If you are unsatisfied with the amount of fat and skin around your abdominal area, you may be considering an abdominoplasty, otherwise known as tummy tuck surgery. This popular procedure allows patients to achieve a flatter stomach with smoother curves, eliminating the frustration that comes from loose or sagging skin.

With a traditional tummy tuck, surgeons can remove excess tissue from within and around the abdominal area, while tightening the abdominal muscles. However, a full tummy tuck may be an unnecessary procedure for those with loose tissue in only a small area. Instead, a mini tummy tuck may produce satisfying results without extensive tissue damage and recovery time. We therefore offer the mini tummy tuck technique to our Gainesville patients who wish to benefit from smoother abdominal curves without an overly invasive procedure. 

A Full vs. Mini Tummy Tuck

When deciding which technique is best for you, it’s important to first understand the capabilities and limitations of each surgical option. For patients seeking a tummy tuck, the full procedure is most often needed. This technique is able to address excess fat and skin both above and below the navel, in the general area people typically refer to as the stomach. This allows a moderate amount of tissue to be removed and contoured, and the abdominal muscles can be tightened along the upper abdomen as well.

A mini tummy tuck, on the other hand, is limited to the lower abdomen below the navel. It can remove and contour excess tissue that is confined to this area, and can tighten the abdominal muscles up near the navel. Because the surgical area is smaller, patients enjoy an easier and shorter recovery. The incisions and subsequent scars are also far less noticeable. Essentially, the results are limited to a smaller area of the abdomen, but so is the surgery and its post-operative effects. 

Candidates for a Mini Tummy Tuck

In most circumstances, patients are clearly better off with one specific tummy tuck technique. Although some patients may wish to receive one technique over another, the surgery is largely dependent on the patient’s needs and the doctor’s recommendation. Patients with a large amount of excess skin, for example, would not realistically benefit from a mini tummy tuck, as the results would look inconsistent or incomplete. Likewise, patients with a small pocket of excess tissue would suffer unneeded tissue damage by undergoing a full tummy tuck procedure.

The best candidates for a mini tummy tuck are those who are looking to only contour the lower portion of their abdomen and who are in good general health. Some examples of candidates include women who have retained stubborn pockets of tissue after pregnancy, or patients who have loose skin after moderate weight loss. Like any body contouring surgery, a mini tummy tuck requires that patients have few or no surgical risks such as systemic disease or bleeding complications. Speak with your doctor for a more personalized and detailed explanation of your own candidacy. 

Mini Tummy Tuck Surgery

If you are deemed a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck, your doctor will perform the following steps during surgery:

  • General anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and sedation will be used prior to surgery, to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
  • Once you are anesthetized, a small incision will be made below the navel, along the waistline. Unlike a full tummy tuck, this incision will be limited to the center of the lower abdomen, and will not extend all the way to the hips. 
  • If a substantial amount of fat is present, liposuction will be used to first remove and contour the fat prior to skin excision.
  • Excess skin will be excised from the area, and remaining skin will be pulled taut over the incision.
  • The incision will be sutured shut, and the skin will be left to heal in place over the newly contoured area.

After surgery, patients benefit from less dramatic side effects than with a full tummy tuck. Bruising, swelling, and discomfort will still be present, although these effects will begin to noticeably improve within seven to 10 days, at which time most patients feel comfortable returning to work and non-strenuous daily activities. 

Is a Mini Tummy Tuck Right for You?

To find out if a mini tummy tuck is right for you, contact Gaines Plastic Surgery today.