One of the most transformative plastic surgery procedures is the tummy tuck. It can help transform a person’s body back to being trim and toned following significant weight loss or pregnancy. This procedure can be done of two ways: a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. Most surgeons recommend the option that’s less invasive and most effective but still coincides with the patient’s goals. Today, we’ll take a look at the differences between a mini tuck and a standard (full) tummy tuck.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a cosmetic form of plastic surgery used to improve the abdomen’s appearance. It’s also known as an abdominoplasty. During the procedure, the surgeon removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal area. Furthermore, the doctor usually tightens connective tissue in the abdomen with sutures. Then the remaining skin is repositioned to create a look that’s toned and firm.
Most people begin looking at tummy tucks to remove excess skin or fat from the area around the belly button. Or if, for example, they have a weakened lower abdominal wall. The bottom line is a tummy tuck is perfect for anyone looking to increase their self-esteem and body image.
Why get a Tummy Tuck?
There are several reasons one may want a tummy tuck. As we mentioned, it’s great for people who have excess fat or skin. However, it’s also perfect for when the skin has lost elasticity, or the connective tissue within the abdominal region is weak. Other reasons include:
- Significant fluctuations in weight
Another common reason for tummy tucks is stretch marks. However, they must be present below the belly button because the tuck won’t correct them outside of this region. Additionally, plastic surgeons are great at incorporating the tummy tuck scar into previous C-section scars.
Women commonly combine a mini tuck with other contouring procedures such as breast augmentation. For women who have had fat removed via liposuction, a tummy tuck is the easiest way to eliminate the excess abdominal skin.
Mini Tummy Tuck vs. Tummy Tuck
A mini tuck and a standard tuck are both used to remove excess skin and fat while tightening muscles and creating a flatter abandonment. However, the two procedures do have differences.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tuck flattens and tightens the body under the belly button. So it isn’t used to address separated muscles or loose skin in the upper or middle abdomen. The mini tummy tuck procedure features a smaller incision than that of a full tummy tuck. Resulting in shorter healing times, the removal of less fat and skin, and a faster and more affordable tuck.
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck is used to tighten the muscles and skin covering the entire abdominal region. Both above and below the belly button. The procedure also repairs muscles that have separated in the upper and middle abdomen; these are the same muscles that strengthen with sit-ups, crutches, and leg lifts.
The incision created during the procedure is called a “bikini cut” and is low on the abdomen near the pubic region. It runs hip to hip as this helps the surgeon pull the skin down to tighten over the whole stomach. At times this can result in the creation of a new belly button and it can be combined with liposuction to remove the most fat possible. This procedure can also be used to rid the abdominal region or reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Which Procedure is Right for Me?
While the two types of tummy tucks may seem similar, they address different abdominal bulging variations and looseness. A full tuck is used for those looking to correct loose muscles and sagging skin on the entire abdominal region. Whereas a partial tummy tuck is for those whose lax muscles, loose skin, and fat deposits are located under the belly button.
Ultimately, the procedure used will depend on the patient’s goals and needs. If one’s concerns are limited to lax muscles and sagging skin below the belly button, then a mini tuck will work perfectly. However, if the person has muscles and skin that need correcting above the belly button, then a full tummy tuck is required.
The plastic surgeon will schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and goals and also allow you plenty of time to ask questions. The doctor will then complete a physical examination that they’ll use to create a plan of action they find to be the best approach.
What to Expect: The Procedure and Recovery
As we briefly mentioned, each procedure is unique as far as what the doctor does and how long it will take to recover. Here’s a look at what to expect with each type of tummy tuck:
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck uses local anesthesia and leaves behind no belly button scarring and a much smaller incision. Thus, the recovery time is shorter, so usually, less than a week off work does the trick. The patient may find that they feel some tightness and discomfort in their abdomen following the procedure, and this tightness can act as an appetite suppressant. So, further weight loss is possible.
After the healing time is over, the person will notice that their clothes fit better, and their stomach is more toned and slim.
Full Tummy Tuck
On the other hand, a full tummy tuck requires general anesthesia, and doctors recommend at least one full week off of work. The surgeon will create a hip-to-hip incision and possibly do some liposuction. The good news is that the scar falls below the belly button and bikini line, so it will not be noticeable. Following the procedure, most patients feel discomfort and abdominal tightness for several weeks. Once the healing process is complete, the person will have the same benefits – a slimmer, toned stomach and better-fitting clothes.
In the end, a tummy tuck can be a great choice when looking to get rid of sagging skin and extra fat. While there are differences between a mini tummy tuck and a full tuck, the results are generally the same. So, regardless of which method you choose, you’ll be on your way to a fab midsection that you’ll love to show off!
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Original infographic via newlooknewlife.com, content updated April 2021