In most cases, mini tummy tucks only remove a small amount of excess skin and fat in the lower abdomen or below the level of belly button. But due to the natural diffusion of loose tissue, only a limited number of patients can benefit from this procedure.
Despite the limited amount of contouring, mini tummy tuck is noted for its shorter horizontal scar, i.e., 4-8 inches, compared to the standard technique in which a hip-to-hip incision is used. Nevertheless, a good surgeon will use every effort to place the scars close to the pubic area and concealed by the patient’s bikini or underwear.
Aside from tightening the skin and removing some excess fat, tummy tuck may also entail muscle repair, which is commonly used in female patients.
Due to pregnancy, the paired abdominal muscles positioned in the midline that run between the pelvis and the lowest rib become separated and will not return to their previous settlement despite rigorous exercise.
Because the entire vertical length of the muscle is affected by pregnancy, mini tummy tuck after pregnancy is generally not enough to provide optimal results because it just focuses on the lower abdomen.
For the vast majority of tummy tuck patients, particularly those who have experienced pregnancy, the standard or hip-to-hip incision is the most viable technique.
Despite the resulting hip-to-hip scar, which typically blends in well with the skin over time, a good number of patients are willing to accept this tradeoff to achieve a more feminine contour.
On the other hand, forcing the use of mini tummy tucks in patients who need their upper abdomen to be reshaped as well—which is generally the case—can lead to poor scarring (dog ear’s or puckery appearance) and unnatural contour of the abdomen.
However, mini tummy tuck via endoscope or small articulating camera probe makes it possible to reshape a small area of the abdominal muscle above the navel. However, this technique is only reserved for patients with long torso, high belly button, and little excess skin.
Regardless of the incision technique, tummy tuck is only suitable for normal weight, healthy patients who are done having children.
Through proper weight management and avoidance of pregnancy, the results of tummy tuck surgery are expected to last a lifetime.