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Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery: Here’s What to Expect

A mini tummy tuck, or mini abdominoplasty, is a type of tummy tuck procedure that offers the added benefit of a shorter recovery. Instead of focusing on the whole abdomen, a mini tummy tuck primarily targets the lower abdomen. Here’s what to expect after your mini tummy tuck. 

What is a Mini Tummy Tuck? 

A mini tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin from the lower abdomen. You have only 1 incision across the lower abdomen with no incision around the belly button. This means that your surgeon can only tighten the abdomen muscles and remove excess skin from the lower abdomen. 

If you’re unwanted fat and excess skin is mainly in the lower belly, you may be a suitable candidate for a mini tummy tuck. You should be in good physical health and at a stable weight to go ahead with any type of cosmetic surgery, whether it’s a mini or full tummy tuck

Who is a Good Mini Tummy Tuck Candidate?

The best mini tummy tuck candidates are patients who have minimal amounts of excess skin and fat in the tummy region. They want to have a firmer, more toned stomach. If you have a lot of excess skin and fat above the belly button, or you have lost a significant amount of weight, then you may be a suitable candidate for a full tummy tuck. You should be a non-smoker at a stable and healthy weight

Why Should You Consider a Mini Tummy Tuck?

Partial abdominoplasty, or mini tummy tuck, has grown in popularity as one of the best cosmetic procedures to transform the stubborn fat pockets and excess skin that plague the lower abdomen due to multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss. If you are considering a mini tummy tuck to improve your abdominal contour, you may have wondered what the procedure involves. You may even wonder if you should go for a full tummy tuck rather than a mini tummy tuck. Here are a few reasons why you should consider a mini tummy tuck:

Reduced Scarring 

Scars are common with most invasive cosmetic procedures. However, the severity of the scarring will depend on the type of procedure. Individuals who opt for a mini tummy tuck typically experience less scarring than those who undergo a full tummy tuck due to the smaller size incision. A full abdominoplasty involves the surgeon making a hip-to-hip incision across your abdomen. During a mini tummy tuck, the doctor strategically places a smaller incision in the lower abdomen above the pubic mound making it less noticeable when you wear clothing like bikinis. Provided you follow all your doctor’s post-operative instructions, tummy tuck scars usually heal after a year, during which they become less noticeable. 

Breast augmentation, VASER liposuction, mini tummy tuck - The Harley Clinic London

Fewer Side Affects

The less invasive a cosmetic procedure is, the lower the risk of side effects, and a mini tummy tuck is no different. The less invasive nature of a mini tummy tuck means easier recovery time and less pain since the upper abdomen isn’t affected and the required incision is much smaller. Expect some bruising, tenderness, and swelling in the treatment area. Usually, these symptoms resolve in two weeks, and your doctor will provide medication to ensure a comfortable recovery. 

Shorter Recovery Time 

This is one of the main reasons why some chose a mini tummy tuck over a traditional abdominoplasty. A mini tummy tuck is minimally invasive, thus requiring a shorter recovery period. The surgery takes about two hours to complete, and you wouldn’t even need an overnight stay at the hospital. In most cases, you can resume light activities in two weeks. However, avoid strenuous activities for at least six weeks to allow your body to heal. Your doctor will require you to wear a compression garment around your abdomen for 3 to 6 weeks following the procedure. A compression garment helps compress the abdomen to enhance the results and minimise swelling.   

What to Expect After Your Mini Tummy Tuck? 

The recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is around 6 weeks. Patients with strong abdominal muscles may even feel back to normal in as little as 2 weeks. As everyone heals at a different rate, some patients may recover faster or slower than others. Here’s what to expect after your mini tummy tuck: 

  • 4-5 days – some mild to moderate pain and discomfort. Your surgeon will advise you on how to manage any pain you have. 
  • 1 week – in the first week, try to avoid unnecessary straining. 
  • 1-2 weeks – resume light exercise like walking 
  • 3-4 weeks – most of the swelling will subside. 
  • 6 weeks – avoid strenuous exercise and activity for at least 6 weeks. You will need to wear your compression garment for up this time. 

There will be swelling and discomfort after your procedure, so it’s important that you arrange for someone to pick you up and drive you home after the surgery. You will need to avoid driving until further down the recovery timeline. You will also need some help getting to your follow up appointments before you can start driving comfortably. 

In the first week, you will be wearing a compression garment. A post-operative compression garment helps to reduce swelling, take the pressure off the wound site, and aid recovery. It can take a little time to get used to wearing it, but it’s important you wear your compression garment for optimal results. 

It’s difficult to give a precise time for recovery, but this timeline gives you a good idea of what to expect. Even though you’re still healing after several weeks, the main recovery time is about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you can mostly return to normal activities, except for very strenuous exercise. 

In general, the recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is shorter than a full tummy tuck. But, if you need your muscles repaired, then it may take a little longer. Without muscle repair, you could be driving again after 1 week, and with muscle repair, you would be looking at waiting 2 weeks until you can drive. 

Mini Tummy Tuck Before and After 

Breast re-augmentation, Vaser liposuction, mini tummy tuck at The Harley Clinic, London

Preparing for Your Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery 

For a smooth and seamless recovery, it’s a good idea to prepare your recovery space ahead of time. Here are some tips to help set you up for a comfortable mini tummy recovery: 

  • Stop smoking 
  • Book time off work 
  • Prep healthy meals 
  • Stock up on extra pillows 
  • Eat well 
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions before and after the procedure 

Following your mini tummy tuck, you may have to sleep on an incline for the first few days. Keeping the upper body slightly raised with the knees bent at an angle helps minimise swelling. Stacking up pillows underneath your knees can also help ease the pressure on your abdomen. Your doctor should advise you on how to sleep after your surgery.

Once you get home and begin recovery, try and move as much as possible, even if it means walking around the house. Moving helps keep the blood flowing, reducing the risk of blood clots in the legs and maximising recovery. 

Your doctor will also advise on the optimal resting position to avoid straining your incision. Make sure you rest as much as possible to aid in recovery. It may take a few weeks to feel fully back to normal. You won’t be able to do some things like driving following your procedure for a few weeks. Your activities will also be limited to only light activities until after four to six weeks. 

What are the Possible Side Effects of a Mini Tummy Tuck?

You will experience the most intense pain the first few days following the procedure. You can manage the pain through pain medication prescribed by your doctor. You might also experience swelling that can take up to three months to resolve. Due to the incision, your abdomen may also feel like it’s being pulled whenever you try standing up straight. 

Some people also experience numbness in the abdomen for months. It’s normal to have bruising along the incision and the surrounding areas. You might also have fluid-filled swelling above your tummy tuck scar. This should go away as you recover. A tummy tuck will often result in a scar which may appear raised and red at first but should continue fading over the next year, becoming almost invisible. 

When Will You See Your Mini Tummy Tuck Results? 

Following your surgery, you will see the results immediately. But you will also have some swelling, so you won’t be able to see your full results quite yet. During your recovery, you will wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks. This is to reduce swelling and aid your recovery. It can take up to 3 months to see your final result. 

Mini Tummy Tuck Scars 

Once your scar is healed, you can start to think about scar management. Initially, your scar will look red, which is entirely normal. Over time, scars fade and lighten. There are things you can do to help improve the appearance of your scar, like using silicone tape and following your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Creating a neat and well-hidden scar is a key part of the procedure. This is why it’s so important to choose a plastic surgeon with experience in creating inconspicuous scars. 

The aim of a mini tummy tuck is always to create the smallest scar possible. The scar will be placed in the underwear or bikini line so that you won’t be able to see it in swimwear. The precise size of the scar is largely dependent on the amount of excess skin you need to remove. 

Breast augmentation, mini tummy tuck, and Vaser liposuction at the Harley Clinic

Is a Mini Tummy Tuck Permanent? 

A mini tummy tuck is permanent, but it doesn’t make you immune to weight changes. Weight gain and pregnancy can cause the skin and stomach muscles to stretch, which can impact your results. 

Mini Tummy Tuck UK at the Harley Clinic 

The Harley Clinic has state-of-the-art facilities and uses the latest techniques in cosmetic surgery. We offer tummy tucks both with and without drains, as well as mini tummy tucks. 

If you want to start your mini tummy tuck journey, book a consultation today at The Harley Clinic. 

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