Those who have gone for a tummy tuck consultation with a plastic surgeon or done any research into the procedure have likely heard talk of a mini abdominoplasty versus a full one. It's important that patients educate themselves on these two distinct procedures in order to determine which is ultimately right for them.
Patients can likely infer from the name that a mini tummy tuck is smaller in size and scope than a full abdominoplasty. A mini tummy tuck will not result in the drastic weight reduction that some patients are looking for. Ideally, most surgeons agree that a mini tummy tuck is best for patients hoping to shed about 10 percent of their body weight.
The main target for a mini tummy tuck is the area below the navel. Typically, the surgeon will make an incision on the lower abdomen. This cut will stretch about the distance between the patient's thighs.
This is a big difference from a full tummy tuck, which are typically reserved for patients who want to lose about 20 percent of their body weight, of possibly more. The surgeon makes two incisions in this case. The first is along the lower abdomen, similar to the mini tummy tuck. However, this scar will extend all the way across the body in a U-shape, following the patient's hips. The second incision is a circular one around the patient's belly button. The mini tummy tuck leaves the navel region intact.
The tummy tuck scars that result from these two surgeries will be the main difference for those deciding between them. The incision made for a mini tummy tuck is similar to that used in many minor medical procedures and should be easily covered up by most clothing, including bikinis. On the other hand, those opting for a full abdominoplasty need to realize that some swimsuits will not fully mask the scars from their surgery, especially those that would normally show the belly button.
In both cases, the general goal is the same – removing fat from the body and tightening the muscles. A patient who undergoes a full abdominoplasty will see essentially their entire belly region transformed. The mini tummy tuck, on the other hand, is a small tightening of the region just below the navel.
In general, patients who opt for a mini tummy tuck will also have a shorter recovery time than those getting a full abdominoplasty. This varies from patient to patient, but a mini tummy tuck recipient will likely be back to work in about two weeks, while more extensive surgeries could result in a full month out of commission.