When you have a tummy tuck, the surgeon will remove excess skin and fat from your abdomen. The surgery also tightens muscles and weakens tissues under the skin. Most people who have this procedure do it to improve their appearance or to improve their self-esteem.
Tummy Tuck Cost And Recovery
The cost of Tummy Tuck Surgery varies greatly depending on factors such as:
- The severity of your condition (how much weight loss you have had)
- How long it has been since your last child was born
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Mini Tummy Tuck Cost And Recovery
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.
mini tummy tuck scar
How to Minimize or Remove Tummy Tuck Scarring
- Before your tummy tuck
- After your tummy tuck
- If you still experience scarring
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It’s a two-part process
If you’re getting a tummy tuck, you can expect to have a scar. However, there are steps you can take to reduce its visibility. What you do before your surgery is just as important as — if not more important than — what you do in recovery.
Here’s what you should keep in mind ahead of your surgery, what to watch for afterward, and what your options for scar removal are.
What you can do before your tummy tuck
When selecting a surgeon, it’s important that you look at their portfolio. This will give you a frame of reference for their skillset and typical results. You’ll want to choose someone who has proven themselves as a reputable surgeon and with whom you feel comfortable.
Before your surgery, talk with your surgeon about the scarring. You can bring up any specific concerns you may have and determine what your scar is expected to look like. Depending on your individual surgery, you may have a V- or U-shaped scar.
Bring underwear or bikini bottoms to your surgical planning appointment so you can get a clear idea of where the scarring will be in relation to your panty line.
You should also completely stop smoking for at least six weeks before your surgery. This will help to reduce complications.
What you can do after your tummy tuck
It’s extremely important that you follow all of the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon.
Some general guidelines include:
- Try to walk as soon as possible after your surgery. This reduces swelling and the risk of blood clots.
- Continue to refrain from smoking for at least six weeks.
- Follow a healthy diet. Include plenty of liquids, fresh fruit, vegetables.
- Refrain from lifting heavy items and avoid any strenuous activity for at least six weeks.
- Avoid any activity that stretches, bends, or causes you to put pressure on your abdomen.
- Avoid sexual activity for three weeks after your surgery.
Apply topical vitamin E
Some research suggests that using vitamin E topically can improve the appearance of scars. It can also help to keep your scar moisturized.
Be sure to use 100 percent pure vitamin E oil. You should apply it to your scar at least once a day for the first couple of months. You can also use this as a chance to massage the scar tissue once it has healed.
If you experience any type of skin irritation or allergic reaction, discontinue use.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
It’s important to use sunscreen on your scar for at least a year after your surgery. If you can, it’s best to avoid sunning the area.
Scars are made of new skin and react differently to the sun than normal skin. Using sunscreen will prevent a scar from becoming darker than the surrounding skin.
If you can, use a formula that’s made specifically for scars. You should also use something that’s SPF 30 or higher.
A few popular options include:
- Mederma Scar Cream
- Professional Sunscreen for Scars
- Bioderma Photoderm LASER SPF50+ Cream
- ScarScreen SPF 30
Watch for signs of infection
It’s important to clean your incision daily. Not only will keeping your scar clean and healthy reduce its appearance, it will also reduce your risk of infection.
See your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- excessive bleeding along the incision line
- increased or severe swelling, bruising, or redness that isn’t getting better
- severe pain that isn’t relieved by medication
- yellowish or greenish drainage from the incision
- any discharge that has an unpleasant odor
- loss of feeling or motion
- oral temperature over 100.4°F (38°C)
- fever or chills
What you can do if you still experience scarring
Your scar will be mostly healed after about 12 weeks, but it can take up to a year for it to fully heal. You may want to wait until it has healed to decide if you want to undergo any surgical procedures that will minimize its appearance.
These methods won’t be able to completely remove the scar, but they can help to improve its size, color, and texture.
Steroid applications and injections
You may choose to use steroid applications or injections to get rid of raised, thick, or red scars. These treatments may be used at the time of surgery for scar prevention or four weeks after surgery for correction.
The cost will depend on the size and severity of the scar. It’s usually a few hundred dollars per treatment.
Laser treatments are also available. Vascular lasers collapse the tiny blood vessels on the surface of the skin that cause redness. Laser surfacing is one of the best options to improve the texture and color of scars. This technology can resurface the skin. Scarred skin is replaced with healthy collagen which improves the overall texture and color.
Check with your doctor to see how long you should wait before beginning laser treatment. Laser treatments are expensive. If you go with this treatment, you’ll likely need two or more sessions over the course of a few months.
Surgical scar revision
Scar revision surgery is an option if you want your scar to be closer in tone and texture to your normal skin. Your doctor may use a combination of topical treatments, minimally invasive procedures, and surgical revision. You’ll still be able to see the scar, but it will be less noticeable.
As with laser treatment, you should check with your doctor to see how long you should wait after your tummy tuck to have scar revision surgery. They may advise you to wait at least a year so you can see how your scar has healed over time first.
Costs for this procedure vary.
Punch grafting is a technique where a small hole is made in skin using a small tool. The scar is removed and replaced with new skin from another place on your body, usually from behind your ear. You will still have a scar, but it will be smoother and less noticeable.
The bottom line
It’s important to take into account that a tummy tuck will leave you with a permanent scar. Think about why you are having a tummy tuck and what results you want to get from it. If the intended results outweigh the disadvantages of having a scar, then it will probably be worth it.
You can also think about the possibilities for scar reduction. Take steps before and after surgery to facilitate a healthy healing process so that the scarring is as minimal as possible.