What age is the best for mini-tummy tucks?
How Important is the Elasticity and the Tone of my Skin if I Want a Mini Tummy Tuck?
Doctor Answers 6
Choice between mini and full tummy tucks is not based on skin elasticity
The choice between these two operations is absolutely not made based on differences in skin elasticity. It is based on what is happening above the umbilicus. In 95+% of postpregnancy tummies, there are issues above the umbilicus in terms of muscle laxity and skin excess so all of these folks need a full TT. The mini TT (though everybody wants to think that's all they need!) is extremely rare when advised by a well trained plastic surgeon.
The problem is that when a mini TT is done on a patient who needed a full TT, they wind up with a scar that is almost as long, a recovery that is almost as long, and a "mini tummy tuck deformity" which consists of a flatter lower abdomen and an upper abdomen that sticks out more. This is becausee the muscles up there didn't get the tightening they needed and it is like squeezng a tube of tooth paste in the wrong place. Then the only fix is to have the fullTT that was needed all along.
There are many non-plastic surgeons out there doing minis and telling folks that's all they need because that's what they want to hear and that's all these doctors know how to do. Be careful whom you go to!!
Tummy Tuck Options
The amount of loose skin will determine whether you are suitable for a mini tummy tuck or other tummy tuck procedure. This can only be determined by an in office exam by a board certified plastic surgeon.
Thank you for you question. It is difficult to give accurate recommendation without an in office exam. When I evaluate the abdomen, I assess:
1. The amount of loose skin
2. The volume of fatty tissue
3. The degree of muscle laxity.
I evaluate this in each of 3 areas:
1. Upper Abdomen
2. Area around the Belly Button
3. Lower Abdomen
MINI TUMMY TUCK: If a patient has loose skin, fatty tissue, and muscle laxity limited to the Lower Abdomen, then I recommend the mini tummy tuck. In order to qualify for this, the patient must have good skin and muscle tone in their upper abdomen and area around the belly button. I will frequently perform liposuction of these areas with my Mini Tummy Tuck to enhance the overall contour.
FULL TUMMY TUCK: this is for patients who have loose skin and muscle laxity of the upper abdomen, belly button area, and lower abdomen. This procedure tightens all 3 areas with a bikini line incision. I often encorporate liposuction with my full tummy tuck as I feel it offers a superb end result.
EXTENDED TUMMY TUCK: This works well for patients who have loose skin that extends over the hip bone into the flank area. I will perform extensive liposuction and skin excision to the hip and flank area combined with full tummy tuck.
BODY LIFT/BELT LIPECTOMY: this is essentially a 360 degree tummy tuck which involves removal of loose skin and fatty tissue of the lower back and buttocks, in addition to the extended tummy tuck.
I wish you a safe recovery and amazing result!!
Elasticity of the skin and mini vs. full tummy tucks
The elasticity of the skin is not what determines whether a patient needs a full or mini-tummy tuck. The decision is based on the separation of the abdominal muscles (rectus muscles) and the amount of excess skin above the umbilicus. Most women have separation of their abdominal muscles after pregnancy above and below the umbilicus, as well as some skin laxity. Patients who are true candidates for a mini- abdominoplasty are those who have no excess skin above the umbilicus and no muscle separation - this group is smaller then the group requiring full abdominoplasty.
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Elasticity and minituck
Importance of Skin Tone and Elasticity for Good Results with a Mini Tummy Tuck?
A great skin elasticity and tone are beneficial in general but are NOT important determinants is the success of a Mini Tummy Tuck. A Mini Tummy Tuck produces nice results in a VERY LIMITED GROUP OF WOMEN; only in those who have a limited amount of loose tummy skin limited to only the skin below the belly button and who do not have a muscle separation. That rules out most women who delivered a good size baby. A Mini Tummy Tuck uses an incision larger than a C-section to remove the loose skin below the belly button.
Peter A Aldea, MD
Mini or full tummy tuck?
A few words of caution for patients contemplating tummy tuck surgery may be in order: In my opinion, the mini tummy talk is an operation that produces very limited results and is very rarely indicated. It involves a shorter incision but does not address the majority of the abdominal wall issues present for most patients who present consultation. For example, the area of skin excised is quite small. The abdominal wall musculature is addressed below the umbilicus leaving the upper number wall potentially lax. The appearance of the umbilicus is not necessarily addressed sufficiently.
For most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. Of course, there are downsides (including a longer scar and probably a longer recovery time) but for most patients the benefits outweigh the downsides. It is not unusual to see patients who've had mini tummy tuck surgery present for revisionary surgery. It is important for patients seeking abdominal contouring surgery to work with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to obtain advice (based on good ethics and judgment) to improve their chances of a successful outcome and minimize the need for further surgery.
I hope this helps.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.