Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.



That is the name for the kind of tummy tuck type of procedure I'll have done next week. Funny. When the doctor tells you to "google panniculectomy and I'm sure you'll find all kinds of information." I liked that.

This is all very disjointed. But, that is sort of the way I'm feeling about this right now. I'll be more coherent later.

The plastic surgical procedure known as panniculectomy is designed to remove excess skin and body fat. The name derives from the 'apron' of abdominal fat and skin (abdominal panniculus, or pannus) that is sometimes found on patients suffering from obesity, or on patients who have experienced massive weight loss.

My massive weight loss was after three pregnancies. I gained 50 pounds the first pregnancy. 25 pounds on the second and third pregnancies. I lost all of the weight with the last two pregnancies, but kept about 20 pounds on after the first one. But, I am 5'2 and my stomach would get GIGANTIC even if the rest of me was small.

A panniculectomy may be conducted as a single procedure or combined with an abdominoplasty, depending on the patient's condition. However, panniculectomy is quite different from abdominoplasty (tummy-tuck). Abdominoplasty tightens muscle as well as removing skin and fat, but a panniculectomy deals exclusively with excess skin and fat. Liposuction (lipoplasty) removes only surplus fat, whereas panniculectomy removes surplus fat and skin.

I'll stay overnight in the hospital and they'll put a drain in my side to let out excess fluid. How is THAT for gross?

I found this little tidbit on the Internet:
As with all patients, provide emotional support throughout your patient's hospital stay. Remember that he may be embarrassed by his condition, so respect his privacy and help him maintain his dignity.

No kidding. Embarrassed? Really? I have lived with this for years and felt pretty disgusting. Yeah, I try to feel sexy and attractive, but it is hard sometimes with this "apron." Yuck. The doctor is going to cut out all that skin and affiliated fat. He'll cut out the c-section scar, which caused a lot of these problems. He'll pull the top of my stomach down to meet the skin down near my pubic area. He'll make me a new belly button, too. I'm sort of sad to see my c-section scar go. The doctor and Army of Dad were shocked at that comment. The nurse understood, though. Those are the battle scars from my three children. *shrug* I know, it doesn't make sense. Will miss my cute little belly button, too.

But, what is really weird is reading the post-op expectations the doctor gave me. Here's why:
"You scar will more than likely look its' worst approximately three months after surgery. It may be red, elevated and firm. This is the way our bodies normally heal ... It normally takes 12 to 18 months for a scar to reach its final appearance."

Three months? 12-18 months? Yikes. Worst part: NO SEX for at least a couple of weeks. 14 DAYS. NO SEX. OHMIGOD!

Doc said this procedure isn't as bad as a full fledged tummy tuck. I'll be driving in four to six days. Lifting the baby within a week or so. No baths for two months. That sucks. I LOVE MY BATHS!

*sigh* But, not more infections. No more flabby belly. I'll be a real hottie. Now, maybe my 10-year-old won't be telling me how much prettier his friends' moms are becasue they're skinny. Maybe. I'm not going to hold my breath.


  • At 1:55 PM, May 12, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    You are exactly right. The doctor said it would be a breeze next to a c-section. Only get painpills for a few days and then I go to OTC pain relievers.

    One bad thing - no pain relievers between now and when I have the surgery. That sucks because I have a headache. Ack.

  • At 7:24 PM, May 14, 2005, Blogger Rugo said…

    I found you because of labkat, and am just going to stick my nose in here. I had a breast reduction 6 weeks ago and it was the best thing I ever did, my neck and shoulder were the main reason for the surgery, but I am enjoying being perky too. I had two drains for 3 days and they weren't too terrible other than not knowing what to do with them at times. You just can't wander around carrying these grenade looking things that fill up with blood.

    Good luck and I really do hope you are as happy with your results as I have been with mine.

  • At 8:50 PM, May 17, 2005, Blogger Rachelle Jones said…

    I want this done, lets go together!

  • At 8:11 AM, May 26, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please let us know how your doing. I have wanted to do this for years. I do have a consultation in July, but I would love to hear your comments after surgery.

  • At 9:23 PM, July 29, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    HOOAH! YOU GO MOM.... I am schduled for Sept. 6th of this year. I can't wait. I have thought about this for a very long time, and thanks to the support, and persistance of my dear friends, I finally made it to the doctor. With a bodyguard, to keep me from running off. I didn't even want the doctor to look at me. He promised he wouldn't. HaHa. Being 80 pounds lighter, and body much more tighter, I think I shall then be ready to embark on the next chapter of my life.

  • At 7:02 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good morning, I am about 6 1/2 hours out from having my "panniculectomy", although I am having the abdominoplasty as well. I know I'll be in pain, but it'll be SO worth it! Can't wait for it to be done and over with :)Kate

  • At 1:43 PM, August 10, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Well, ladies, good luck with your procedures. I had several complications arise with mine, but they were definitely not the norm. Despite all the additional recovery crap I had to endure, I'd do it all over again. I truly would. All the pain was worth it. My only regret was not getting lipo done at the same time.

  • At 1:58 PM, August 10, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Sherry - email me at and I'll tell you all about mine. Also, I had an atypical recovery, but I'll be more than happy to share it with you ... or you can follow the blog through all of May and June ... I posted pics and details about how I felt. IT was awful at first, but gets better. Now, I feel great, three months later.

  • At 9:27 PM, September 25, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Sandra - email me and let me exchange information with you. I'm actually going to start a website focusing on panniculectomy and my plastic surgeon said he'd help me and answer questions, etc. So, I may have some really good info for you. My email is

    also, lipo is a great idea to have while you're doing the surgery. I'm not so sure I'd do the hysterectomy, too, only because the recovery is pretty fierce without them jacking with your insides, too, but your surgeon could advise you if that is a good idea or not. I'm sure it would be a big money saver, though.

    as far as the panniculectomy, itself, I had mine on a Thursday and was working at a laptop from my recliner by Saturday. I could work at my computer four or five days later, but not for extended amounts of time because you have to sit in "taco" style folded up position for two to three weeks. You won't be completely upright and that makes it hard to work at the computer.

    But please do email me so we can talk more and I'll let you know when my panniculectomy site is up.

  • At 8:07 PM, October 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi there.

    Excuse my ignorance, but do you know if this proceedure is doable if you're not totally sure you're quite done having children?

    -Apron lady

  • At 1:31 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Feral said…

    First off, spank the son! I'm kidding. But geesh, would a little respect hurt the booger? Fortunately for me, my son is still only 4 years old and thinks I'm "boo-full."

    I'll be looking into this surgery in the first half of next year. I had weight loss surgery and am already down 85 pounds. I've got another 30 I'd like to lose pre-surgery, so I started Herbalife.

    I'm having trouble with my pannus, too. Not with infections, but with belly button pain. My belly button is being overly stretched by the weight of the pannus. It's completely disgusting and I can't wait for it to be gone.

    Good for you for deciding to do this for yourself!

  • At 9:46 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't know if you still check this post. I was wondering how things went after the surgury. What steps to bring this up to my dr. He doesn't seem to know about this procedure. I am on a weight loss program. And want to have this procedure as soon as I am down to my ideal weight. all info would be greatly appreciated. please email me at

  • At 10:57 AM, September 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had a panniculectomy on May 20th and while we did not know it at the time and it did not show up in the pre-OP labwork, I was 4 weeks pregnant.
    Recovery was very tough, but totally worth it. I was down and out for about a month afterwards and I found out I was pregnant when I was 9 weeks along (5 weeks post-OP) which was a shocker and a MAJOR concern.

    Now that I am almost 7 months along with my pregnancy, I am now experiencing a lot of those "stretching and pulling" feelings that I felt right after surgery and a more visible scar. It can get quite painful at times.

    The OB says the baby did not share a blood supply with me at 4 weeks along, so my worries about the anesthesia or pain medications/antibiotics post-OP were alright.
    Moral of this: MAKE SURE that you are NOT pregnant when you have this procedure done. My husband and I thought there was no way I was pregnant at the time, but apparently I was.

    My email is

  • At 1:34 PM, January 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I wanted to know how everything is coming along for you all that had the panniculetomy. Did any of you have any complications after the surgery. Did most you all feel better in regards to apperance? Did insurance cover most of the cost? I'm having mine done in April or sooner of 2007. I can't wait. Also, I have two children and aren't having anymore.

  • At 9:35 PM, January 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations on going through with this! I want to do it but am terrified of the pain. I've had several abdominal surgeries in the past (hysterectomy and big scar 10"gall bladder) and the pain was overwhelming!Honstly, how much did it hurt, for how long? Stitches or staples? What's the "taco " position?
    I have lost about 40 pounds and kept it off for over a year but my enormous belly keeps me looking pregnant and I need clothes that are baggy in the arms and legs.
    How would I get started and does insurance cover any of the costs.
    Is age a factor? I'm 58 but want to live to be 88. Thanks for anything you can share.

  • At 9:08 AM, January 29, 2007, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    I thought the pain was manageable with drugs and I was off the Rx pain meds within a week and down to regular Tylenol. I had staples, which I'm not a big fan of and the taco position was just folded up in a recliner where my knees were closer to my chest than I would normally sit.

    As far as insurance, so see the plastic surgeon and see if he can help you. I was able to have insurance pay because of an infection that couldn't heal on my c-section incision because of the loose skin that flapped over it.

    and, as far as age, I dunno what to tell you there. Feel free to email me at I'm sorry for the long time in responding.

  • At 8:03 PM, May 25, 2007, Blogger Unknown said…

    Hi, I NEED to have this done! I have been trying to research this on the internet for sometime now. I am very overweight after having 3 kids in a row, and all of them being c-sections. They are all a year apart. It has been almost 5 years, and my "pannus" is so huge, it would be considered a 4 or 5 on the scale they use. I live in Washington State and I cannot afford to pay for this as we are a one income family. Any advice? I haven't lost any weight and really can't because this is affecting my mobility. I have a lot of problems because of this (and of course I don't see a doc for them because they'll just say lose weight and you'll be fine). Where do I go to find out about this? Who do I call? I can't seem to find a place that does panniculecomy's. ANY help is MUCH appreciated. I even emailed Dr. Phil for help, with no response. My email is: Really, I would appreciate any advice. Thank You!!

  • At 6:48 PM, November 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had both my boys eleven months apart and I honestly think that the C-Sections were NOT nearly as bad as this. I am post-op panniculectomy 3 weeks and I STILL have ONE drain left. I went home the next day after the surgery- the pain pills I was sent home with, were not very powerful- I couldn't sleep well, it hurt to move it hurt to do everything. I had surgery on Monday I went back to dr on Friday and he gave me a new script for stronger pain pills- AHH much better for pain management. I had Four drains and a week and half later I went back to dr again and he removed Two drains and the staples. I was sent home with Two, and about a week later one started to come out on its own- I called my sister, who is a nurse and happens to live next door, she came down and she said OK pull it out the rest of the way, so I did. Anyway so in 4 days I will be going back to dr and he will take out the last drain. So it still hurts and Yes it make me feel better now, but I am not so certain I would do this again. Ask me again in about a year when maybe I will have forgotten the pain, staples and drains and dressings.

  • At 10:48 AM, January 30, 2010, Anonymous Ryan said…

    Hey Everyone!

    I read all of your comments prior to my panniculectomy. I am a 21 year old male who lost around 85lbs when I was 18 and kept it off! I'm a junior now in college and plan on getting a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Ever since my weight loss, things really have looked good for me. I have great friends and family, had some terrific jobs as an undergraduate in the field of psychology, and I even completed P90x. But one thing bothered me, and it was my abdominal area. No matter how much cardio or sit-ups I did, I yielded no results. Frustrated, I talked to my doctor, who sent me to a plastic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. Sure enough, it was all loose and separated skin. Because I was young and exercised a lot, a panniculectomy was recommended.

    January 5, 2010 I went in for the operation. My mom worked at the surgery center as a nurse, so during my operation, my mom was called in to sign a consent that it would be okay to tightened my muscles as well.

    I went home that afternoon. I was not sick and asked the Dr.'s to give me a motion sickness patch and anti-nausea IVs. They did without question. I only had one drain in. I was still numb, but was bent over because of the tightness of the skin. I was joking around with the nurses and was my usual self :) Most of my anxiety was the recovery, so I want to shed some light on that.

    Eat bland foods, and eat a lot! You will have no appetite, but it beats throwing up from pain meds! Trust me, I coughed and the pain from one cough was so bad, I avoided coughing/sneezing for two weeks. I'd hate to have had to thrown up. Plus bland foods won't upset your stomach as much. Things like toast and jelly, dry cereal, noodles, crackers. Treat it like you have the stomach flu.

    24hrs after surgery, you can eat regularly again. My appetite was back, and I stopped the pain meds. I took one pain med after the surgery, and one at night before bed. I made sure I ate before. From there, I took Tylenol and was already trying to walk. Drink a lot of water as it helps with swelling/comfort. However, because I am a male, I had trouble urinating. The drain was inserted right above my genitals, so aiming was a bit rough :P My drain was taken out two weeks after surgery, but that's because I kept draining high amounts. By the end of week 1, I was walking upright with slight discomfort. By the time the drain came out, I was laying flat and walking my usual pace. The next day class and work started, and I was back to a routine. Because of the binder, I had to wear sweats.
    Week 4 starts this Tuesday. Dr. said I can get rid of the binder! The best part: I can exercise again! He said it was fine to work on the treadmill and workout my upper body. Obviously, I’ll be de-conditioned and will start in slow. By Week 6, I can start to slowly work the abs and wear tight jeans again. The best news of all: I now am capable of obtaining a six pack of abs! Ladies, watch out ;-) He said it’ll take a ton of work and effort, but I’m capable!
    I look at myself in the mirror now and love what I see! However, the scar is big, scabby, and red. Obviously, it will improve over time. Can’t wait to go swimming and head to water parks this summer!
    All in all, the recovery was tough through the first 48hrs, then it was all uphill. My dad helped me in the shower the first week, and my brother kept me company during the day since it was winter break. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!!!!!

  • At 12:31 PM, March 19, 2010, Blogger Unknown said…

    Congratulations to everyone who took the leap of faith to undergo the procedure! I am 2 weeks out from having it done myself! I am now 138 pounds having lost about 140 pounds. I can't imagine how I used to "carry myself" around with me all day. In any event, I got myself into really great shape before I did the surgery and even though I was supposed to stay overnight at the hospital, I was well enough and doing great so they sent me home! I attribute that to having exercised for the months leading up to that day. I went home with 1 drain which remained in for a full week. I'd say that's the worst. Or as Ryan states, having to cough or sneeze in the first couple of weeks! If anyone is considering the procedure, research what different doctors in your area offer. I saw comments about staples (OH NO!) and other options. I had 3 layers of sutures (2 internal, 1 external) but my surgeon is so skilled that the external sutures are actually slightly below the skin & DISOLVABLE so I am left with what looks like nothing more than a scratch! I had 2 "knots" anchoring the sutures but those were clipped at the 2 week mark. No staples or stitches to remove. I am THRILLED I chose to go through with this procedure and I cannot wait to wear a bikini this summer.

  • At 10:29 AM, July 19, 2010, Anonymous cosmetic surgeon said…

    Interesting post.thanks for posting. I’ll likely be coming back to your blog. Keep up great writing.

  • At 6:30 PM, January 28, 2011, Blogger Unknown said…

    I did not get through to you using CONTACT ME. Please send me your e-mail address. Please e-mail me I think I have an interesting story to share.

  • At 1:06 AM, February 25, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am schedule for one too, but my question is:: did you ask for the bellybutton?? The nurse told me my bellybutton will disappear and I won't have one :(

  • At 1:33 PM, February 25, 2011, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    I did get a new bellybutton and you should, too. Insist on it with your surgeon.

  • At 12:03 PM, March 04, 2011, Blogger Summer said…

    I am REALLY glad to read this...

    I had Open RNY in January of 2008 and was told the pain from this is about an 8 on a scale of 10 and the RNY was a 2 (I think the person had it done lap, not open though). My surgeon for the RNY is the same for this one and he warned me that it's not a tummy tuck so it won't be all pretty when it's done but I'm ok with that... Anything is better than how I look now as far as I'm concerned... Also, if he does it, it's covered by healthcare and if I try to see a plastic surgeon, I have to pay for it. As a broke student, it's not in the budget unfortunately. :(

    My main reason for searching for information about how people did with recovery was I was trying to figure out if I'm going to be able to go back to school about 3 weeks after the surgery (just to take one class, it's a spring course) but from the sounds of things, I should be ok. :) I'm a member of and had asked on there but didn't get any response. :(

    I do worry about other complications but to be honest, I'm down almost 160 pounds from where I started and this is something that HAS to be done so I don't want to put it off for too long. If anyone has any words of encouragement, advice/tips for post-op, etc. I'd LOVE to hear/read them! My e-mail is

    To be honest, I'm REALLY nervous but trying not to let it show or tell anyone... Mine will be 3 days in hospital (Surgery is on Thursday and I get out on the Sunday) in a city that is almost 3 hours from my hometown and 5ish from where I am currently living so other than possibly my mom, I don't know if anyone else will be coming to visit me in hospital. :S

    Anyway, thanks again for posting this and I am going to go check out the pictures and such you said you've posted!

  • At 11:39 AM, March 11, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm having this procedure in a few weeks and to be honest... I'm terrified!!! Thanks for posting this, but let me know how it went... You have the before, but no after.

  • At 10:13 PM, June 15, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi there!
    I just had my panniculectomy on May 25, 2011, was wandering around the Internet tonight and stumbled across this blog.
    I just turned 29 (3 days before I had surgery!) and they only kept me in the hospital for about 2 1/2 days (thanks, insurance company...) and now I am at home recovering.
    I had 4 JP drains, and my surgery did not include the vertical incision - however, the 2 horizontal incisions that I have go all the way around my body in its entirety right around the hip bones, and there's only a space about 5" in width that was NOT cut into on my lower back. This recovery has not been as I thought it would, and all of my Doctors - including the Surgeon - are stumped as to what's going on with my body! (I have quite a few health conditions.)

    They removed 28 lbs. of tissue, and 90 lbs. of fluid from my body. (The fluid came on suddenly - I literally had gained 200 lbs. in under 9 months which was all fluid!) yet the scale reads that I've only lost 2 lbs. since the surgery!!! Yup, there is a TWO POUND DIFFERENCE from before the surgery to now, 3 weeks post-op and no Doctor can tell me why or what's going on or even where this fluid IS anymore because I have definitely gotten a LOT smaller than I was pre-op, yet the scale (2 doc offices and 2 different hospital scales) say that only 2 lbs. are gone. WTH!?

    So, if anyone has any inkling of a clue or guess at this point as to what might be going on, please e-mail me at and let me know!!!

    Best of luck to everyone out there who is considering getting this procedure done - or any procedure, for that matter!!!

  • At 3:22 PM, November 20, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for all the info. Iam 4 days out and am in alot of pain but painkillers help. No appetite. I am actually feeling a little depressed since taking a shower is tuff, missed allot of social engagements, wich has not helped. My fiance' helps but I feel unloved, or maybe just me. I cried poprably feeling sorry for myself, was my decision. Have any of you felt these feelings?
    The drains 2, are just a pain. I strain my back to just get the stuff through the tube.
    Cannot wait to get them out. The stitches are coming out and the gauze is always needing cleaing, which I do daily. This can be quite a task. I guess I am exhauseted from the aftercare. Please be advised the aftercare is huge. I was in the hospital for only 1 day.

  • At 9:45 PM, March 03, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had my panniculectomy done 2 days ago. I was in hospital for 26 hours. I feel great and I am excited about the way I look. Still alot of swelling but I'm happy with it. Make sure you have arrangements for sleeping comfortably, this is the only issue now. Hubby just got me a huge 5" thick pad to put on top of mattress. I am so excited about sleeping tonight. Also take ALL meds as directed especially the pain and antibiotics. Good Luck to all of you!

  • At 9:26 PM, May 26, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi everyone! I am 11 dpo and am doing very well!! I started walking same day of surgery it's not to tight wich I am very happy about because I can stand straight up! I barely have a scar from what I can see, my doc used sutures and streri strips. I still have the drains until Monday. I definabtly think they are the worst part! I'm down 14lb. Constipation was a bit rough but nothing prune juice didn't fix. I had no pain at all never even needed any pain meds. I even went out for lunch and shopping today! I'm happy w the result and would def do it again! Good luck to all of you!! Hugs"

  • At 7:33 PM, June 05, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Note to self....not sure if it was a great idea to read this blog a few hours before surgery!!! YIKES. I am having a Panniculectomy Procedure
    and breast lift with implants in about 10 hours!!! I am very anxious and extremely excited. This is my journey...I had a very successful lap band surgery 3 years ago. I have been able to keep off 130 pounds for over 2 years. It is a struggle sometimes but I have a very active life style, which explains why I have to get this apron removed!! It causes me lower back pain, discomfort and actually has an odor especially during the summer months. I will update the blog after my surgery. Thanks for all the information...


Post a Comment

<< Home