Q&A: Can a tummy tuck remove my tummy apron and post herpetic pain?

Ask A Doctor Question: 

I had shingles in the crease under my tummy. Now at age 70 the post herpetic area is covered by my tummy apron and causes increased pain in that area. I'm 5'3" 185 lbs. Can a Tummy Tuck remove the apron and post herpetic pain.

- Joy


Remus Repta, MD -

Hello Joy,
Sorry to hear about your discomfort.  Yes, the excess skin and soft tissue that makes part of the apron of your abdomen where the pain is can be removed by either a tummy tuck or a panniculectomy.  The difference between the two is primarily in the extent of the surgery and result.  A panicculectomy would be less cost, less downtime, but also provide no rejuvenation to the abdomen above the belly button.  If you have any health concerns and are primarily interested in removing the area of the abdomen that hangs and folds over, a panniculectomy may be for you.

--Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale, AZ


Lane F. Smith, MD -

Thank you for the question.  Shingles is a virus that lives dormant in a single sensory ganglion(nerve cell cluster)switching from a latent or dormant phase to active phase in the nerves of your body.  Typically, this disease is exacerbated by stress  and your immunity wearing down.  There is no way to eliminate the disease from removing the skin because the nerve clusters are deep within your body where the virus sleeps.  The only solution for shingles is maintaining a healthy, relaxed lifestyle.  Shingles will always present more active in the abdominal area then elsewhere on your body and there is no plastic surgical procedure that can assist with resolution of the symptoms.  Maintain a well balanced diet and get plenty of exercise and that should help to minimize breakouts.  There is no cure for the virus at this time.

--Lane F. Smith, MD
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