In the immediate aftermath of a pregnancy, or after a period of extreme weight loss, it’s common to experience a loosening of skin around the lower abdomen. This is something that can be mitigated with surgical intervention. There are two main procedures designed to address this perceived issue: the abdominoplasty (or so-called ‘tummy tuck’) and the panniculectomy.
So, what are the main differences between the two, and which is appropriate for your circumstances? Let’s take a look.
What is a Panniculectomy?
A panniculectomy is typically considered a medical procedure, rather than a cosmetic one. It’s there to get rid of loose, hanging skin, which could reasonably get caught on objects and cause further injury. Hanging skin can also be a risk factor when it comes to ulcers and infections. Tidying it up will remove the risk to the patient.
The surgeon will make two cuts along the front of the abdominal wall. They’ll remove the bits of skin in the middle, and suture the two sides together.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominoplasties tend to be suggested by the patient rather than the doctor. They’re intended to achieve an aesthetic outcome. For example, you might be looking for a flatter, more toned stomach. Since this procedure is elective, you’re probably not going to be dealing with quite as much loose skin as you would with a panniculectomy.
Abdominoplasties can be full or partial, with both varieties being conducted under general anaesthetic. A full abdominoplasty will involve moving the belly button around, removing lots of skin from the abdominal wall, and putting it back together afterwards.
Both procedures will take several hours, depending on the extent of the loose skin.
Comparing the Results
Both procedures are fairly serious and involve an extended period of recovery, wherein the patient is slowly rehabilitated. The results of both should be permanent, provided that you don’t gain any more weight.
In many cases, your doctor might want you to maintain a stable weight for a few months before they’ll consider the procedure. This is to ensure that you won’t lapse into old eating habits and destroy the results of the operation, rendering the entire exercise pointless.
Neither of these procedures is intended to facilitate weight loss, but to tidy up loose skin. If you want the best from either of them, it’s highly recommended that you manage your expectations before going in.