A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the excess "apron" of skin and fat from the lower abdomen.
The procedure is performed through a horizontal incision from hip-to-hip. Excess tissue is removed from the lower abdomen. There is no contouring of the upper abdomen in a panniculectomy. Unlike an abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck", the appearance of the upper abdomen does not change in a panniculectomy.
Two drains will be placed, one at either side of the abdomen. The drains are usually removed between 1 and 3 weeks after surgery. You will remain in an abdominal binder for 3 months after surgery.
This procedure can sometimes be covered by insurance if medically necessary. Each insurance company has a set of guidelines that often includes (but is not limited to):
75-100 pound weight loss with stable weight for 3-6 months
Pannus (lower skin fold) hanging below the level of the pubis causing a functional impairment
Documented chronic rash beneath the skin fold requiring medical therapy