A lot of patients ask me what the difference is between a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and a mini tummy tuck. This is always a great question because it allows me to review the anatomy and reasons why women (and men, too!) need abdominal rejuvenation.
Single or multiple pregnancies as well as significant weight gain oftentimes cause the rectus abdominal muscles to stretch to make room for the growing fetus or because of the constant pressure of extra fat/weight. Even with weight loss or after the baby’s delivery, we hope that the muscles will contract and return to the center, providing better abdominal support and a flat front-side again. Unfortunately, some patients’ abdominal muscles do not return to the center completely, and these individuals are left with a residual laxity to the muscles of the abdominal wall, called rectus diastasis. In addition to the lax abdominal muscles, residual fat and loose skin complicate the aesthetics of the abdomen, making it difficult to wear certain types of clothing, and rendering exercise unrewarding.
Some patients’ abdominal muscles are able to return to the midline; if this is the case, a mini tummy tuck is a satisfactory approach, because we can use a smaller incision to remove the skin and fat only. If the muscles are lax and a diastasis is present, a complete or traditional tummy tuck is necessary to correct all three components (the muscles, fat and skin layers). Usually, the umbilicus is repositioned and revised as well with this approach.
I usually like to supplement the tummy tuck with liposuction so that there is more complete contouring of the whole torso. This approach gives the body a trimmer, more youthful, leaner look and makes it possible to wear tighter, sexier clothes with more comfort. Fortunately, these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and produce results that can last indefinitely!