Between weight fluctuations and pregnancy, the abdomen can change over your lifetime. Even with a healthy diet and exercise, it can be hard to tackle stubborn fat deposits, sagging and loose skin. If you’re thinking about getting a full or mini tummy tuck, read on to find out everything you need to know.
What is a Full Tummy Tuck?
A full tummy tuck is also known as a standard abdominoplasty or standard tummy tuck. It is an invasive procedure that helps tone and smoothes the abdominal region from the rib cage to the pubic hairline. It’s the most common type of tummy tuck done in the UK. It is suitable for those with lots of loose skin and stubborn fat. During a standard tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon removes excess skin before tightening the muscles.
The surgeon makes a long hip-to-hip incision just above your pubic area. Excess skin and fatty tissue are then removed, and the skin is tightened and reinforced. The surgeon will also repair the underlying muscles to enhance the results. The incision is usually made within the pubic hairline so that it remains hidden in the underwear.
If the surgeon needs to reposition or reconstruct your belly button, they will make a small incision around the navel. Scarring is minimal and appears as a small rim around the belly button. A full tummy tuck carries more risk. However, it has the advantage of tightening your abdominal muscles and correcting any muscle separation.
What is a Mini Tummy Tuck?
A mini tuck is less invasive. The procedure is best suited for those with a small amount of excess fat and skin below the belly button. The incision made is much smaller like a caesarean incision, and it’s made a few inches from the belly button. A mini tummy tuck only tightens and smoothes the areas below the belly button. It doesn’t address separated abdominal muscles or excess skin in the upper abdomen.
The plastic surgeon tightens the abdominal muscles. They do this by trimming away excess skin and fat. The navel in a mini tummy tuck doesn’t require reconstruction or repositioning. During a mini tummy tuck, the doctor will also use liposuction on the lower abdomen. A mini tummy tuck has the advantage of leaving a smaller scar that is sometimes barely noticeable when done by an experienced plastic surgeon.
What are the Key Differences Between a Full and Mini Tummy Tuck?
There is a lot of information on tummy tucks, but what is the difference between the two procedures? One of the reasons mini tummy tucks are growing in popularity is because they’re less invasive. Here’s a breakdown of how each procedure is different to help you choose a suitable option for you.
When you talk about a mini tummy tuck, you’re simply talking about the lower abdomen. So, the procedure targets loose skin and tightens muscles and skin around the lower abdomen. A full tummy tuck targets muscle separation and removes and tightens loose skin of the whole abdomen. You can use liposuction alongside both procedures.
Tummy Tuck Procedure Time
As you can imagine, a mini tummy tuck has a shorter surgery time of up to 2 hours. A full tummy tuck could take up to 5 hours. So, there’s quite a big difference in procedure time and the amount of time you’re under anaesthetic.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Length
The recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is about 2-3 weeks. For a full tummy tuck, the recovery time is about 6 weeks.
Full and Mini Tummy Tuck Scarring
A mini tummy tuck scar is thin. This is because a mini tummy tuck uses a shorter incision, so the scar is shorter. For a tummy tuck, you will have a scar that extends from hip to hip along the bikini line. Although scarring size can differ in tummy tucks, all tummy tuck incisions are usually placed low enough. This is so that the scar is hidden in underwear or a bikini.
Are You a Suitable Mini Tummy Tuck Candidate?
A full tummy tuck is suitable for those with a lot of excess skin and sagging after pregnancy or weight loss. A mini tummy tuck is suitable for patients with mild sagging and minimal protrusion.
How to Choose the Right Abdominoplasty Procedure for You
There are some pretty big differences between the two procedures. Your plastic surgeon will talk you through your options. They will explain the entire procedure from consultation before surgery to full recovery. When choosing the right abdominoplasty, it often comes down to your concerns and suitability for the procedure. If you have lost a lot of weight and have excess sagging skin, then you will likely be more suitable for a full tummy tuck instead of a mini tummy tuck.
A mini tuck is generally for those with a minimal protrusion in the lower abdomen. Another thing you need to consider is the recovery time. Like any other cosmetic procedure, a mini or full tummy tuck requires some downtime to recover. Giving yourself ample time to recover helps minimise complication risks.
The recovery time after a full tummy tuck is longer than after a mini tummy tuck. After a mini tuck, you only need about three weeks to reach full recovery. A full tummy tuck can stretch the recovery time to up to 6 weeks. How much time you have on your hands will determine which procedure you choose. You can also opt for a drainless tummy tuck.
The last thing you want is to rush the recovery time. This can increase your risk of infection on the surgical site or worse undo all the work done. An experienced plastic surgeon can help guide you on the right path to make the best decision.
Combining a Tummy Tuck with Other Cosmetic Procedures
The main reason people combine two or more cosmetic procedures is to shorten the recovery time. A tummy tuck takes care of loose skin and stubborn fat that won’t go away with diet or exercise. Both men and women can have a tummy tuck as long as there is excess skin.
A tummy tuck can also help remove stretch marks located on the area that has excess skin. If you have stubborn fat around the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and back, the doctor will combine the procedure with liposuction.
Women who have finished having children and want to reclaim their bodies may consider a mummy makeover. A mummy makeover is simply a combination of several procedures in one surgical session. If you go the mummy makeover route, you can combine a tummy tuck with a breast lift, breast augmentation, liposuction, and labiaplasty. You can customise the procedure the way you want depending on your end goal.
It’s important that you feel confident before any cosmetic procedure. An experienced surgeon will help you decide on the best procedure for you. Your surgeon is there to guide you and help you decide on the right path. To learn more about tummy tuck procedures or schedule a consultation, please contact the team at the Harley Clinic, London.