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What is a panniculectomy?

A panniculectomy is a procedure that removes the pannus, or the skin on the lower abdomen that hangs over the pubic area and sometimes down to the thighs. It is most often done for medical reasons, such as irritation under the pannus (rashes, ulcers, etc.) and interference with normal activities. A panniculectomy removes subcutaneous fat and skin below the belly button. This hanging belly usually occurs due to a very large weight loss from dieting or sometimes post-pregnancy.

Surgery typically takes from three to five hours and is done under general anesthesia. An incision is made right above the pubic area and outward to the hip area. The size of the incision is dependent on the amount of skin that will need to be excised. If any extensive tissue removal higher up on the abdomen or tightening of the muscles needs to happen as well, the patient may consider abdominoplasty.

Before & After Photos

During your consultation visit, your surgeon will show you before and after pictures of patients who have undergone a breast augmentation. You will be able to see firsthand the difference the procedure made for these people. Interested in viewing before and after photos before your consultation? Visit our online gallery.

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What is the average cost of a panniculectomy at Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery? Is there a charge for the consultation?

The costs associated with a panniculectomy will vary depending on the extent of the surgery necessary as well as any other procedures performed in conjunction such as an additional thigh lift.


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“I cannot thank Dr. Humphrey and staff enough for the outstanding service. My results are better than I ever imagined. 10/10 recommend him for any and all cosmetic needs! ❤️”

“God has blessed the work of his [Dr. Humphrey] hands. I am very blessed and pleased with the results. I am equally blessed with the kindness, understanding, and sincere professionalism I not only received from Dr. Humphrey but from his staff as well. A team of phenomenal individuals. Thank you!”

“Had such a great experience! Everything from the consultation to follow-up appointments was amazing! The staff is so pleasant and wonderful and I was always informed of the next steps 🙂 Would definitely recommend Dr. Humphrey!”

Is financing available? And will insurance cover any of the fees?

Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery accepts several types of payment. They are cash, credit cards (Visa, American Express, Discover, and Master Card), money orders, cashier checks, and financing with an outside agency. Cosmetic surgeries are not covered by commercial insurance and must be paid in full before surgery. Make sure that financing arrangements are made in advance with a finance company of your choosing.

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After bariatric surgery/massive weight loss, what are my options and what area should I start on first?

Men and women throughout Arnold, Perryville and other nearby communities, including Marion/Carbondale, Illinois, are invited to learn more about our body contouring surgeries. Bariatric surgery, weight loss surgery, or “obesity surgery” is certainly becoming a more popular method for lowering…

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I am planning a vacation and would like my procedure done before my vacation. How do I decide the correct time?

Frequently, the idea of a nice vacation is a catalyst for seeking consultation regarding cosmetic surgical or non-surgical procedures. Every patient is different. Deciding the correct timing prior to or after a vacation is best may in a one-on-one consultation…

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Do I have to stop smoking before a panniculectomy?

Yes, Dr. Humphery requires the patient to stop smoking one month before surgery and one month after surgery. Nicotine in cigarettes, vapes, and other tobacco products decreases the blood supply to the skin, and blood supply is important to the healing process. We also require patients to eliminate secondhand exposure to all tobacco and marijuana products for the same duration.

Is there anything I need to do to get myself ready for surgery?

Patients must stop taking blood thinners and vitamin E supplements at least two weeks before and after surgery to reduce bruising and lessen the risk of hematoma. You may need to get medical clearance from your doctor as well as instructions on how to stop the medication if you are currently on prescription blood thinners. It is almost important to cease all herbal medication and diet pills (prescription and over-the-counter) at least two weeks before and one week after surgery.

At Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery, cosmetic surgeries are elective procedures. Our patients are required to be in overall good health before surgery can be performed. If there are any remaining questions regarding your health, we may need medical clearance from your primary care doctor.

How do I know if I need a panniculectomy or a tummy tuck? Can I receive liposuction as well?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is usually more of a cosmetic procedure, removing excess wrinkled skin and subcutaneous fat from the abdomen and tightening the underlying muscles. There are options for a full tummy tuck with incisions from hip to hip, where the skin is tightened from just below the ribs to above the pubic area, as well as a mini tummy tuck from the belly button down. Liposuction is not part of the process with a full tummy tuck due to complications with the blood supply that could occur. However, if a patient undergoes a mini tummy tuck, liposuction is part of the procedure and will blend upper and lower stomach areas together smoothly.

In contrast, a panniculectomy is performed when the patient’s pannus, or excess skin on the stomach that can hang down over the genitals and thighs, causes discomfort to the patient. It may be difficult to keep up proper hygiene and irritations such as rashes may form. It may also be challenging to walk or go about a normal routine due to discomfort. This is usually seen only after a very drastic weight loss or sometimes pregnancy. The tissue underneath and the muscles are not tightened during this procedure and surgery occurs only below the belly button to remove the problematic pannus. A panniculectomy is considered a functional surgery, not involving many of the cosmetic benefits of a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck is generally more cosmetic in nature and involves tightening of the abdominal muscles and tissues of the stomach, and release of the extra fat and skin all the way up to the rib cage.

Is there a better time of year to have a panniculectomy performed?

You should schedule your panniculectomy surgery on a date when you will have the appropriate amount of time to heal. It can take from two to four weeks to fully recover, so you have to make adjustments in your work and home life to account for typical factors of recovery like swelling and pain medications.

What is my next step?

At Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery, J. Stewart Humphrey, MD is board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. He offers plastic and hand surgery to patients across Missouri including Cape Girardeau, Jackson, and Sikeston. Our Plastic Surgery office is located 58 miles from Marion, IL and 66 miles from Farmington, MO. Your next step is to contact the Heartland Plastic & Hand Surgery office today at (888) 515-2847 to schedule your initial panniculectomy consultation. To make sure that all of your questions are answered by our surgeons, we suggest that you make a list of them to bring with you for your initial visit. Don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts and change your life forever. Call today!

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Dr. J. Stewart Humphrey is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the gold standard for plastic surgery certification in the United States. Dr. Humphrey…


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