All patients, and all plastic surgeons for that matter, are always looking for procedures that are less invasive with minimal scarring but produce great results. We, as physicians, should never stop striving for the best technique which can provide the desired results with less scarring, but we also need to know when the bigger procedure is right for the patient. Mini tummy tucks burst on the scene several years ago and, while I admit that there are patients who will benefit from a mini tummy tuck, most people will see better results with a full abdominoplasty/tummy tuck.
A mini tummy tuck, or partial abdominoplasty, is less invasive and requires a smaller incision than a full abdominoplasty. The incision is similar to that of a C-Section. The best candidate is someone who is close to their ideal body weight but does have some loose skin between the navel and pelvic bone. Some muscle tightening can be performed below the navel and liposuction can be added above the navel and to the flanks to smooth bulges out. The recovery is much shorter, as is the time to return to work and exercise.
Unfortunately, most people are not ideal candidates for a mini tummy tuck. Most people have loose skin as well as weak abdominal muscles both above and below the belly button. The loose skin from pregnancy and weight loss is rarely limited to a small area below the navel. It usually extends from hip to hip so a smaller incision may leave you with excess skin over the hips. The incision for a full tummy tuck does extend to the hips, but the results are usually more dramatic when compared to the mini. As with a mini tuck, liposuction can be used at the flanks to help smooth out any remaining bulges. The recovery for a full tuck is longer, as is the return to exercise, but most find the results are worth the wait.
It is very important that you and your surgeon have a good discussion about what your goals are for the surgery. Show your surgeon exactly the areas you hope to improve. Hopefully, he will give you the pros and cons of mini vs. full tummy tuck and which procedure you would be best suited for. Believe me, I totally understand that “less is more”, but sometimes “more is better!”
I have numerous years of experience with all variations of abdominoplasty. We would be happy to discuss the different options with you, so please contact us if you have questions!
All the best,