Patients considering abdominal contouring often ask about a mini tummy tuck.  A mini tummy tuck is one type of tummy tuck surgery. By name alone it may sound more appealing to many patients.  It is important to understand what a mini tummy tuck involves to appreciate what aesthetic goals it may achieve.  So, what is a mini tummy tuck exactly and who is an appropriate candidate?

A mini tummy tuck is a modified version of the standard abdominoplasty.  Surgery is limited to the lower abdomen.  It is unable to address an underlying muscle separation (the so-called rectus diastasis) or excess skin or soft tissue above the level of the belly button.

Here are 3 key differences between a mini and standard tummy tuck:

  • A mini tummy tuck is less extensive

Surgery is limited to the lower abdomen below the level of the belly button.  The dissection plane is less extensive than for a standard tummy tuck, which involves undermining the abdominal soft tissues to the upper abdomen following the rib cage margin.   The risk of developing a fluid collection (seroma) following a mini vs. standard abdominoplasty is also lower since surgery is less invasive.

  • There is less scarring from a mini tummy tuck

The transverse scar of the lower abdomen is shorter following a mini vs. standard tummy tuck.  A mini tummy tuck may be an option for athletic and toned women following pregnancies who present with redundant skin and minimal soft tissue limited to the lower abdomen, which is unresponsive to diet and exercise.  Since the scar is shorter, this limits how much redundant skin may be removed by a mini tummy tuck.  Another advantage is that no additional scarring is placed around the belly button.

  • A mini tummy tuck may be less painful

The rectus muscles are not tightened during a mini tummy tuck.  The most appropriate candidate for this surgery generally presents with a mild rectus diastasis.  Since a mini tummy tuck does not operate above the level of the belly button, any muscle gapping may not be corrected above this level.  If a muscle repair is performed only below the level of the belly button, the appearance may be quite unnatural and is generally not recommended.  The muscle plication is often the most sensitive part of tummy tuck surgery given the nerve supply of the rectus sheath (outer layer of the muscles).  A mini abdominoplasty may therefore be less painful than the standard technique.

  • Recovery time is often shorter

Following a standard abdominoplasty, it is recommended to refrain from exercise and strenuous activity for six weeks to lower risk of healing complications, particularly at the muscle repair site.  Given that a mini tummy tuck is less extensive and that a rectus plication is not performed, recovery time may be shorter.  Exercise may be gently resumed at one month post-operatively.

Please contact us if considering a tummy tuck in the Toronto area.   Dr. Power will give recommendations regarding the most appropriate surgical technique based on your clinical appearance and goals.

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