The pros and cons
of mini versus
full tummy tucks
- Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy Tuck Surgery
- Do I need to
have my tummy ...
What is tummy tuck surgery?
Tummy tuck removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the lower part of the tummy. It is usually performed on people who have excess skin as a result of having babies, or people who have lost significant amounts of weight causing loose skin in this region.
During the surgery, the tummy muscles can be tightened up to improve the appearance of your waistline.
What is involved?
The type of tummy tuck best suited to you depends on the appearance of your abdomen:
- Mini tummy tuck is suitable if you have minimum excess of skin below the tummy button
- Full tummy tuck is most often used if you have more excess skin between the tummy button and your pubic skin region
In both mini and full tummy tucks, the muscles in the tummy can be repaired. These are called the rectus-abdominis muscles (which, in Latin means the “straight” muscles).
Normally located at the front of your tummy, it is these rectus-abdominis muscles which can give the “6-pack” appearance in people with minimal fat deposits in their tummy area. After pregnancy or weight-loss, these muscles are stretched apart and may not go back fully together. This split in the rectus muscles is called a diastasis, which literally means “moving apart”.
During surgery, these muscles can be stitched back together in their correct position. You may notice increased ability to perform activities such as sit-ups. In addition, placing muscles in their correct position can help improve backache and improve your posture.
In a full tummy tuck:
- Your surgeon will remove all the excess skin between your pubic skin area and your tummy button
- The skin is then brought down and the skin that was above your tummy button is sewn to that above your pubic skin area
- If you do have a scar from a caesarean or hysterectomy, this will be removed at the same time
- Your tummy button is isolated on a stalk with its blood supply brought through a new hole in the skin, which is brought downwards
- This results in a much flatter appearance to your tummy, with removal of the excess skin and repair of your muscles if appropriate
- Your surgery takes approximately 2 hours to perform and you will normally stay approximately 1-2 nights in hospital
When you wake up from your operation, you will have light tape dressings on your incisions and, usually, two small drainage tubes inserted.
On the day following surgery, we will encourage you to move gently and, on most occasions, remove the two drainage tubes.
At that point, you will be fitted with a compression garment to support your tummy. You will be encouraged to wear this for 6 weeks following the operation.
You will usually go home 2 days following the operation and be seen in the Dressings Clinic one week later. In the Dressings Clinic, the ends of your absorbable stitches will be trimmed and tape re-applied.
During the first week following surgery, it is best to avoid driving. If you have small children, you will need help at home looking after and lifting them.
Most people return to driving around 1 week after surgery, but it is best to start with short distances initially. Most people have approximately 2-3 weeks off work following tummy tuck procedure.
The recovery is slightly slower if you have had your muscles repaired and you may notice more tenderness.
We will keep a close eye on you after your surgery and would normally see you for your follow-up appointment 6 weeks following surgery, at which point your post-operative photographs will be taken.
When the excess skin is removed from your tummy and your muscles repaired you are unlikely to develop excess skin or splitting of the muscles unless:
- You have further pregnancies
- You put on a significant amount of weight
Generally we advise you that tummy tuck procedures should be performed after you have completed your family. It is possible to get pregnant and have children following your tummy tuck but this will undo some of the corrective surgery that was involved in the tummy tuck procedure.
Our surgeons will aim to locate any scars within any underwear or swimwear that you tend to wear and these scars will normally be initially red before fading to pink and, finally, a silvery colour.
For further information about what is involved in a tummy tuck, you can listen to our audio patient testimonials and, if you are not too squeamish, watch a video of Mr. Richards performing the operation itself.