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It’s Called a Panniculus, and You Can’t Remove It By Working Out

Woman doing sit ups and trying to lose belly pooch

You might know it by another name—a pooch, a pouch, or even the tasteless FUPA. But this bothersome bulge has a technical name: panniculus.

It’s defined as the apron of sagging skin and sometimes a bit of fat that hangs below the navel. Although many people, especially women, are prone to fat accumulation in this area, it can become quite significant after pregnancy or a significant weight loss. In these circumstances, the panniculus is mostly empty skin. When loose skin is to blame for a particular bulge or area of discomfort, no amount of working out or crash dieting will solve the problem. Instead, the only solution is removal via surgery.

Although the appearance of a panniculus can be discouraging, and its presence can make it difficult to find flattering clothing, it’s often about more than just aesthetics. In severe cases, the panniculus (or more specifically, the area beneath it) can become susceptible to skin irritation and infection.

In women who have been pregnant, a panniculus typically develops as the result of the natural expansion of the uterus. As the fetus grows, the uterus adjusts to accommodate it. When the uterus stretches, so do the muscles and skin surrounding it, leading to looseness in the lower abdomen. Over time, some excess fat can collect in the loose skin. However, the issue is generally limited to loose skin.

So what can be done? Like other areas of the body affected by loose skin (such as the breasts or face), the abdomen can be “lifted” using traditional tummy tuck methods here in Manhattan Beach. Many people don’t realize that the tummy tuck can do so much more than simply flatten the abdomen. Here at South Bay Plastic Surgeons, our physicians use advanced techniques to remove excess skin and fat while also strengthening the abdominal muscles. This is an important step because the core muscles often get weakened, or even damaged, by pregnancy. While upping your routine at the gym can help improve your muscle health, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the results until the excess skin and fat are removed.

If you’re interested in pursuing tummy tuck surgery to help address these issues, it’s important to understand the underlying cause of the problem. If you’re several months or years postnatal and you’ve generally resumed your previous healthy habits, but are still bothered by the “pooch,” you might be a good candidate for a tummy tuck. It’s also important that you’re in generally good shape and at or near your ideal weight before getting a tummy tuck. Remember, this isn’t a weight-loss procedure, but an option for refining your figure and doing what hours at the gym can’t. Take a look at some of our patient before-and-after photos or reach out to us if you still have questions.

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