What Is a Mini Tummy Tuck and, Are You a Candidate?
By Dr. Chris Patronella
A mini tummy tuck is often defined by an incision that matches or is very similar to a previous C-section scar. It’s really too short of an incision to remove any kind of skin looseness. But it can be used to repair an isolated, simple separation of the lower, abdominal muscles. The separation of those muscles can be repaired through a relatively small incision. But it doesn’t afford an opportunity to remove any amount of loose skin because when skin is removed, there must be a natural tapering of the edges. Otherwise an obvious fullness will occur on the edges of that scar which will look very unnatural.
A Modified Tummy Tuck With a Shorter Incision
Almost never do I perform a mini tummy tuck in the classic sense because I see very few patients that have a condition which is isolated to the lower abdominal muscles. However, there is a procedure I do called a modified tummy tuck in which I incorporate all of the elements of a True Form Tummy Tuck, but I can do it through a shorter incision. The kind of patient who is a candidate for a modified tummy tuck is one who has loose skin which is limited to the lower abdomen with none in the upper abdomen. This patient also has weakness of the abdominal muscle wall between the abdominal muscles, known as diastasis, that we commonly see in women who’ve had children. In that scenario, I can create a very nice True Form Tummy Tuck with a shorter incision because I can still remove some loose skin—usually somewhere between two and three inches in diameter—and neatly taper it so it is not obvious. And sometimes we can incorporate liposuction in conjunction with this to further accentuate results.
Botched Tummy Tuck Surgery
What I often see, unfortunately, are situations where a woman comes in who has had a so-called mini tummy tuck, and an attempt was made to remove some loose skin through a very short incision. And perhaps some muscle wall repair was done as well. What I see with these cases is disharmony between the upper and the lower abdomen. That is, there is a profound fullness of the upper abdomen and an excessive flattening of the lower abdomen which creates a very unusual, unnatural appearance. It was really the wrong procedure for the wrong person.
During the consultation, I think it’s really important to identify the condition that exists. I’m evaluating these factors: Is the muscle wall weak? Is it weak on the upper abdomen? Is it weak on the lower abdomen? Is it weak on both the lower and the upper abdomen? Is loose skin present? Is there loose skin on the upper abdomen? Is there a loose skin on the lower abdomen? Is there a loose skin on both the upper and the lower abdomen? Once these issues are identified, I then select the procedure. It really requires a careful analysis of the condition and whether that condition merits more complete incision line—a longer incision line—or a shorter one.
I would rather analyze the condition before I commit to one procedure over another because, ultimately, the goal of the procedure is to create a very nice and natural, attractive abdomen that has the elements I create during True Form Tummy Tuck surgery.