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A panniculectomy is surgery to remove fat and skin that hangs down from your belly. Often the extra fat and skin come from losing a lot of weight.
Your belly will be sore and swollen for the first week after surgery. The skin on your belly will probably be mostly numb for several weeks to months. Feeling will come back slowly. But you may have small areas around the incisions that are always numb. Don't use a heating pad on your stomach while it's still numb, or you could have severe burns. It's normal to feel tired while you heal. It can take 5 to 6 weeks for your energy to return.
You won't be able to stand up straight when you get home. To regain your normal movement, you'll need to get up and walk every day. Between walks, move your feet and legs often.
The surgery leaves one or more scars that will fade with time. If they don't fade, check with your doctor.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: July 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine & Ellen K. Roh MD - Dermatology & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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