30 Years Old and Have 3 Children. Considering a Tummy Tuck but Would Like to Know if I Would Be Ok Getting the "Mini"? (photo)

My biggest concern is my lower belly especially when I sit down because I have this skin that just hangs. I'm pretty active I work out at least 5 days a week. I now weigh 117 lbs and am 5' 1". I would also like to know if I did decide to move forward with the procedure what the recovery time was. I would like to start working out as soon as possible. Would I be able to work on my abs so that they were more defined after surgery? Or do the abs stay the same

Doctor Answers 9

Mini-tummy tuck or full tummy tuck?

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Based on your picture, it appears that you have very little fat but a fair amount of loose skin present on your lower abdomen.  A mini-tummy tuck is useful for tightening loose stomach muscles from the belly button down, however, because of the short scar involved, very little skin can be removed without creating a pucker at each end of the scar.  The longer the scar, the more skin can be removed.  Since your loose skin appears to go up to the belly button and even higher, I would think that a full tummy tuck might be a better option for you if you want to remove the maximum amount of loose skin.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck, Am I a Candidate?

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Thank you for the question and pictures. Based on your history and pictures, I think you will do much better with a full tummy tuck operation.

In my opinion, the mini tummy tuck 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.

In response to your question regarding recovery time, I have also attached some advice that I provide to my patients who are about to go tummy tuck surgery:

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself)  and that you have realistic expectations.  Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life   situation.  You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.

2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be  more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.

3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.

4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.
5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina  of your caretakers.

6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.

7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.

8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).

9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the   emotional swings that you may experience.

10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.

11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery. 
I hope this helps.

Tummy tuck expectations

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Based on your photos, I would say that you could have a good result with either a full abdominoplasty or a mini.  The question is whether you want the skin ABOVE your belly button to be tighter.  If that is not an issue, a mini would address the laxity below the belly button but the overall contour improvement will likely be less.  On the other hand, a full abdominoplasty will require a longer and slightly higher scar (harder to hide), but will flatten and tighten things better.

Tummy tuck type

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You look great and that extra skin wil best be removed with a full tummy tuck. You may end up with a short vertical scar and an exam would help me confirm this. Your muscle repair with a full tummy tuck will also give you a better result. Good Luck!

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

30 Years Old and Have 3 Children. Considering a Tummy Tuck but Would Like to Know if I Would Be Ok Getting the "Mini"?

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You may want to consider a short scar tummy tuck, which will have the same length scar as the minitummy tuck but will remove about twice as much skin as well as allow tightening of the abdominal wall. Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Mini vs Full Tummy Tuck

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Based on your history of multiple pregnancies and your photos, I think you will do much better with a full tummy tuck operation.   Please see a board certified PS to learn more about your options.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Mini versus Full Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for sharing your photos.  I would recommend a full tummy tuck to obtain my best result for you.    In terms of recovery, I would recommend dedicating 2 weeks to true recovery and staying away from the gym for at least 4 weeks.   It may take 8-12 weeks for the abdominal core strength to fully return.  I wish you a safe recovery and amazing result.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Mini tummy tuck is seldom indicated.

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After pregnancy the damage to the abdominal fascia in the skin extends from the rib cage to the pubic area. Only a full abdominoplasty allows surgical correction of this area.

30 Years Old and Have 3 Children. Considering a Tummy Tuck but Would Like to Know if I Would Be Ok Getting the "Mini"?

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Possibly but only IN PERSON examination allows better opinions of possible outcomes. Seek a few opinions in person please. 

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.