Surgery Panniculectomy —
Panniculectomy is a procedure that typically is needed after previous weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass, or lap-band procedures. I never had either one of those, but I lost approximately 212 pounds in 10 years. It took physical therapy, counseling, and cessation of medicines that were causing massive weight gain.
Sometimes, when weight is lost the patient still looks and feels much fatter than they are because an apron of skin droops over the hips. It’s called a “pannus.” It can cause rashes, but the first signs of impairment are legs hitting lower abdomen when trying to walk, and eventually, it can lead to falling, back pain, and immobility, and inability to find clothing that fits properly even though the patient has usually lost 100-300 pounds when this surgery is called for. Intimacy will be really painful, not for lack of dating opportunities, but due to the way your body is shaped and the poor quality of delicate skin. Sometimes there is pain AND numbing in the affected area. If the surgery is medically indicated, it is one of the few, if not the only, plastic surgery that insurance will pay for. In the simple pann, no liposuction or muscle contouring is done. Skin is simply excised along with any lipid (fat) that is attatched to it in the new, drooping abdominal cavity.
To qualify, once again you: lost over 100 pounds, have loose skin covering parts of you body that stops anywhere from the pubic bone to the actual knees., be weight stable for a year, and not plan on having more children, which will re-stretch the abdomen, and you will receive counseling and 2-3 appointments before EKG, blood test, and X ray are scheduled. These tests assure your ability to recover from this relatively safe surgery and make sure that the risk is outweighed by benefits.
I surprised my surgical team by walking to the bathroom without a nurse’s help the first night. You will be on pain medicine to make it possible for you to get up the next day. Loss of appetite after anesthetic or due to pain meds is common, and they want you to eat, so if you cannot eat, ask for an Ensure drink, and try to eat a light meal within 24 hours. Your tray should consist of a lean protein, a green vegetable (not salad), and all the water or tea you can drink. Plan on tolerating drainage tubes which help you lose even more weight and keep the skin from developing water pockets. Do NOT fear drinking plenty of water. The J/P tube or tubes will remove excess water for you . When those are removed, dressing yourself will be much more comfortable. Wear your binder for 4-8 weeks, as your Dr says.
The first things my friends noticed was that I seemed to be walking more the day after surgery than the day before. I found it less painful. The arthritis all over my body was relieved and I am relatively pain free two weeks post-op. The downside is I now have the energy to travel all over the place but was advised to fly home only and postpone travel for a few weeks. I am busy with TV workouts, as the antibiotics made me a little more heat sensitive to be outdoors this time of year. Start your excercise routine again slowly but start it soon. I am confident that I will lose the rest of the weight I need to lose, and I have an appointment to see the surgeon once a year to see how things are going, and if a full body lift will be needed. The more I can exercise now, the less they will have to do later.
I am putting before and after photos up but more graphic and helpful photos are all over the web.