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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery > Panniculectomy

Panniculectomy Cost

How Much Does a Panniculectomy Cost?

 average costSurgeon, Anesthesia, Facility Fee and Overnight Hospital Stay: $8,500-$15,000 
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A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure to remove excess, hanging skin below the belly button that often results from massive weight loss, especially after gastric bypass surgery. Risks of a panniculectomy include reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, swelling, fluid build-up, scarring, blood clots and even death.

Typical costs:

  • A panniculectomy typically costs $8,500-$15,000, including the surgeon fee, anesthesia, facility fee and overnight stay in the hospital.
  • Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery estimates the cost at $8,500 to $10,000. And Barry Epley[1] , a plastic surgeon in Indianapolis, quotes a price of $10,000 to $15,000.
  • Insurance companies sometimes consider a panniculectomy medically necessary. For example, Aetna[2] considers a panniculectomy medically necessary only if the excess skin hangs below the pubis and causes chronic dermatitis, irritation, infection or chafing that has not been successfully treated with other medical therapy; otherwise the procedure is considered cosmetic.
  • For patients covered by health insurance, costs would typically include an office visit copay and coinsurance of 10% to 50% for the surgery, which could reach the out-of-pocket maximum.
Related articles: Gastric Bypass Surgery, Tummy Tuck, Liposuction

What should be included:
  • The patient typically is placed under general anesthesia. The surgeon then makes two incisions -- a horizontal one and a vertical one -- and removes the excess skin and tissue below the belly button, then closes the incisions with sutures. The surgery takes about two hours. Unlike with abdominoplasty, the surgeon typically does not tighten the abdominal muscles.
  • After surgery, the patient might need to stay up to a few days in the hospital. Patients may need to take about two weeks off from work, or, up to eight weeks for a job that involves strenuous activity.
  • The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery[3] offers an overview of the panniculectomy procedure.
Additional costs:
  • The surgeon probably will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics for recovery. Antibiotics can cost up to $50 or more, depending on the antibiotic prescribed and pain medication typically costs less than $50.
  • An abdominal compression garment[4] can cost $50 to $150 or more.
  • Many plastic surgeons offer discounts on multiple procedures; a panniculectomy sometimes is done in conjunction with an abdominoplasty.
  • Many surgeons also offer discounts of 5% or more for cash-paying patients.
Shopping for a panniculectomy:
  • A board-certified plastic surgeon should perform a panniculectomy. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons[5] and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery[6] offer referral services. It is a good idea to ask the doctor how much experience he or she has performing panniculectomy surgery and to ask to see before-and-after photos of previous patients.
  • Suitable candidates for panniculectomy typically are non-smokers in overall good health who maintain a healthful diet and exercise routine and have maintained their weight for about a year.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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