Abdominoplasty, or the tummy tuck, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures performed today. This procedure is for women who have distention in the abdomen made up of fat and excess skin that may have developed as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.
Many women may not realize that there are actually two abdominoplasty surgeries: the full tummy tuck and the mini tummy tuck. Below, we will discuss the differences between the full tummy tuck vs. mini tummy tuck.
The Mini Tummy Tuck or Modified Abdominoplasty
The mini tummy tuck, or modified abdominoplasty, is for patients whose problem area is limited to below the belly button. The mini tummy tuck uses a short transverse incision that falls below the bikini line. The skin in the lower abdomen is lifted and any muscle separation in the area is repaired. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat in the area, then the incision is closed, with excess skin being removed at that time. The mini tummy tuck can usually be done as an outpatient procedure. Patients can typically return to work within a week or so however your recover time could vary based on your circumstances.
Full Tummy Tuck or Standard Abdominoplasty
The full tummy tuck, or standard abdominoplasty, is for patients who have to address excess skin, fullness, and muscle separation that exists in both the upper and lower abdominal areas. The full tummy tuck involves a somewhat longer incision than the mini tummy tuck, but this incision is also below the bikini line. This longer incision allows for a larger area of the abdomen to be addressed. A section of skin (a flap) is elevated over the whole abdomen so the surgeon can reach areas above the belly button. The procedure is similar to the modified abdominoplasty in that muscle separation is repaired, then excess fat and skin are removed. The full tummy tuck usually requires the patient to stay overnight in the hospital with many patients being able to go back to work in about 10-12 days. Of course, these times can vary from patient to patient, so adhering to your doctor’s instructions is important.
Tummy Tuck with Progressive Tension Sutures
Tummy tucks performed by many surgeons require the placement of surgical drains (typically 2 or 3) in order to prevent a buildup of fluid at the surgical site. These drains, which will be left at the surgical site for several weeks, can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for the patient. Dr. Pollock uses the innovative progressive tension sutures (PTS) technique during tummy tuck surgery. Pioneered by Drs. Todd and Harlan Pollock, the PTS technique advances and anchors the skin to the underlying tissues, allowing for superior surgical results and a much improved, easier recovery for the patient that is drain free!
Some of the benefits of a tummy tuck with PTS include:
- Distribution of tension over the entire surface of the skin, for enhanced skin draping;
- Tensionless skin closure for minimized scarring;
- Direct suture of the bellybutton from under the skin, for more natural appearance;
- Secure anchoring of skin to underlying tissue, eliminating need for drains,
- Improved skin flap anchoring, allowing for quicker return to upright posture, faster healing
If you have questions about the full tummy tuck vs. the mini tummy tuck, contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Todd Pollock, pioneer of the PTS technique, at North Dallas Plastic Surgery. He’ll advise you on whether you’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck, then help you determine which of the tummy tuck procedures is right for you.