The surgical procedure ‘abdominal panniculectomy’ is the bigger cousin to the more common tummy tuck or abdominoplasty procedure. What differentiates it is the size of the abdomen and the amount of tissue removed which is often substantially larger than the typical cosmetic abdominoplasty.
The abdominal panniculectomy procedure is a removal of excess waistline tissue. While often call an abdominal pannus, this is really an inaccurate term. The proper term is a panniculus. Medically, a pannus is an abnormal later of fibrovascular or granulation tissue and is commonly referenced to eye conditions of the cornea. A panniculus describes a collection of excess subcutaneous fat in the lower abdomen that hangs over the waistline like an apron. It almost always occur from pregnancy or a lot of weight loss.
Cutting off this apron of abdominal tissue often produces large segments of tissue as specimens. They often can be impressive and far exceed what is removed in a more ‘simple’ tummy tuck. While an abdominal panniculectomy creates tremendous improvement in a patient’s medical symptoms (skin infections, comfort, fitting of clothes), the waistline reduction result is never quite as good as many less extensive tummy tucks. But then the original abdominal problem is also much bigger.
Dr. Barry Eppley