Considering A “Mini” Tummy Tuck?

photo34In part 1 of our 3 part blog series on tummy tuck surgery, Dr. John P. Zimmermann described how the abdominoplasty procedure can be tailored to meet the needs of a wide variety of patients. In this second installment of the series, our Napa Valley plastic surgeon will compare the classic tummy tuck to the “mini” procedure.

Some of my patients at the Aesthetic Surgery Center of Napa Valley come into their initial tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) consultation wondering about limited or “mini” tummy tucks. Although they have become somewhat popular on the Internet, in reality, not many patients are truly good candidates for this procedure.

During a mini tummy tuck, liposuction is first utilized to diminish the volume of fat in the layer between the skin and the underlying muscle of the abdominal wall. Doing so alters and diminishes the blood supply to the overlying skin that comes through the muscle and through the fat. One then cannot extensively elevate the skin and residual fat off of that muscle layer, or the skin and fat will not survive. Thus, if a patient requires a significant amount of skin to be removed, a longer incision is necessary, and liposuction of the abdominal fat is much more conservative.

The second facet of a mini tuck is a short incision, extending not far beyond the extent of the pubic hair. Obviously, again, a patient with a lot of skin requires a longer incision to remove that skin.

The third facet of a mini tummy tuck is tightening the deep connective tissue (“fascia”) that supports the muscles. This cannot be done as extensively as with a classic abdominoplasty, usually only from the navel downwards.

Ideal candidates for this procedure are men and women who have a minimal amount of excess skin, only a moderate amount (or less) of abdominal wall fat, and mild laxity of the abdominal wall muscles, especially from the navel downwards. Patients with a lot of excess skin and severe laxity of the muscles are better treated with the classic approach in order to maximize their aesthetic outcome.

At my Plastic Surgery practice, I have had patients who are of average weight, in good health, and who have never been pregnant, yet require a full abdominoplasty. Similarly, I have seen patients who have had five or six children, but only require a mini tummy tuck. This difference may be genetic in origin.

Since each patient has a unique body structure and individual cosmetic concerns, what is required to achieve the look they desire is very case specific. There are no standard rules of practice that can be applied to each and every patient that walks through the door. A detailed and lengthy conversation is always necessary to ensure that my patients and I have the same goals and expectations going into any surgical procedure.

For some of my patients, I recommend combining the abdominal procedure with liposuction to really enhance the natural contours of the body. Breast reduction, breast implants, or breast augmentation are also often combined with a tummy tuck for a more complete body rejuvenation.

In the coming weeks, return to our blog for the final installment of our 3 part series on tummy tucks. Dr. Zimmermann will explore advances made toward the tummy tuck recovery process that have dramatically improved patient comfort and mobility in the days after the procedure.

Contact Our Practice

To learn more about how a tummy tuck can help you achieve a tighter, more toned, and flatter stomach, please contact our office today.