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Int J Surg Investig. 2000;2(1):59-64.

Panniculectomy in morbidly obese gynecologic oncology patients.

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  • 1Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Department of Surgery, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8091, USA.



It is clear that morbid obesity presents a serious risk to women undergoing major intra-abdominal gynecologic surgery. Unfortunately, many gynecologic malignancies and benign conditions are best treated surgically. Thus, the gynecologic surgeon must choose an incision that permits adequate exposure with acceptables rates of complications. Panniculectomy as an approach to the peritoneal cavity is becoming increasingly popular. Recent reports suggest that panniculectomy is reasonably straightforward to perform, provides adequate exposure and is associated with an acceptable rate of manageable complications. In these circumstances, panniculectomy is not a cosmetic procedure, but medically necessary to perform indicated major gynecologic intra-abdominal surgery.


To present our experience with panniculectomy in morbidly obese women undergoing major intra-abdominal surgery on a gynecologic oncology service.


The medical records of 48 morbidly obese women (Quetelet Index > 40 kg/m2) with a large dependent pannus who underwent major intra-abdominal surgery via a panniculectomy between May 1990 and October 1999 were reviewed. Data regarding demographics, concomitant medical conditions, operative indications and results, and postoperative outcomes were abstracted for analysis.


The mean age was 54.9 years, the mean body mass was 130.2 kg, the mean height was 1.63 m and the mean Quetelet Index was 49.3 kg/m2. The mean operating time was 188 min and the mean estimated blood loss was 615 ml. Two patients suffered intraoperative urologic injuries which were repaired without sequelae; there were no bowel, vascular or neurologic injuries. Eighteen patients had a suprafascial wound breakdown (3 complete and 15 superficial) and 15 patients developed an infection. There were no documented deep venous thromboses, pulmonary emboli or fascial dehiscences. Two patients died in the postoperative period; one from a myocardial infarction on Day 2 and one from overwhelming sepsis on Day 76.


Morbid obesity is associated with substantial operative and postoperative risks. Panniculectomy provides operative exposure with acceptable risks of complications.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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