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Both an abdominoplasty and a skin removal procedure (panniculectomy) can help reshape the body after significant weight loss.  These procedures target excess skin in the lower belly.  However, there are some key differences that distinguish the two procedures.  It’s important to understand the differences when deciding which procedure is right for you.


Abdominoplasty is also known as a tummy tuck.  Excess skin is removed and lax abdominal muscles are tightened.  Damage to the abdominal wall is repaired.  Abdominoplasty is often chosen by women who have given birth and are left with an unwanted tummy “pooch” that hasn’t responded well to diet and exercise.  Some stretch marks can also be eliminated.  The procedure may also be chosen by people who have lost significant weight.  Abdominoplasty helps patients achieve a flatter and more toned stomach.


A panniculectomy is often chosen by men and women who have lost massive amounts of weight.  They may have had some type of weight loss surgery, such as a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve.  People may be left with large amounts of loose skin that hangs down over the lower belly and pubic area.  Skin infections or rashes may develop under the hanging skin and may cause medical issues.  Surgery to remove the excess skin may be considered a medical necessity.  This surgery does not tighten abdominal muscles.

Will insurance cover these surgeries?

Abdominoplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not generally covered by insurance.  Panniculectomy is often covered by insurance because it may be medically necessary.  Recurring rashes or infections underneath the hanging skin are considered a health issue.  The patient should contact their health insurance provider to ensure they meet the criteria for coverage.

What is recovery like for these surgeries?

Both abdominoplasty and panniculectomy are major surgeries that will require a 4-6 week recovery period.  The patient should arrange for help at home.  Strenuous activities and lifting must be avoided during the healing process.  Compression garments will be worn around the stomach to help reduce swelling and bruising.  The patient should plan to take several weeks off work, depending on their job duties.


Both procedures will give patients a slimmer profile and more self-confidence in their appearance.  Clothing will fit better, and patients may be able to increase their physical activities.  Abdominoplasty strengthens the core, improves posture, and may help to relieve back pain.  Panniculectomy removes the discomfort and health issues associated with excess skin hanging from the belly.

Choose an experienced surgeon.

Board Certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Cristina Keusch, has been performing body contouring procedures at Boca Raton Plastic Surgery Center since 1990.  She is committed to providing patients the expert level of care they deserve.  Contact our office to schedule a consultation.