Abdominoplasty vs Panniculectomy – Difference and Comparison

What is Abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty is a process that aims to make your abdominal area flat. This is done by removing extra skin and fats from the area and tightening the abdomen muscles. The amount of skin or fat to be removed depends upon the person opting for the process. 

An Abdominoplasty must not be used as an alternative method to the weight loss procedure. One must not be in a hurry to bring a change in body type. Thorough research is necessary before moving on to Abdominoplasty. The complete surgical procedure may take nearly 4-5 hours. A mini-surgical procedure may get limited to 2 hours or less.

An Abdominoplasty is also better known as a ‘tummy tuck.’This method is applicable for all sex types. A healthy body with proper weight is necessary to pursue this surgery. However, the weight part must be consulted with an expert before pursuing it. 

The healing period after surgery varies from person to person with the complexity of the surgery. Heavy work, lifting heavy weights, etc., are prohibited after the surgery. Nicotine intake is prohibited after surgery. The surgical procedure scars heal with time if taken care of properly.

Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic process referred to as cosmetic operation or surgery. The medical reasons are not mostly covered.

What is Panniculectomy?

Panniculectomy involves the removal of the pannus from the body. Pannus refers to the excess skin or fat hanging from the body. Panniculectomy involves medical intentions, while it differs from an Abdominoplasty with cosmetic and aesthetic reasons. 

The muscle tightening remains absent in case of a panniculectomy. But it can bring similar results like making the abdominal area flatter. After a person loses a significant amount of weight, the skin or fat has to be removed to prevent certain issues. A panniculectomy can be helpful in this case.

To be eligible to conduct panniculectomy, one must have certain points in his/her mind related to health. A non Smoker is eligible for this process as smoking brings complications in healing. Apart from hanging skin, one must have good health and be eligible for surgery. A stable weight is necessary.

Make sure you perform this after a certain prescribed period of weight loss. If the excess abdominal skinfold is causing irritation or rashes, then the surgery is much needed for a normal life. The hanging skin may arise from the genital area, back, thighs to your knees. It’s not only about the abdomen always.

The recovery period varies from patient to patient. The swelling may stay intact for some time. Proper medications prescribed by your doctor will help to heal soon.

Difference Between Abdominoplasty and Panniculectomy

  1. Abdominoplasty is less costly than panniculectomy. But the Panniculectomy is covered under insurance. Whereas Abdominoplasty is not covered under any insurance, you will have to pay an extra amount.
  2.  An Abdominoplasty is done for cosmetic or aesthetic requirements. On the other hand, a panniculectomy is done for medical surgical purposes. 
  3. An Abdominoplasty’s main goal is to make your abdomen look flatter by tightening muscles. In the case of panniculectomy, the excess skin and fat are removed to avoid medical issues.
  4. Abdominoplasty gets covered at a low cost as compared to Panniculectomy.
  5.  Panniculectomy is covered under insurance, but Abdominoplasty is not.

Comparison Between Abdominoplasty and Panniculectomy

Parameters AbdominoplastyPanniculectomy
Type of SurgeryCosmetic, aestheticMedical 
 Insurance coverageGenerally not covered under insuranceCovered under insurance more often
 Muscle involvementTightens muscles No involvement of muscle tightening
CostThe cost remains lower as compared to PanniculectomyThe cost is higher as compared to Abdominoplasty
Side effects
Deep vein thrombosis, Anesthesia Complications
Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, Chest pain


  1. https://journals.lww.com/annalsplasticsurgery/Fulltext/2004/10000/An_Outcomes_Analysis_and_Satisfaction_Survey_of.11.aspx
  2. https://journals.lww.com/annalsplasticsurgery/fulltext/2020/09000/postoperative_complications_of_panniculectomy_and.17.aspx