Mini-tummy tuck procedures are designed for patients with excess skin only below the belly button. Often times, these can be done under local anesthesia. After pregnancy, many women have excess skin both above and below the belly button. In this case, a full tummy tuck is the most viable option. However, if excess skin is limited to below the belly button, then a mini-tummy tuck is a great option. This procedure is less invasive and limited in scope but can be the perfect solution that offers a quicker recovery.
Good candidates for this procedure:
Patients whose muscles and skin have been stretched by multiple pregnancies and who want to tighten muscles and remove excess skin
- Patients with excess skin limited to the abdominal region below the belly button
What to expect: Consultation
All cosmetic consultations are complimentary and serve as a great opportunity to gain further insight by voicing your concerns and having questions answered. During the initial consultation, Dr. Hsu will ask some questions to get to know you and determine if you are a good candidate for a mini-tummy tuck.
Dr. Hsu will first ask you about your specific goals for the mini-tummy tuck, including the amount of location of skin that you would like to remove. He will also ask you about your general health history, including any existing medical problems, prior surgery, daily medications, allergies, and any smoking habits.
Dr. Hsu will then give you his assessment on whether you would be a good candidate for the procedure, and if so, how the surgical plan should be individualized for your anatomy. Since each patient's anatomy and surgical goals are different, you and Dr. Hsu will work together to reach optimal aesthetic results.
On the day of surgery, Dr. Hsu will meet you before surgery to make markings on the areas planned for surgery and answer any last minute questions you may have.
Mini-tummy tuck procedures are performed under local anesthesia for a duration of approximately two and a half hours in our office procedure room. Dr. Hsu will make an incision at the pubic hair line. If you have had a Caesarian section, the incision site will either be below or at the Caesarian section line. The incision is longer than the C-section scar, but it will be around the same area so that it will be placed as low as possible. This incision method helps the scar heal inconspicuously with the goal of hiding it beneath your underwear or bikini line.
Depending on the degree of excess skin, a wedge of skin in the shape of an ellipsis will be removed below the belly button. The remaining skin will be stretched down and tacked onto the incision site. Since Dr. Hsu will be removing the skin below the belly button, any stretch marks in the area of skin to be removed will be removed with it, and your original belly button will remain intact. Dr. Hsu will take as much skin as possible while making sure he has enough left over to close the incision. While many people believe pregnancy stretches only the skin, in reality, the muscle layer also has some laxity. Therefore, for most patients, Dr. Hsu will not only remove excess skin, but also pull the abdomen muscles to tighten them. At the end of the surgery, Dr. Hsu may place drains to remove excess fluids from the surgical area.
Recovery & Post-operative Instructions:
Following the surgery, Dr. Hsu will teach you how to take care of the drains. You will need to measure the amount of fluid that comes out of the drains every day. Once that amount drops below a certain level, Dr. Hsu will take them out. The vast majority of patients usually keep the tubes in for two weeks; however, this time frame may vary for each individual. For a few weeks after the surgery, you will also wear a compression garment to aid the healing process.
Most importantly, you should keep the surgical area dry until Dr. Hsu gives his approval to shower. To clean the rest of your body, you can sponge bathe for areas above the abdomen and bathe from the thighs down. Dr. Hsu usually uses dissolvable stitches for mini-tummy tuck, so there is no need for stitch removal. Swelling & bruising will peak about 48 hours after surgery but will then decrease significantly in the first two weeks. Most patients can return to work after two weeks, but many patients return even sooner. The biggest limitation for post-operative patients is driving, which should be avoided while taking pain medication. Patients usually stop taking pain medication after five to seven days and plan their work schedules accordingly. Six weeks is usually an appropriate time to gradually return to full exercise and activity.
During the recovery period, we recommend walking within the house several times per day to speed healing and minimize the possibility of developing blood clots. If you have any issues after surgery, Dr. Hsu is available 24 hours for any immediate concerns. For an extended period of time after surgery, Dr. Hsu will see you in follow up to make sure you are healing well. Follow up appointments are scheduled immediately after surgery and for up to a year afterward.
Mini versus Full?
- Mini-procedures are not as extensive. The results are still rejuvenation but not as substantial as a full tummy tuck. Usually targeted for women with excess skin only below the belly button most often after pregnancy.
- Mini-procedures are gaining popularity due to the decreased downtime and recovery.
- Mini-procedures are done under local anesthesia in our clinic.
Dr. Hsu's view on a Mini-Tummy Tuck.
A mini-tummy tuck works best on patients who have extra skin in the abdomen, but really limited to the area below the belly button. In the right patient, it is a simple, straightforward procedure that allows for removal of excess skin with a minimal of downtime. In my practice, these are often done under local anesthesia and patients do very well. It is a nice way to achieve many of the results of a tummy tuck in a more limited fashion. I do reserve my recommendation of this procedure only to patients who do not have excess skin in the area above the abdomen. In those patients, a full tummy tuck is a better option.