A dermolipectomy is one type of tummy tuck surgery. This procedure is best for people who have a lot of redundant skin and excess abdominal fat. However, their underlying abdominal muscles are in good shape. Dermolipectomy means excision to remove skin and fat and actually, the word can be used to describe the removal of skin and fat anywhere on the body.
People who have lost a great deal of weight and have sagging skin on the abdomen are ideal candidates for a dermolipectomy. So are people who have skin that is not very elastic and that will not bounce back or shrink to fit after fat is removed, such after an abdominal liposuction. No muscle tightening or repair to the abdominal muscles takes place in a dermolipectomy.
In a dermolipectomy, the surgeon will make an incision across the abdomen, usually just at the level of the top of the pubic hair. The skin is loosened from the underlying tissue on the abdomen and is pulled downward. Excess skin and some subcutaneous fat are removed.
Usually, an incision is also made around the navel and the skin is release from it. After the skin is redraped, a hole is made in it and it is sutured around the navel. Although this looks as if the navel has moved, it has not. The skin around it has been moved. The surgeon then sutures closed the main incision.
The distinction between a dermolipectomy and a panniculectomy <links to panniculectomy page> is a bit vague. The word panniculectomy is specific to the abdomen, however. Some surgeons reserve the term panniculectomy for procedures that remove a large amount of hanging abdominal fat and not just excess skin and some fat.
Mary Lee Peters, MD
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