Panniculectomy as an adjuvant to bariatric surgery

Ann Plast Surg. 2004 Oct;53(4):360-6; discussion 367. doi: 10.1097/


A large hanging panniculus can cause problems such as intertrigo, chronic infection, and immobility. Many patients undergoing weight reduction surgery can benefit from panniculectomy either done concomitantly with bariatric surgery or later after significant weight reduction. Over the last 5 years we performed 123 panniculectomies on patients (34 males, 89 females; mean age 44.5 +/- 10.3 years) undergoing bariatric surgery. The panniculectomy was either done at the same time as the bariatric surgery in 21 patients or after a time period of 17 +/- 11 months in 102 patients. The prebariatric surgery weight ranged from 107 to 341 kg (mean: 168.6 +/- 47.2 kg) with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 59 +/- 14 kg/m. After the bariatric surgery the patients had an average weight loss of 57.6 +/- 27 kg. The prepanniculectomy weight was 121.9 +/- 39.3 kg (BMI = 43.1 +/- 12.4 kg/m) for the patients who had the panniculectomy after the bariatric surgery. Ninety-two percent of the patients had multiple comorbidities. The weight of the panniculectomy specimen ranged from 4 to 54 kg. Any abdominal wall hernias (35.4% incisional and 8.9% umbilical) were fixed during the panniculectomy. Overall, patients who had panniculectomy simultaneously with the bariatric surgery had more complications than patients who had panniculectomy after their bariatric surgery. The wound infections were 48% versus 16% and respiratory distress was 24% versus 0%, respectively. The skin necrosis was 10% versus 6%, dehiscence was 33% versus 13%, and hematoma formation was 10% versus 2%, respectively. Overall, the patients had good outcomes, with 3 postoperative deaths in the group with panniculectomy at the same time of bariatric surgery. An interval of weight loss prior to the procedure makes this procedure safer and more effective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Bariatrics / methods*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Hernia, Umbilical / surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / rehabilitation
  • Obesity / surgery*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies