will continue for several months, and it will take a year or even more before the scar completely disappears. After a few months the patient will be allowed to go back to work.