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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I need to know about a panniculectomy?

A panniculectomy is surgery to remove your pannus. A pannus, or apron, is extra skin and fat on your lower abdomen. The pannus may hang down over your genitals or thighs, or as low as your knees. A panniculectomy is usually done after you have lost a large amount of weight. A pannus may cause low back pain, or yeast infections or ulcers in your skin folds. A pannus may also make it hard to fit into clothes.

How do I prepare for a panniculectomy?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. Your provider will tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. Arrange to have someone drive you home and stay with you for 1 to 2 days.

What will happen during a panniculectomy?

You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will make a horizontal incision from one hipbone to the other, right above the genital area. A vertical incision may also be made in your abdomen. Extra skin and fat will be removed. A drain may be placed to remove extra blood and fluid from the surgery area. The remaining skin will be closed with stitches or staples and may be covered with medical tape or a bandage.

What will happen after a panniculectomy?

You may need to stay in the hospital for up to 1 week. Your drain may be removed while you are in the hospital. You will need to start walking as soon as possible to help prevent a blood clot. Pain, bruising, and swelling are expected after surgery.

What are the risks of a panniculectomy?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may not be happy with the results of your surgery. You may have permanent scars. A seroma (pocket of fluid) may form near the incision wounds. You may develop poor blood flow to the skin near the wounds. The wounds may not heal properly and may split open. You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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