Post Weight Loss Cosmetic Surgery: Panniculectomy and More - Houston

There are several reliable and safe post weight loss cosmetic surgery options to correct some body deformities after a large weight loss. Most involve surgery on the skin only, which insures better safety with fewer serious complications. A large number of the procedures can be performed under general anesthesia in less than three hours; this means they can be considered on an outpatient basis, which also decreases possible serious complications. In most instances, patients with medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension can consider these operations with confidence. It is best to wait until optimal weight has been achieved before undergoing most types of post weight loss cosmetic surgery.

To learn more about body lift, breast reduction, panniculectomy, and other post weight loss cosmetic surgery procedures, contact Dr. Long’s Houston practice for a consultation.

Abdominal Procedures

There are several post weight loss cosmetic surgery procedures offered by Dr. John K. Long in Houston that target the abdominal area, including abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), abdominal liposuction, and panniculectomy.

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty is an operation designed to remove excess abdominal skin, repair and strengthen the muscles of the abdominal wall, and create a more natural-looking and contoured abdomen. Abdominoplasty is excellent for patients who have a moderate amount of excess abdominal skin. In order to create a more contoured abdominal area, abdominal liposuction may also be used to remove pockets of stubborn fat that do not respond well to weight loss and exercise.


Many massive weight loss patients have so much excess abdominal skin that it folds over the pubis and creates a skin apron called a pannus or panniculus. The pannus can cause medical problems with the underlying skin, including both bacterial and yeast infections. These medical problems are often treated conservatively with frequent bathing, powders, creams, and ointments. However, even with conservative treatments, the skin infections often persist and cause pain and foul odors. The panniculectomy is the only post weight loss surgery option that can end these recurring infections and other medical conditions.

Similar to abdominoplasty, the goals of the panniculectomy are to remove the excess skin of the middle and lower abdomen, tighten the abdominal muscles when appropriate, and to elevate and tighten the skin of the pubis and anterior thighs. The scale of the panniculectomy is grander than that of the abdominoplasty, and the resulting scar extends from one side of the waist to the other.

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Panniculectomy Procedure

The panniculectomy is performed by Dr. Long at his Houston practice under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis, with time of anesthesia around two hours. Closure of the incisions is with absorbable sutures except around the umbilicus (belly button). All patients require drains that must be left in place for several weeks.

Recovery from Panniculectomy

Recovery from panniculectomy is similar to recovery from abdominoplasty, with similar potential complications and side effects. All patients wear abdominal binders or compression garments following the panniculectomy procedure until one week after the drains are removed. After panniculectomy, patients should anticipate being able to return to work in ten days to two weeks; however, the drains may still need to be left in place.

To schedule a consultation to discuss abdominoplasty, abdominal liposuction, or panniculectomy, contact Dr. Long’s Houston office.

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Breast Procedures

Especially important for women, breast procedures can restore fullness and proportion to the breasts, which are greatly affected by massive weight loss. Dr. Long offers breast reduction and breast lift surgeries for post weight loss patients.

Breast Reduction

Some women who have very large breasts may desire a breast reduction, a procedure which is covered by some insurance companies. Unlike other types of post weight loss cosmetic surgery, a breast reduction may be performed before optimal weight loss has been achieved to ensure that enough breast tissue is still present to qualify for the reduction. A woman who is considering obesity surgery and has large breasts should consider consulting with a plastic surgeon early in her care to discuss the timing of her breast reduction surgery.

Breast Lift

After optimal weight loss has been achieved, many women suffer from sagging breasts, but do not have a serious enough problem to qualify for a medically-indicated breast reduction nor do they have enough breast tissue to desire a reduction in its volume. These women need a mastopexy (breast lift) that is considered cosmetic in nature and is not covered by any insurance plans. Mastopexy is performed in order to lift the sagging breasts and attempt to turn back the clock by producing breasts that look and feel more youthful.

The type of breast lift that is performed is determined by the appearance of the breasts and the amount of correction that is indicated. Breast lift can be performed in either the office or the operating room, under local or general anesthesia.

To learn more about breast reduction and breast lift post weight loss cosmetic surgery, contact Dr. Long in Houston.

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Body Procedures

There are several post weight loss cosmetic surgery procedures performed by Dr. Long to help improve the appearance of the arms, thighs, and buttocks.


Although liposuction should not be considered a substitute for weight loss, it can help contour areas of the body that have stubborn deposits of fat that do not respond to weight loss and exercise attempts. In addition, liposuction of the abdomen and other areas of the body, such as the upper arms, can, in some cases, decrease the amount of excess skin.


For many women and men, dramatic weight loss results in excess upper arm skin that can become both annoying and unattractive. A brachioplasty is an operation that reduces the amount of excess upper arm skin to create a smooth, streamlined appearance.

Buttock and Thigh Lift

Without a doubt, the skin of the lower extremities suffers through the fluctuations of massive weight gain and weight loss. Post weight loss cosmetic surgery treatments for these areas are some of the most complicated body contouring procedures available. The buttocks suffer a great deal from excessive weight gain and then loss. A lifting of the buttock skin is possible through a buttock lift. A thigh lift is also possible to lift the medial and upper superior thigh skin, although these procedures often result in long scars in the groin and/or across the front of the legs at the groin.

The buttock lift and thigh lift operations are often complicated by the weight of the remaining leg skin being pulled down by gravity after the surgery. In many instances, this makes healing difficult and the scars more prominent. Each procedure takes two to three hours under general anesthesia in a hospital operating room, with an overnight stay in the hospital often required.

Body Lift

The full body lift is a very dramatic operation performed in some medical centers by experienced plastic surgery teams. It involves a correction of the abdomen, the buttocks, and the entire upper thighs in one procedure, performed all in one setting. A full body lift is an expensive surgery, has high risk of serious complications, and may not be right for all post weight loss patients. Although Dr. Long does not offer body lift surgery, he can provide information about the centers that best perform this procedure.

If you are interested in learning more about body lift surgery, or any other post weight loss cosmetic surgery procedures, schedule a consultation at Dr. Long’s Houston practice.

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Facial Procedures

In addition to the body, massive weight loss also takes its toll on the face, causing it to age much faster than normal. There are several facial procedures that can be beneficial for patients after massive weight loss.

Many women and men, even those who have not undergone obesity surgery and its subsequent weight loss, feel the need for a more youthful appearance to their face as they grow older. The normal aging of the face is often drastically accelerated by dramatic weight loss. One can imagine a drooping of the forehead and brow that occurs after extreme weight loss. Excess skin accumulates around the eyes in the upper and lower eyelids, and of course there is the sagging of the lower face and jowls, as well as sagging neck skin.

In the above short depiction of the aging face, with particular focus on aging after major weight loss, three individual operations are needed to address the problems described. The dropping forehead and brow is corrected by a brow lift; the excess skin of the eyelids is corrected by a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) procedure; and the sagging jowls and excess neck skin is corrected by a rhytidectomy (facelift).

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Contact Dr. Long for Post Weight Loss Cosmetic Surgery

To learn more about liposuction, panniculectomy, and other post weight loss cosmetic surgery options offered at Dr. Long’s Houston practice, contact his office today.

If you would like to learn more about post weight loss cosmetic surgery, including panniculectomy, contact the Houston practice of Dr. John K. Long.

John K. Long, M.D., F.A.C.S.
1200 Binz St., Suite 1275
Houston,TX 77004
Phone: (713) 522-5664
Fax: (713) 522-9618