What Is the Difference Between a Mini-Tummy Tuck and a Full Tummy Tuck?

What Is the Difference Between a Mini-Tummy Tuck and a Full Tummy Tuck? | Austin, TX

A mini-tummy tuck, or mini-abdominoplasty, is a deceptive plastic surgery term that often confuses patients. In this era of minimally invasive and non-invasive body contouring procedures, patients are attracted to the thought of a smaller and less invasive procedure. A mini-tummy tuck is typically a buzz word for many patients seeking body contouring, but only about 20% of tummy tuck patients are good candidates for the procedure.

  • A mini-tummy tuck is a powerful abdominal contouring procedure when performed in the properly selected patient.

The “mini” term is often related to a shorter incision and less scar burden. In reality the scar may be just as long as a full tummy tuck and the muscle tightening just as extensive.

The main difference in a mini and full tummy tuck is the amount of skin tightening above the belly button, and the need for an incision around the belly button to re-site it.

It is important to differentiate a candidate for a mini-tummy tuck from a full tummy tuck because it is difficult to convert a mini-tummy tuck patient to a full tummy tuck after the mini procedure is performed.

A mini-tummy tuck is designed for a patient with limited skin laxity and excess relegated to well below the belly button. Liposuction and muscle tightening is similar to a full abdominoplasty. The incision for a mini tummy tuck can extend out to the hip and is made long enough to eliminate the excess skin. Small amounts of excess skin above the belly button can be eliminated with an umbilical float procedure, which re-positions the belly button about 1 to 2 cm lower in height.

Dr. Trussler designs the incision pattern is made in a U to M fashion to help recruit the outer abdominal skin in an oblique direction to provide a narrow, contoured waist line. The incision is placed low along the pubis, which will incorporate most C-section scars. A 10 cm distant at a minimum is left from belly button to incision in a mini-tummy tuck.

The umbilical (belly button) stalk is often transected making repair of umbilical hernias straightforward. The muscle spread or diastasis recti can be repaired in its entirety through the lower abdominal incision with two layers of permanent sutures.

  • Dr. Trussler uses specially designed retractors for this part of the procedure to help maintain the blood supply to the lower abdominal skin.

Liposuction can be applied safely to the abdomen to help reduce the thickness of the abdominal tissue, contour and shape the abdomen, as well as release the skin prior to removal. This discontinuous undermining is used in both a mini and a full tummy tuck which helps to maintain the blood supply to the abdominal skin. This lipo-abdominoplasty technique improves the healing potential and decreases the need for drains. Only one drain is typically used in a mini tummy tuck and may be left in place for 2 to 4 days, as compared to two drains in a full tummy tuck.

Two to three layers of sutures are used to close all abdominoplasty incisions and with proper technique, standing upright is possible in 4 days.

An abdominal binder is used to help support the abdomen in all diastasis repairs, to allow the abdominal wall and muscle to heal without external forces. Recovery is similar to a tummy tuck with 2-3 week return to cardio and 6 weeks to return to full activity.

  • A mini-tummy tuck and full tummy tuck are very similar procedures with similar recovery but patient selection is vital. It is important to differentiate candidates for both procedures based on their abdominal anatomy and skin distribution, not on patient choice.

Andrew P. Trussler MD is an experienced plastic surgeon in Austin Texas with advanced training in cosmetic body contouring surgery including mini and full tummy tucks.

Dr. Trussler’s Austin plastic surgery office can help guide you in correcting commonly seen cosmetic body contouring issues. A tummy tuck is a plastic surgery procedure in Austin Texas that should be a smooth and straight-forward process that will help improve appearance and self confidence.

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