You'd love a flatter tummy, but no matter how much you diet or exercise, some skin and muscles just aren't going to snap back like it was before having babies. You might even be thinking that the area between your belly button and pubic area could use some surgical intervention but you're not quite sure if you need a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck.
The term “mini” tuck or "tiny" tuck can be confusing for many patients and surgeons alike and can result in a miscommunication of expectations and desired outcomes in a plastic surgery consultation.
To properly understand the difference between types of abdominoplasty procedures, it's helpful to understand the differences between a normal or "standard" tummy tuck and the unique factors around a mini tummy tuck.
What Is a Standard Tummy Tuck?
In a standard abdominoplasty, your plastic surgeon will place incisions at the lower abdominal crease (hip bone to hip bone) and above the belly button. Your plastic surgeon will lift up the skin and fat to repair stretched abdominal muscles, a surgical technique called rectus plication. Stretched excess skin and fat is removed, in most cases including stretch marks, the two sides are closed.
In a standard abdominoplasty, the belly button remains attached to the underlying muscle wall and brought back through the skin using an oval incision. In most cases, plastic surgeons will combine liposuction to reduce excess fat at the upper abdomen, love handles, and bra bulge, to contour the midsection while producing a flat abdomen and hourglass shape to their overall figure. This is called liposuction 360.
What is A Mini Tummy Tuck?
A mini abdominoplasty is designed to tighten the skin located between belly button and pubic area. It's less invasive than a traditional or standard abdominoplasty since it mainly involves skin removal.
Who is a Candidate for A Tiny Tummy Tuck Procedure?
Ideal patients for a Tiny Tuck will by definition will be smaller-framed, in a healthy weight range, and have some loose skin and fat (think pregnancy pooch) around their lower abdomen. They often have little to no abdominal muscle separation (rectus diastasis), and have smaller pockets of fat stored in their flanks or waist.
In a tiny abdominoplasty, some of the steps taken in a standard tuck are eliminated as outlined below:
Tiny Tuck Scars
A mini tummy tuck incision will typically be shorter incision (just a few inches) and placed in between the hip bones, similar to a cesarean section scar The amount of extra skin and fat removed is significantly less than a traditional abdominoplasty. In plastic surgery, the tiny tummy tuck is often referred to as a “skin only” procedure because of the small amounts of fat that needs to be removed to re-contour and shape the abs. The discreet incision is easily concealed by underwear and most swimsuits.
Muscle Repair With A Mini Tummy Tuck
Another factor that lends itself to a faster recovery time with a mini tuck is that in most cases, candidates for a mini tuck do not need abdominal muscle repair. Diastasis Recti affects the full abdominal area, and women who have significant muscle separation should consider a full tummy tuck, rather than a mini.
What About My Belly Button?
More often than not, the removal of loose skin won’t extend above the belly button in a mini tummy tuck. In these cases, the belly button can be “floated” by repositioning it before finishing the procedure. This avoids placing a scar around the belly button and altogether eliminates the possibility of anyone knowing you had cosmetic surgery.
In other cases, when the belly button requires aesthetic refining, it is treated with the standard umbilical incision, and during the inset, the original scar is closed as a small vertical scar located on the lower abdomen.
It is important to discuss treatment of your belly button with your board-certified plastic surgeon to learn which method will give you the prettiest, most natural-looking result.
Will I need Liposuction With A Mini-Tuck?
Most mini tummy tucks won’t include liposuction of the flanks or love handles. However, in some cases, liposuction can be performed, depending on the goals, expectations, and unique anatomy of the patient.
Are The Results Of A Mini Tuck Permanent?
Generally speaking, the results of a mini tuck are permanent, provided you maintain your look by eating right, maintaining your ideal weight, and regular exercise. It's always good to know for certain that you are finished having children too.
Which Tuck is Right For Me?
In summary, a standard or full abdominoplasty and the “mini” tummy tuck address varying degrees of skin laxity and abdominal muscle bulging. While a full tummy tuck will address Diastasis Recti and greater amounts of loose, stretched skin, a mini or "tiny" tuck has less downtime and addresses skin laxity at the lower abdominal area only. Both procedures give similar results: a flat abdomen and body contouring at the waistline
Learn More in Your Tummy Tuck Consultation With A Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
During your abdominoplasty consultation with me, we'll review your unique anatomy and goals to craft a plan that best suits your vision for body you want, both in the short-term and long-term. If you're ready to discover what's possibly for you, I'd be happy to see you in office or online for a complimentary cosmetic consultation.