Mini-abdominoplasty is a variation of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), the surgery that reshapes the abdomen. The mini-abdominoplasty gets rid of flabby skin and excess fat (without repositioning the navel as is the case with complete abdominoplasty).
Some statistics Abdominoplasty is in 6th place among the cosmetic surgery procedures in Italy. Source: Italian Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
There are 2 types of abdominoplasty:
- Partial, also known as mini-abdominoplasty
With mini-abdominoplasty you can:
· Remove excess skin and fat
· Redefine the abdominal contours
· Increase muscle tone
Mini-abdominoplasty is usually used in patients with little excess skin, little fat or poor abdominal wall laxity (sagging skin).
The causes that can lead to a mini-abdominoplasty include:
The most common are:
· Weight loss
You have to lose the few extra pounds.
The birth control pill should be discontinued 6 weeks before mini-abdominoplasty surgery to reduce the risk of thrombosis.
Goodbye cigarettes, because smoking delays recovery and could increase the risk of infectious diseases.
What to discuss with the surgeon before a mini-abdominoplasty:
You should explain to the surgeon why you want to have the surgery, what your expectations are and the results you want.
In addition, you should tell your surgeon if you have any illnesses, allergies or drug allergies and if you are undergoing pharmacological or medical treatment.
You should not forget to inform your surgeon if you are using medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Before mini-abdominoplasty, the plastic surgeon may also:
· Evaluate your general state of health, if there are any pre-existing risk factors or pathologies that may prevent surgery
· Take photos for the medical records and for the "before and after"
· Discuss any risks or potential complications
· Request blood tests and an ECG
What to expect during surgery
Mini-abdominoplasty is used to improve aesthetics on patients who have excess fat below the navel and who require smaller incisions. This type of abdominoplasty does not affect the navel.
Local anaesthesia is the method of choice for surgeons. Only in cases of operations involving larger areas will general anaesthesia be used.
The mini-abdominoplasty procedure
With mini-abdominoplasty the excess skin below the navel is removed under local anaesthesia leaving a low abdominal scar below the pants line. The fat is removed and the muscles are repositioned.
The duration of the surgery can be up to 3 hours.
You have to stay in the hospital for 1–3 days.
Pain can be relieved with painkillers.
Stitches will be removed after 7 to 14 days.
For all types of abdominoplasty, therefore also for mini-abdominoplasty, the surgeon will place bandages to protect the area and minimise inflammation.
The support corset or girdle
You will need to wear a support corset for 1–4 weeks to allow for proper healing of the skin after mini-abdominoplasty.
A corset is generally useful to reduce swelling and improve comfort in the 1st month.
The compression garment (the corset or girdle) also helps to improve circulation and reduce swelling. Special garments can be purchased online and can be used for the first 2 weeks and long-term recovery for 8 weeks after surgery. Compression garments are available in a wide variety (corsets, girdles with built-in bra or simple elastic girdles).
Mini-abdominoplasty and stretch marks
Stretch marks are the scars that form after extreme stretching of the skin. There is no specific treatment for stretch marks, but with a mini-abdominoplasty many can be removed and those that remain are generally less obvious.
What are the risks after surgery?
In addition to the general risks of surgery, specific risks include:
· difficulty in standing and discomfort, which will improve with time
· numb tummy from 2 weeks to several months
· scars may not heal
Recovery time from a mini-abdominoplasty varies from patient to patient and depends on the overall health of the individual.
You can perform:
· light activities within 10–20 days
· you will not be able to practice sport for about 6 weeks
· work can be resumed after 1 to 3 weeks
Exercises after mini-abdominoplasty
Patients with trained abdominal muscles before surgery can heal within 2 weeks, while untrained individuals will take much longer.
Walking is useful to get back in shape and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Light abdominal exercises can help accelerate recovery and reduce pain and stiffness.
NO intense exercise (to be avoided for at least 6 weeks), such as:
· activity requiring physical exertion
After recovery, it is advisable to start exercising especially if you have never done it before.
After a mini-abdominoplasty an improvement in the body is expected and you should have a flatter abdomen.
The results of a mini-abdominoplasty may be compromised by pregnancy or weight gain.
The scar should be easily covered by underwear and will therefore be invisible.
A healthy and active lifestyle helps to maintain the results of the surgery for more than 10 years.
The beneficial effects of a mini-abdominoplasty will last longer if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, with the habit of constant exercise and proper nutrition to keep your weight under control.