Beginners Guide to the Mini Tummy Tuck

Increasingly popular against the full tummy tuck operations (abdominoplasty), the mini tummy tuck aims for a similar effect of flattening and toning the abdomen. The mini tummy tuck uses a shorter incision (generally tummy tucks favour lateral incisions across the bikini line) and does not reposition the navel.

The mini tummy tuck is popular for patients opting to remove excess fatty tissue between the navel and the pubic bone. Patients typically include women who have had children; older people and those with mild rather than severe weight fluctuations.

Broadly speaking a successful surgical result would be a firmer, flatter abdomen with greater elasticity. Stretch marks in the lower abdomen below the navel and above the pubic bone may also improve. Cosmetic surgeons commonly state the goal is to raise self-confidence through creating more pleasing abdominal contours.

The Procedure

Each surgery will be different for each patient, so the following guide is illustrative of commonly used techniques. The procedure generally requires less theatre time than the full abdominoplasty, perhaps saving an hour of surgery. General anaesthesia is most popular, although local may be possible required. 1 incision is made, approximately 10-15cm in length, horizontally near the pubic bone. Surgeons use the incision to remove excess skin and fatty tissue, sometimes in combination with liposuction. Damaged muscles lining the abdominal wall can also be surgically strengthened during the procedure. An example is stretching of the muscles through childbirth, which the cosmetic surgeon may be able to repair by suturing gaps in muscle layers.

The Recovery

Surgeons commonly insert drainage tubes during the operation, to drain away blood and serum both during it and for the recovery period. Dissolving sutures are used around tummies and the belly button to close surgical wounds. After the operation, the abdomen is bandaged and anti-biotic and pain relief medication may be required. A medical support garment similar to a corset is also worn during the recovery weeks. 

Some important considerations

Although incisions are smaller and the operation takes less time:

– results vary from patient to patient

– this is a ‘major’ operation rather than a quick procedure – risks of complication should reduce with qualified, specialised, ethical and experienced surgeons

– risks of complications could never be fully eliminated in any type of surgery

– risks may increase for patients who smoke

– aftercare is vital and lengthy

DISCLAIMER: NONE of this article is a substitute for professional medical advice and/or treatment under any circumstances.