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Medically Reviewed by Dr. J. Hopkins


May 4, 2022

1165052 PlasticSurgeryStockPhotos 13 083121One of the main areas many people focus on when it comes to their body is their abdomen. They strive to attain a flatter stomach and tighter abs through diet and exercise. However, this is not always enough to achieve the desired result. Significant weight loss, pregnancy, aging, and other conditions can all lead to loose, sagging skin around the mid-section and increase self-consciousness.

If you are looking to get rid of excess skin and tone up your abdominal region, two of the most popular options are a tummy tuck or a panniculectomy. Both procedures address this unwanted, sagging skin, but there are several differences between these surgeries. We are taking a closer look at what you need to know about each procedure.

Tummy Tuck Basics

A tummy tuck focuses on removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal region, but it can also be used to treat separated or weakened muscles in this area as well. This can leave you with a tighter stomach and a more contoured profile. If you are done having children, it can be an effective way of helping to restore your pre-pregnancy body. For men and women alike, it can allow you to better see the results of your weight loss and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Panniculectomy Basics

A panniculectomy is performed to eliminate excess skin that hangs down over the lower abdomen and pubic region following extensive weight loss. It is typically a follow-up after surgical or non-surgical weight loss procedures. The pannus, or fat apron, can interfere with walking and sitting, and it can cause rashes or skin irritation between the folds of skin. By removing this overhanging skin, physical activity may improve, as well as skin health.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck or Panniculectomy?

When deciding which procedure is the best fit, it is a good idea to understand some of the factors that are taken into consideration. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your concerns with your midsection, your goals, and your lifestyle. Here are a few important factors for both a tummy tuck and a panniculectomy:

  • You are in overall good health, and any chronic conditions are well-managed.
  • You have reached a stable weight, as a gain or loss of more than a few pounds can alter your results.
  • You are not planning on becoming pregnant in the future.
  • You have a solid diet and exercise routine that you will continue to follow.
  • There are some additional factors that may make a tummy tuck a better option:
  • Your abdominal muscles are weak or have separated, and you want to repair or tighten them.
  • You have a “pooch” following pregnancy that you have not been able to get rid of through regular exercise and a healthy diet.
  • You have some excess skin or stubborn pockets of fat across your upper abdomen and sides as well that you want to address.

Likewise, there are some conditions specific to a panniculectomy as well:

  • You have excess skin that hangs down over your abdomen, groin area, or even your thighs (Typically following gastric bypass or other bariatric weight loss procedures.)
  • You have trouble with normal activities such as sitting, bending, walking, or finding clothes that fit due to the amount of extra skin.
  • You develop ulcers, sores, or infections under the hanging skin.

What is the Difference in Results between a Tummy Tuck and a Panniculectomy?

One of the main differences between these procedures is the purpose. A panniculectomy is designed specifically to remove the pannus or overhanging skin. Once this skin is gone, it will naturally improve the waistline and slim down the midsection, but it does not address any muscle issues or extra pockets of fat beyond the pannus. It is ideal for patients who have undergone massive weight loss.

A tummy tuck, on the other hand, is geared toward improving the overall tone and contour of the abdomen. Typically, patients do not have a large pannus, and loose skin is removed from across the entire midsection, not just any overhang. This procedure can help tighten muscles making it easier to achieve a more defined abdomen. A tummy tuck can be combined with a panniculectomy, however, to enhance overall results and address additional areas of concern.

Both a tummy tuck and panniculectomy can provide long-lasting results as long as you follow instructions for recovery and are committed to a regular exercise routine and healthy diet. You will want to avoid any major fluctuations in your weight that can lead to stretching of the skin. It is important to remember that a tummy tuck or panniculectomy are not weight loss solutions, but rather they complement your efforts once you have reached your goal weight.

Deciding Between a Tummy Tuck and a Panniculectomy

Many patients find that a tummy tuck can help them achieve the flatter, trimmer physique they desire when it comes to their abdomen. It addresses not just loose, sagging skin and stubborn pockets of fat, but also muscle separation that can make it harder to get the tighter abs you have been working toward. While you may have a little “pooch” that causes a slight overhang, many patients do not have a significant pannus that interferes with their health or everyday life.

A panniculectomy is for those patients who have experienced massive weight loss and have a noticeable pannus that is negatively impacting their quality of life. In some cases, this surgery can be combined with a tummy tuck, so you benefit from the results of both procedures.

Get the Flatter, More Contoured Mid-Section You Have Been Dreaming About

Having a slimmer, more toned abdomen is within your reach. Stop stressing over loose, sagging skin that makes you feel self-conscious about how you look. Get all your questions answered and be on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Jeffrey Hopkins in Dallas Texas to discuss whether a tummy tuck or panniculectomy is right for you. Call us at (972) 298-6641.