Risk factors for pannus formation in the post-bariatric surgery population

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2014 May;133(5):623e-627e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000000101.


Background: Previous studies describe a relationship between pannus mass and panniculectomy-related complication rates. Patient management may be improved by elucidating the key factors influencing pannus formation.

Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of 135 patients who had undergone laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass from 1996 to 2010 and subsequent panniculectomy. Outcome measures included age, sex, body mass index, time of surgery, resected pannus mass, comorbidities, and panniculectomy-related complications. Nonparametric continuous and nominal variables were assessed using Spearman rank-correlation and Mann-Whitney U tests, respectively.

Results: One hundred thirty-five patients (123 women and 12 men; mean age, 44.7 years) were included in analysis. All patients had body contouring surgery more than 1 year after bariatric surgery (median time interval, 2.1 years). Median body mass index at the time of bypass, 1 year after bypass, and at the time of body contouring surgery was 48.7, 30.0, and 29.4 kg/m, respectively. Median pannus mass was 2.2 kg. Larger pannus mass was associated with greater age at gastric bypass surgery (p = 0.034), higher pre-gastric bypass body mass index (p = 0.031), higher prepanniculectomy body mass index (p < 0.001), and longer time interval between gastric bypass and panniculectomy (p = 0.046). Female patients requiring blood transfusions had a significantly larger pannus mass than those who did not (p = 0.048).

Conclusion: Performing bariatric surgery on patients at a younger age or having patients reduce body mass index as much as possible before bariatric surgery may be useful for minimizing symptomatic pannus formation and in turn may decrease rates of panniculectomy-related complications.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Risk, III.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / pathology
  • Adult
  • Bariatric Surgery / adverse effects*
  • Bariatric Surgery / methods
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Gastric Bypass / methods
  • Hematoma / epidemiology
  • Hematoma / etiology
  • Hematoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis / epidemiology
  • Necrosis / etiology
  • Necrosis / pathology
  • Obesity, Morbid / epidemiology*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroma / epidemiology*
  • Seroma / etiology
  • Seroma / pathology