A tummy tuck is often the first plastic surgery procedure that comes to mind when it comes to trimming and toning the belly area. A tummy tuck can require some downtime that results in some women not being able to have this surgery because they are not able to find the right window of opportunity.
The mini tummy tuck, also called a partial abdominoplasty, is a great alternative procedure for patients who prefer a quicker recovery and a smaller scar. However, a mini tummy tuck is not always an option for everyone.
What is a Mini Tummy Tuck?
A full tummy tuck flattens and tightens the abdomen by creating a bikini-cut incision from hip to hip. This procedure is for those who have a lot of extra skin below and above the belly button. In contrast, a mini tummy tuck involves the removal of some excess skin and unwanted fat concentrated only below the navel. It creates a shorter incision in comparison to a full tummy tuck, allowing you to recover more quickly.
The mini tummy tuck procedure is designed for people with a relatively flat upper and midsection who need only minimal corrections to their abdomen. If you feel that a full tummy tuck is too extensive for your needs, you may consider a mini tummy tuck as it can offer the following benefits:
- Faster procedure
- Less invasive
- Removes fat efficiently
- Shorter and more comfortable recovery
While the benefits may certainly make the mini tummy tuck a more tempting procedure to opt for, there are only certain patients who would qualify for this approach. It is better to undergo a mini tummy tuck procedure if you are already within your ideal body weight and you do not have a significant amount of loose skin around the belly (as the conventional tummy tuck or a more extensive body lift is more suited for this problem). In general a history of smoking, having multiple health problems, and taking blood thinning medication may make you ineligible for a tummy tuck procedure.
What Happens During a Mini Tummy Tuck Procedure?
Performed under general anesthesia, a mini tummy tuck procedure usually takes between 1 to 3 hours. Your surgeon will begin by making a small incision in the bikini line. Through this incision some of the excess skin and fatty tissue in the lower abdominal region is removed. The muscles may also be tightened in the lower abdominal region. In some cases, liposuction may be added to remove additional fat in order to further improve the contour of the abdomen. Most patients will have to rest for a while after surgery before being sent home. Remember to have someone drive you home from the clinic as you will not be able to do so.
Recovery After a Mini Tummy Tuck
As this is a less invasive surgical procedure, the recovery period for a mini tummy tuck is much shorter than a full tummy tuck. You will have to wear a snug-fitting compression garment to help with the swelling after the procedure. You may need to maintain your midsection at an angle for 2 weeks, but you should be able to stand up straight after this period.
Continue wearing your compression garment for about 4 weeks, as this will help with post-surgical swelling and can help to conform your abdominal skin to your desired shape. You can perform (and we encourage) light exercises, such as walking, immediately after surgery. This can improve your blood circulation and can speed up your recovery. If your job does not involve straining your abdominal area, you can return to work within a week after your procedure. But keep avoiding strenuous physical activities in the several weeks to come.
A tummy tuck can change the shape and size of your midsection almost immediately after the procedure. And the results will continue to improve as you go through the recovery process. Maintaining a balanced diet and consistent weight is recommended in order to maintain the results.
How Do I Know if a Mini Tummy Tuck is for Me?
You are qualified for a tummy tuck procedure if you are in good health and are at a stable weight. A full vs a mini tummy tuck will really depend on the specific area you wish to improve. If loose skin and excess fat are confined to areas below your belly button, you can certainly opt for a mini tuck.
But if you want to improve and tighten the muscles both above and below your belly button, then a full tummy is a more suitable procedure to address these areas. You can always ask your surgeon which type of tummy tuck is right for you.