Fleur-de-lis Panniculectomy After Bariatric Surgery: Our Experience

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Plastic surgeons are faced with increasing numbers of patients presenting for insurance-covered skin excision procedures following bariatric surgery. Panniculectomy for symptomatic relief of rashes is commonly performed, but an isolated infraumbilical amputation-type panniculectomy is a highly unaesthetic procedure, leaving many patients deeply dissatisfied. It may be also fraught with complications due to large incisions and potential for dead-space. In these patients, many surgeons avoid the fleur-de-lis panniculectomy, despite the body contour aesthetic advantage, because of increased time, more scarring, and a perceived increase in complications.


This is a retrospective chart review of 130 consecutive postbariatric surgery patients who had panniculectomy over a 2-year period at our institution.


A total of 30 patients underwent a traditional panniculectomy and 100 patients had a fleur-de-lis panniculectomy. Mean weight loss from bariatric surgery to panniculectomy was 58.2 kg, with an average body mass index (BMI) of 30. Fifty-seven patients had additional procedures performed at the time of panniculectomy. Twenty-two patients (17%) had complications, with 5 in the traditional group (17%) and 17 in the fleur-de-lis group (17%) (P = 1.0). Six males (40%) had more complications compared with 18 females (15.7%) (P = 0.034). Patients with BMI <30 had 10 complications compared with patients with BMI ≥30 had 15 complications.


There are many benefits of fleur-de-lis over traditional panniculectomy, even for medical necessity cases. There is limited undermining of tissue which minimizes/eliminates skin necrosis. Our experience with primarily fleur-de-lis panniculectomies shows a complication rate lower than most published data. Fleur-de-lis potentially creates a better symptom correction and cosmetic outcome by resecting maximal skin in both vertical and horizontal directions. These findings must be balanced against a potentially longer operation.

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