Thursday, November 05, 2015

With expanding and contracting waistlines, a new medical problem

With so many Americans (and Brits) being overweight or obese, the sight of our "panniculus" is not so uncommon any more. That's the name for the apron of skin and fat that hangs from our lower abdomen and covers, to varying degrees, our pubic hair, our genitals, or (in extreme cases) our thighs and knees. If you are part of the one-third of people who are not overweight, you should do a Google image search (but, perhaps, not while you are at work!) It's quite disturbing sometimes. It's also knows as a FUPA, which means “fat upper pubic area”.

It can be especially frustrating for the 'owner' of the panniculus if it has come about as a result of a recent pregnancy or if you've just lost a lot of weight. After all, you've worked hard to get your body back into shape, and now you're left with an unsightly flap of skin which can make it difficult to fit into clothing properly, or ride a bike comfortably, or attend to other life functions without some inconvenience.

The good news is that with the rising popularity of bariatric surgery, plastic surgeons are becoming more and more adept at post-weight-loss body contouring, including panniculectomy and abdominoplasty (which is different in that it also involves muscle tightening and belly button realignment). For Americans who do lose a lot of weight and would like this procedure done, the question then becomes: will the corrupt medical/insurance system actually pay for the surgery? I know a couple of people who have had to go abroad, where it's much cheaper, to get this "cosmetic" surgery done because their health insurance wouldn't cover it. Outrageous!


Unknown said...

Do you have any idea how much it might cost in the US versus abroad?

Chris said...

I don't know exactly, depends on the extent of the procedure of course, but it's like the difference between US$20,000 and $5,000, I think. Mexico or the Far East might be likely venues. With such large savings, compared to the cost of the procedure itself, airfare (even at $1,000 round trip) would be a bargain.