Abdominoplasty vs. Panniculectomy: What is the difference?
Abdominoplasty (also known as a tummy tuck) is a procedure designed to improve the cosmetic appearance of the abdomen. Although an abdominoplasty needs to be tailored to each individual, in general this operation involves four major steps:
1) Removing excess abdominal skin and fat.
2) Tightening (also known as plicating) the abdominal wall musculature (rectus abdominus muscle).
3) Relocation of the belly button (also known as the umbilical stalk).
4) Closure of the skin incisions.
The precise amount of skin to be removed is different for each patient. However, in general, most patients will have the redundant skin removed that extends from below the belly button to just above the pubic hair line. Any stretch marks that are present within this area of skin will likewise be removed. The rectus abominus muscles will be tightened from the Xiphoid process (just below the sternum/breast bone) all the way to the pubic bone, with rare exception. Many patients are concerned that their belly button will be cut off and re-attached. The reality is, however, that the belly button is intentionally left intact and connected to the abdominal wall. Once the excess abdominal skin is removed, a new location is selected and a new opening is made. The patient’s belly button is then carefully secured at this location. When appropriate, Dr. Brenner utilizes a specialized technique to inset the belly button. Some patients may not be great candidates for traditional tummy tucks, but may be excellent candidates for a modified mini-tummy tuck.
Panniculectomy is a procedure that, although is similar to an abdominoplasty, is simply designed to alleviate problems associated with having significantly redundant abdominal skin and fat. Panniculectomy is indicated for patients who have chronic skin irritation (severe rashes)resulting from the “skin-on-skin” contact of the pannus tissues. These heavy, redundant tissues may also cause back pain, and recurrent skin infections. When these issues fail to respond to non-surgical, medical therapies, then panniculectomy may be indicated. The panniculectomy consists of only two major steps:
1) Removal of the excess abdominal pannus.
2) Closure of the skin incision.