Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck is ideal for patients who have a small to moderate amount of excess skin, fat, and muscle bulging located below the level of the belly button. During this procedure, access to the abdominal wall is gained through a very small incision made low on the abdominal wall a few centimeters above the pubic hair. Excess skin is removed and the abdominal muscles below the belly button are tightened under direct visualization. The abdominal muscles above the belly button can also be tightened in some instances with the use of an endoscope and camera. Dr. Atul also performs liposuction of the upper abdominal wall and the pubic area at the time of a mini tummy tuck to provide a uniform abdominal wall contour
During a mini tummy tuck the belly button is usually not repositioned. If the belly button is repositioned it is moved slightly lower on the abdomen but is not reshaped. Drains are usually avoided with the mini tummy tuck and patients are left with a small scar on the lower abdomen and no scar around the belly button as with a standard tummy tuck.
The ideal candidate for a mini tummy tuck is one who is healthy, has been at a stable weight for at least six to twelve months, is near his/her ideal body weight, does not plan on future pregnancies, and has a moderate amount of excess abdominal skin, fat, and muscle bulging located only below the belly button.
Patients who are still in the process of losing weight or may want to become pregnant in the future should postpone a tummy tuck until after having reached their target weight and have finished growing their family. Finally, patients with a history of smoking, heart disease, stroke, or blood clots may not be candidates for this surgery or, at the very least, may need to undergo preoperative medical clearance and smoking cessation.
Mini tummy tuck surgery usually takes about three hours and is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Immediately after surgery, patients are placed in compression garments that must be worn for six weeks to help support and shape the healing tissues. If drains are placed, they are generally removed in the office in seven to ten days when they are putting out less than 30 ml per day. Recovery times following a mini tummy tuck vary, but patients are generally able to return to work in one to two weeks, light exercise in three to four weeks, and full recovery and exercise in five to six weeks. Antibiotics and pain medicines are prescribed following the surgery.
The majority of patients undergoing a mini tummy tuck surgery love their new body and can't wait to get back into their "skinny jeans" or a new swimming suit. Despite the high patient satisfaction rate, like every cosmetic and plastic surgery, there are well-known risks associated with mini tummy tuck surgery.
The most serious complications of tummy tucks are fortunately rare and include blood clots of the leg (approximately 1% of patients) and blood clots of the lungs (less that 1% of patients). Patients with a history of blood clots, clotting disorders, cancer, spontaneous miscarriages, pregnancy within the last three months, age over forty, and patients taking birth control pills are at increased risk of blood clots following tummy tuck and should discuss this with the surgeon prior to surgery.
Other minor complications specific to mini tummy tuck surgery include small areas of wound breakdown, fluid collections under the skin, bulging of the upper abdominal wall, and a change in shape of the belly button. Dr. Atul examines all of his patients within one to two days after surgery so that in the rare chance there is a complication, it can be diagnosed and addressed appropriately.