Liposuction and mini tummy tuck are two of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world. These surgeries can be done separately or together for a more dramatic effect. Both procedures are designed to help you achieve your desired body shape and look by removing fat, loose skin or excess skin that contributes to sagging, or skin that has been stretched out due to pregnancy or weight loss.
If you’re considering liposuction and mini tummy tuck, it’s important to understand what each procedure entails and how they can benefit your body.
Right here on Cosmeticsurgerytips, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on mini tummy tuck incision, mini tummy tuck before and after, mini tummy tuck after c section, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
Liposuction And Mini Tummy Tuck
When it comes to your belly, liposuction is not always as straight forward as it appears.
What’s more, with so many competing modalities of treatment claiming comparable results, I want to take this opportunity to clarify some of the misunderstanding and confusion about what can be achieved with liposuction surgery vs. liposuction surgery in combination with “Mini” Tummy Tuck vs “Full” Tummy Tuck.
Probably the most important concept that the patients interested in liposuction surgery need to understand is the difference between “subcutaneous” fat versus “visceral” fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat pouch below the skin but superficial to your abdominal muscle. Visceral fat is the fat stored in your gut deep to the muscle. Chances are if you eat healthy diet and have a regular work out routine, you will have your visceral fat under decent control. In contrast, no matter how good you are with your diet and work out regimen, you may not always be able to reduce the subcutaneous fat, and this is where liposuction plays an important role. This is the reason why even Aerobics instructor and Yoga instructors have little fat pouches in their belly and in their flank area. Liposuction has been offered traditionally to healthy patients with good eating habits and sound exercise regimen who simply wishes to better contour and trim down their belly by getting rid of those pesky subcutaneous fat. Ideally patients need these two qualities to have favorable results:
1. good skin elasticity (confirmed with pinch test)
2: enough subcutaneous fat (confirmed with pinch test),
You can easily tell if you are a good candidate for liposuction surgery simply by bending forward and pinching the subcutaneous fat layer superficial to your abdominal wall. If there is an adequate grab of at least one inch or more with body mass index (BMI) no greater than 30 and if the skin snaps back into place within 2 seconds, you will definitely be happy with the outcome as long as your surgeon is well versed in the art of liposuction. What’s more, with the advent of laser assisted Smart-Lipo, the elasticity of the skin can be further tightened with the laser at the same time the fat is being melted by the laser and suctioned out with the cannula.
Traditionally due to the elasticity issue, “general” cut-off age for liposuction alone has been around 45. However, this ability to enhance the elasticity using Smart-Lipo laser has allowed for us to offer liposuction to patients much older. Anecdotally my oldest patient was 67 years old with naturally good skin tone. With a little help tightening her skin using the Smart-Lipo laser, she achieved very satisfying result. So much so that a few month later, her older sister in early ‘70’s also underwent laser assisted Smart-lipo with similar satisfying result. Obviously, they were exceptional patients endowed genetically with great skin elasticity for their age, but if it wasn’t for the laser, I would have had second thought about just offering liposuctioning alone.
Another great advance has been the option of offering this surgery while the patients are awake using just Tumescent local anesthesia and oral sedation, allowing the procedure to be performed for the most part, as an “in and out” procedure with recovery in matter of days.Incredibly, within the end of the week, most patients notice significant improvement to their body contour, though just like any liposuction surgery it takes a few months for all the swelling to completely resolve.
Unfortunately, there are variable issues which makes a patient less than an ideal candidate, the most common one being stretch marks. Stretch marks are basically scars at the dermal level of your skin from sudden stretching of your skin, usually during your pregnancy. Chances are, if you are 5’. 2” or less and weigh less than 115 lbs, and suddenly gain over 40 lbs from pregnancy, you will have a high likely chance of acquiring a degree of stretch marks. Although stretch marks do improve with time, it will never completely disappear. The best laser option has been the 1540nm fractionated laser, FDA approved for improving the stretch mark scars. However after three to four repeated sessions, only 25% to 40% improvement is noted, which usually leaves patients wishing for a bit more improvement.
Enough patients are bothered by their stretch marks and very often, the associated loose, saggy skin which begins to hang over their bikini tops. As a result, many seek consultation with their Plastic surgeons. At this junction, some patients get lost in the shuffle and end up receiving the classic “full” tummy tuck. This is the most common type of tummy tuck which carries with it many consequences that patients are not always fully prepared for. It is a very comprehensive surgery which addresses the entire belly. It requires usually one incision in the lower abdomen as well as second circular incision around your belly button. This comprehensive surgery allows adequate skin removal from both the upper and lower abdomen as well as suture tightening of your weakened or separated abdominal wall muscle (diastasis recti), to achieve a more tight and toned midsection. It is truly a life altering procedure for patients with severe sagging of their skin resulting from major weight loss or severe weight fluctuation during multiple pregnancies as well as for those with persistent “mom pooch” from the weakened abdominal muscle wall that didn’t heal after pregnancy. But it also carries with it heavy consequences and road to long recovery:
1. Incision of the lower abdomen usually extends from hip bone to hip bone and chances are if you have thicker, darker skin, you will experience segments of hypertrophic scarring or even keloids requiring more close aftercare. Ultimately, it can take up to a year before the scar calms down to appear acceptable.
2. The second circular incision made around your belly button is done to reset your skin downwards to remove as much of the belly skin and the stretch marks as possible. In the process, your belly button is relocated into a new skin opening. Even though everyone has slightly different belly button, the circumferential suturing around the newly located belly button often renders it artificial appearing compared to your original belly button.
3. The worst part is that the recovery process in no longer in matter of days, but significantly longer. Expect to have moderate to severe pain and limited mobility for one to two weeks before you can return to your daily activities. Even then, no strenuous activities or core exercises are recommended for four to five weeks following surgery.
4: Finally you will require a drain for a few days to drain out the accumulating fluids. The post-operative swelling from “full” tummy tuck will be much greater compared to liposuction alone, and will also trigger generalized swelling to the rest of your body and face. Even after the initial global swelling has resolved, you belly will remain indurated (hardened) and swollen for many weeks to months requiring usually from six months up to a full year for all the swelling to resolve.
5. Unless adequate liposuctioning was done especially around the flank area during or prior to tummy tuck, you can end up with small but noticeable fat pocket jut behind where the incision ends in the hip area.
As an alternative, if your main issue is subcutaneous fat and stretch mark scars mainly below your belly button, my recommendation is comprehensive laser-assisted liposuction to contour out your belly combined with “Mini” Tummy Tuck, which removes an ellipse of the redundant and saggy skin containing the worst portion of the stretch mark scars. The incision usually takes advantage of an existing C-section scar, concomitantly improving the appearance of the original scar. Usually the incision is extended so the entire length becomes roughly double the origin C-section scar. If the patient doesn’t have existing C-section scar, incision will be designed in a similar fashion. Either way, the incisional scar almost never extends up to the hip bone and therefore is easily covered by most bikini wear. If the patient has significant weakening of the abdominal muscle wall with visible “Mom Pooch” the muscles are strengthened at this time. But in my practice, this is rarely the case as most of my patients retain relatively good abdominal muscle tone. The best part about “Mini” tuck is, there is no severe swelling of the belly lasting for months. Patients still need to be careful with the incisional scar for about a week, but within a few days, most patients can return to their daily routine similar to just undergoing liposuction surgery alone. This is a huge contrast to the traditional “Full” tummy tuck where the entire recovery time is significantly longer and painstaking in nature. Finally, patients are always relieved to hear that they can retain their own belly button as is.
In conclusion, Liposuction combined with “Mini” Tummy Tuck provides excellent contouring of the belly as well as improving most of the issues related to stretch mark scars and associated saggy skin with recovery period much closer to Liposuction than substantially longer recovery associated with “Full” Tummy Tuck. When you are ready to tackle this relative complex issue of tightening and toning your belly, weigh out (no pun intended) all your options and speak to an experienced Plastic Surgeon about which combination of procedure would be the best for you.
Mini Tummy Tuck Incision
- Mini tummy tucks tighten the area of the stomach between your belly button and pubic area.
- They’re most effective for people who are within their recommended weight range but have a little pooch — maybe from pregnancy or quick weight gain — that doesn’t seem to flatten with diet or exercise.
- Mini tummy tucks are typically considered safe.
- However, risks include infection, irregular scarring, or fluid accumulation under your skin.
- Mini tummy tucks are an in-office procedure that should only be done by a certified plastic surgeon.
- Recovery can take 6 weeks or more.
- A mini tummy tuck in the United States typically costs between $3,500 and $8,000.
- This cost depends on the surgeon and where you live.
- Mini tummy tucks are an effective way to flatten and tighten your lower stomach.
- The results are typically permanent.
What is a mini tummy tuck?
A mini tummy tuck is less invasive than a full tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty.
Mini tummy tucks target the area of your stomach under your belly button. They’re often effective for people who are within their recommended weight range but have extra skin or fat, sometimes called a pooch, that’s hard to get rid of with diet and exercise alone.
How much does a mini tummy tuck cost?
The price of a mini tummy tuck will vary depending on the surgeon you’re seeing and where you live.
Generally, a tummy tuck in the United States will fall somewhere between $3,500 and $8,000. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for a tummy tuck in 2019 was $6,092.
So, you may want to get several opinions to find a plastic surgeon who fits within your budget. Because it’s an elective cosmetic procedure, a mini tummy tuck won’t be covered by your insurance.
How does a mini tummy tuck work?
A mini tummy tuck flattens the lower abdomen and can help eliminate the pooch that often occurs in the lower belly.
During the procedure, the muscles in your lower abdomen may be sutured together, but this isn’t visible from the outside. Excess skin will be trimmed and laid flat.
In some cases, liposuction will be done to remove excess fat.
A mini tummy tuck may get rid of certain stretch marks, too. Whether or not your stretch marks will be removed really depends on their placement on your body and how much excess skin you have.
Diastasis recti, the separation of ab muscles, often occurs during pregnancy. It affects your full stomach above and below your belly button (think the six-pack muscles), so a full tummy tuck is a better course of action to correct this.
Procedure for a mini tummy tuck
During a mini tummy tuck procedure, an incision about 4 to 8 inches long will be made to your lower abdomen.
This is about the length of the average C-section scar. In fact, if you’ve had a C-section, they’ll likely use the same incision for a mini tummy tuck, although it may be longer.
The surgeon may tighten loose muscle and remove any excess skin, resulting in a flatter lower stomach. Results are best if you’re close to your original weight and not planning to get pregnant again.
Targeted areas for treatment
As you probably guessed from the name, a mini tummy tuck targets your tummy, specifically the lower part of your stomach between your belly button and pubic area.
Your belly button won’t be changed with a mini tummy tuck, whereas with a full abdominoplasty, it would change.
If you’re looking to flatten your entire stomach from the rib cage down, a full tummy tuck is likely the better option.
What to expect
You’ll likely wear an abdominal binder for several weeks to help support your abs as they heal.
You’ll see some results immediately, but you’ll see the full results once the swelling goes down, around 6 weeks.
Results should be permanent, barring weight gain or pregnancy.
When deciding whether the procedure is right for you and your body, it can be helpful to see before-and-after photos of real people who’ve had tummy tucks. Below you’ll find some before-and-after pictures.
Preparing for a mini tummy tuck
Days before your scheduled mini tummy tuck, you’ll likely need to get a blood panel to make sure you’re in good health.
You may also be told to:
- stop smoking
- limit alcohol
- refrain from taking anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin) and certain herbal supplements, which may worsen bleeding or prevent proper clotting
Mini tummy tuck vs. full tummy tuck
During a full tummy tuck, your doctor will put you under anesthesia. They’ll then make a horizontal incision above your pubic hairline.
If your muscles have stretched, they’ll be sewed together so they tighten. Sometimes liposuction will also be done to remove excess fat.
Then the skin will be pulled taut around your abdomen to create a flat stomach. Excess skin will be cut off. In some cases, a surgeon will reshape your belly button.
A full tummy tuck can better correct diastasis recti, a splitting of the ab muscles that often occurs during pregnancy.
The difference is that a mini tummy tuck is only performed on the lower abdomen, while a full tummy tuck is done on a larger area of the stomach.
How to find a provider
A mini tummy tuck should be performed only by a board-certified plastic surgeon — and if the price for the procedure seems too good to be true, it probably is.
You may want to meet with the surgeon beforehand to talk about your desired results and what to expect from the procedure, as well as to see before-and-after photos of real clients.
You can use the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ surgeon finder tool to find a list of board-certified plastic surgeons near you.