Wrinkled Skin After Mini Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

I had surgery 8 1/2 weeks ago (2/13/09): mini Tummy Tuck with muscle repair (hernia) and Liposuction. The surgeon did not use drains. I started out 118 lbs, 5'6", 28 years old. My surgeon said that there is a "50/50" chance the wrinkles will go away. The surgeon did not move my belly button. I am really concerned about the way I look. I expected to have a nice, smooth, flat tummy after surgery. My side view also still shows a bulge.

Doctor Answers 18

Wrinkled skin after Mini Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

Dear Cori ,

I am SURE I will not be the only one who would state that you would have been a PERFECT case for a full abdominoplasty. It would have removed much of the damaged, stretch marked covered lower tummy skin, TOTALLY flattened the tummy and, depending on the technique utilized, if a High-Lateral Tension (Lockwood) abdominoplasty would have been done your upper thigh cellulite dimples could have been flattened by the SAME procedure.

Instead, doing a Mini tummy tuck, once again validates the old Plastic surgery adage that Mini-operations usually produce Mini-results.

I too think that a full tummy tuck would be needed to correct this.

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Full tummy tuck

I haven’t seen your before surgery photos, but I think you may have benefited more from a full tummy tuck than a mini one. This is because of how much loose skin is present, which is currently contributing to your skin laxity and wrinkling. Even though it can take several months for the true results of your surgery to appear, I don’t think that the wrinkling you see now will really disappear. A revision tummy tuck may be necessary.

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Wrinkled Skin After Mini Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

I am sorry to see you are having concerns.

I recommend to patients that they wait at least 3 months, possibly 6 months before assessing for a final result. If it is obvious that the result is suboptimal then revision is indicated. The advantage of revising after 3 months or more is that the inflammation from the original surgery has resolved completely and the revision is easier, more reliable and more likely to provide the best result. Your surgeon obviously feels that revision might be a very real need. If this comes to pass, then a full abdominoplasty is the best option. 

I hope this answers your question sufficiently.

Bram Kaufman, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Revisional Tummy Tuck Surgery May Be Necessary For You

The vast majority of patients who have redundant abdominal wall tissue require a full abdominoplasty.  When patients have minor amounts of loose lower abdominal skin, mini abdominoplasty is appropriate, but these situations are not common.

It appears that you continue to have residual redundant upper abdominal skin, weakened abdominal muscles and stretch marks.  Your photos suggest that you would benefit from conversion of your mini abdominoplasty to a full abdominoplasty with umbilical transposition.  At this point, conservative management is unlikely to impact your abdomen.

It’s important to discuss these issues with your surgeon and obtain a second opinion if necessary. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Wrinkled skin after mini tummy tuck and liposuction

I understand why you are disappointed with your results.  Unfortunately, you appear to have been a better candidate for a full tummy tuck rather than a mini tummy tuck.  I see many patients in my practice every year who desire a flat tummy following pregnancy and childbirth , but they do not want the larger incision associated with a full tummy tuck.  It is important the realize that the mini tummy tuck only delivers a good result in a very small percent of the population.  A full tummy tuck would have removed most of your stretch marks and lowered the others possibly below your swimsuit line.  Your abdomen and muscle would be tighter and you would have the results I'm sure you wanted initially.

My advice would be to consult another plastic surgeon who is board certified and obtain another opinion regarding how to achieve the results you desire.

Best of luck,

Christopher J. Morea, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 187 reviews

In general, after 8 ½ weeks most of the swelling has resolved.

You have reason to be concerned. In general, after 8 ½ weeks most of the swelling has resolved. If you still have wrinkles, they may not go away on their own. Unfortunately, mini tummy tucks allow for removal of only a limited amount of skin. If there was considerable skin excess before surgery, a full abdominoplasty might have been recommended. You should discuss a time table for revision with your surgeon.  Don't expect gradual improvement to continue after 3 or 4 months.

Thomas A. Mustoe, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Rippling and Skin laxity after liposuction

Liposuction has two basic skin issues associated with it: rippling and skin laxity. Rippling is a contour deformity (dimpling) similar to cellulite.  Much rippling can be avoided by using proper technique and certain technologies; some of it cannot be avoided.  At the Plastic Surgery Center we utilize PAL  (Power Assisted Liposuction) to help minimize contour deformity.

The second issue is skin laxity.  If large volumes of liposuction need to be performed, especially on a patient that has decreased elasticity of the skin, hanging skin can result.  A surgeon and patient need to exercise good judgment, and sometimes skin reduction surgery i.e. tummy tuck, thigh lift, may need to be performed afterwards.

Andrew Elkwood, MD, FACS
Red Bank Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Mini tummy tuck vs traditional tummy tuck

Based on your photograph, I would have recommended a full tummy tuck. Your stretch marks go above the belly button and the only way to remove it is to relocate the belly button and remove the skin above the belly button. You should see your surgeon to address your concerns. Opn communication is very important in these situations.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Wrinkled Skin After Mini Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

Thank you for your question.  Based on your picture, it looks like you had excess skin and stretch marks that extended above the umbilicus.  Therefore, a mini tummy tuck was probably not your best option.  A full tummy tuck would have gotten rid of all the loose skin and most of the stretch marks.  Could have done a full muscle repair done as well.  This would have given you a flat abdomen.

Rigo Mendoza, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Full or mini tummy tuck?

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 to work with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to obtain advice (based on good ethics and judgment) to  improve your chances of a successful outcome and minimize the need for further surgery.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

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.