Loose Abdominal Skin After Bariatric Surgery
After losing a significant amount of weight with bariatric surgery, some patients may have loose skin – specifically around the lower part of the belly. This is not uncommon. Loose or sagging skin around the abdomen can occur when you lose weight and the skin does not have the elasticity it needs to shrink back to your new shape.
Before gastric sleeve or bypass, I often tell patients that predicting who may or may not develop excess abdominal skin after weight loss is difficult. Factors that contribute to this condition are age, underlying medical issues, tissue disorders, and losing a significant amount of weight.
While strength-based training exercises can help tone muscles in some cases, no amount of exercise will get rid of sagging or excessive hanging skin caused by significant weight loss. To treat this condition, the surgeons at New Jersey Bariatric Center can perform a panniculectomy, a surgical procedure to remove excess or sagging skin.
How a Panniculectomy works
During a panniculectomy the excess skin, or pannus is removed from your lower belly. Once the excess skin is trimmed, the remaining skin is pulled together and sutured, and the belly button is typically re-positioned in a similar location on the abdomen. The procedure takes between 2-3 hours and usually involves a 1-2 night stay in the hospital.
Is it the same as a Tummy Tuck?
You may be thinking that a panniculectomy sounds similar to a tummy tuck but there are some key differences. Both procedures rid the excess skin that hangs down over the pelvic region and thighs. Except a tummy tuck is for aesthetic purposes while a panniculectomy is often considered a medical necessity. For example, if the excess skin is causing a recurrent rash, fungal infections, and it limits your mobility. Another difference is that a tummy tuck removes the excess skin and tightens the abdominal muscles under the skin in most cases. A panniculectomy removes just the excess skin, and treats medical issues.
Is a Panniculectomy right for me?
This procedure may be a good option for you if excess abdominal skin is affecting your day- to-day activities and your overall well being. If the skin is causing pain, discomfort or infections, and it has been 18-24 months since your weight loss surgery, make an appointment with your surgeon to discuss how a panniculectomy can help.
For more questions, call us at 908-481-1270.