Here’s my story – it’s lengthy but I find there isn’t as much info on mini’s as I hoped there would be when I first started my research. I hope this information is helpful for you.
A little background on me and why I chose a mini
My mini tummy tuck was performed on December 27th, 2012. I've posted several before photos. One is before I lost the weight that caused my loose skin (6o lbs lost in 2010). The others are after I lost the weight and toned up.
When I was standing and had my arms lifted up, you couldn't tell that I had loose skin. If my arms were down, or if I was sitting it was obvious that my tummy was loose. It was aggravating and depressing. I was putting five days a week in at the gym and noticed results everywhere but my stomach. I could feel my rock hard abs, but you couldn't see them.
I don't have children, so there was no loose skin from that. I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to have the surgery, because “what if I decided to have kids later on?” I decided I wasn’t 100% sure about having kids, but I was 100% sure I hated my tummy, and decided to do something about it.
When I made the decision, I didn’t know if I’d need a tummy tuck or lipo. When I did my consult, my PS told me I was a candidate for a mini tummy tuck but that I could do a full if I prefered. I hadn’t heard of a mini, so I did a little research, and was thrilled! I travel quite a bit in my job and work crazy hours. Being down for several weeks for a full tummy tuck would have been difficult. I decided to plan the surgery for the Christmas break so I could take as much time off as possible without it being obvious that I’d had surgery.
My surgery experience
Before surgery, you have to fill your meds and order your garments unless they are provide to you by your surgeon. I was thrilled to hear that there was no prep work with my bowels beforehand….i.e….no laxatives and misery on the toilet the night before. Couldn’t eat after midnight, but my surgery was at 6 am so I didn’t care. I was prescribed valium by my PS and told to take it the night before and thirty minutes prior to my arrival to help with nerves, so I really, really didn’t care. As far as the garments go, get two. You have to air dry them, and you don’t want to have it off for too long the first four weeks. I also purchased garments that went from under my breasts and to just above my knees. It had eye and hook closures up each side and zippers. It was crotchless, which was fantastic because of swelling (we’ll get to that) and for using the potty. Taking that bad boy off the first few days is not optimal, so having the ability to pee with it on was great.
On the day of my surgery, I arrived at the PS office (her surgical suite is in office…bonus if you can find this), and they had be strip down. My PS came in, drew on my belly and asked if I had any last minute questions. She, and her nurses, asked me several times what procedures I was having done that day. It made me and my husband feel very secure, because you know they take what they do seriously. They put in my IV and led me to the surgery room. I was fully awake and aware at this point, so I could see my pre-op photos on the wall with notes written on them by my PS of how she wanted to proceed. The room was clean and very cold. It was nice when I laid down on the surgery table because it was heated and felt like it had memory foam. I don’t remember a thing after that.
When I woke up in the recovery room, I was very quickly dressed and before I knew it, was being wheeled out to my car. My surgery was at 6 AM and I was on my way home by 9 AM. I lived 45 minutes from the clinic, and I remember mostly everything about the car ride. I felt nauseous but did not get sick to my stomach. When I arrived home, I had to walk up two flights of stairs (we live in an elevated beach house), but it wasn’t too difficult or painful. After eating two pieces of toast, I was off to bed and sleep for about three hours.
I didn’t feel much pain until later that evening around 6pm. I took the hydrocodone I was prescribed, and felt a bit better. They had placed one drain tube in my pubic area that was conveniently outside of my garment in the crotchless area (again, a good reason to get this type of garment).
The worst pain I experienced over the next three days is A) when I had to sneeze B) when my husband made me laugh..which is quite a bit and C) when I would get up and down off of the couch or the bed. I have hardwood floors throughout my house, so I was able to use a folding dinner tray as my walker. This helped tremendously. If you can rent a walker or use something similar like I did for the first three days, it will be very helpful. It takes a great deal of pressure off your lower back, and allows you to get up and down from bed, your couch and the toilet much, much easier.
I found a great deal of discomfort and pain relief when I would use an ice pack. I placed it over my garment three or four times a day, and it really seemed to help with swelling and pain. I recommend getting one of the reusable ones with the blue gel.
Now…this may be too personal for some…but…I worried about getting constipated. I couldn’t think of anything worse than not being able to go. I did have a bowel movement the morning after my surgery. It was difficult to go, but not because I was constipated but due to the fact straining my muscles as I normally would was difficult. I started taking a Philip’s stool softner with my hydrocodone, and this helped. I took them until I stopped taking the pain meds (which can cause constipation) and never had a problem going.
Bathing isn’t allowed until you get your drain(s) out. I was able to lean over the sink while my husband washed my hair. I would use baby wipes on the rest of my body, and would soak my legs in hot bath water.
I had my first follow up appointment the morning after surgery, and they removed my tape (Friday). I went back on Monday, and they removed my tape once again and added some more. My drain tube was checked, and I wasn’t leaking much so they said I’d probably get it out that Wednesday. They pulled it Wednesday as promised. I was expecting it to be painful as some folks say it was in their reviews. It didn’t hurt at all. It actually felt good. There was a large amount of fluid that drained from the wound for a few minutes afterwards but then it felt fine. My PS did not stitch that area, and it was about the size of a pea. I was told I could shower that night but no tub baths.
Taking a shower that night was an adventure. We have a separate, stand up shower from our tub, so my husband was able to bring in a plastic yard chair from the porch for me to sit in. We placed a dish towel on the seat so I didn’t slide around on the plastic. My shower has a hose, so I was able to hold it and wash myself. It wore me out. I don’t know how you could shower standing up. It was a week and a half post-op before I was able to stand and shower.
Pro’s and Con’s
•It’s only been three weeks and I can tell a notable difference, and know I will be happy with the results
•The scar is eight inches in length, straight across the top of my pubic area. It is very, very small and flat.
•I can wear the same itsy bitsy bikini’s I wore before surgery, including string bikini’s, and they hide my scar. The just barely hide it, so I may double check my bottoms from time to time to make sure they haven’t slipped.
• There’s a quick recovery vs. a full tummy tuck.
• My belly button is no longer a frown face, but more of a long oval. There were no incisions around my belly button, so it is very natural. It is lower than it was before surgery but to the undiscerning eye, it looks normal.
•Your boobs look better and curvaceous. I don’t know if it’s because my waist appears more narrow, but I do know my husband makes a comment each time he sees them. He’s convinced I had work done on them too but just didn’t tell him. I didn’t. It’s a nice bonus.
•The garment is a pain in the butt. It’s uncomfortable. It’s hard to put on and off, and especially the first ten days when you’re so sore. I wear a lot of dresses to work and because it has legs that go the knee, I have to make sure the length of my dress covers the garment.
•Your clothes don’t fit right…at least not for me. I thought I’d be able to slip on my pre-surgery size fours with ease. Oh no…think again. I had to buy jeans in a size 6. I went to a second hand shop to buy them because I know once the swelling goes down in a few weeks and I can stop wearing the garment, I can fit in my pre-surgery clothes. If you have a full tummy tuck, perhaps they’re loose but not in my case due to swelling.
•Your hoo-hoo swells like crazy, and it’s uncomfortable. I hear this is a result of lipo. My swelling went down after about day four.
•Your hoo-hoo will look slightly different. It will be pulled a little higher, towards your belly button. It’s not bad looking, but it’s different than before.• Peeing and pooping take a while. Gross. I know. Sorry. If you think you’re going to go straight to the bathroom and get right back out, think again. If you have your underwear on underneath your garment, you have to slide or take your garment off and then your underwear. Once you start to pee or poop, it takes time. Your muscles are weak, and you can’t pee as quickly as before. That will come back, I know, but it is annoying when you’re used to taking a “quick” pee.
• Laughing, sneezing and coughing hurt. Bad. It gets better after week two.
• Judge Judy, Maury and The People’s Court getting boring after day one. Be prepared to watch some trashy stuff on TV. If you aren’t used to being home during the day, you’ll be shocked by how crappy your options are.
Here’s a quick list of things I would recommend buying before your surgery:
• Baby wipes
• Reusable ice pack
• Phillips or some other gentle stool softener
• Something to sit in or on while you shower
•At least two garments. And one “comfy” garment to sleep in after the first week. My comfy garment is from Target. It is a pull on style that stretches all the way up under my breasts. It has boy shorts built in, and no boning, zippers or hooks.
•Flexible straws. This came in handy when I was mostly on my back.
•Lots of pillows if you don’t have them. They help when you’re sleeping. You need two for your head, one for each side of your body and two for under your knees. I like to sleep on my side or stomach, so I used the two on the side of me to keep me from rolling over all night.
•Sweat pants that are least one size bigger than your pre-surgery size. Cotton PJ’s will work if you’re having a summer surgery.
•Silicone scar strip. I bought one of these online, and started using it as soon as my stitches came out (1 week). I wear it during the day, and put mederma on at night. It is supposed to keep your scar flat, aid in healing time and help make the scar lighter in appearance. It’s too soon to tell, but I do like that it provides a buffer between my scar and my garment.
Overall, I’m very happy with the results and my decision. Most people would probably look at my pictures before and say I didn’t need it but I feel better about myself now. I would recommend this surgery to anyone who is able to take at least 8-10 days off their feet to do it and has given themselves at least a year in the gym lifting weights and burning fat to see if they could shake the muffin top on their own. I gave it two years and it wasn’t budging. Best of luck to you if you’re thinking of having this procedure! Feel free to ask any questions you may have. I’m happy to help!