With age, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy, the skin stretches. These are all normal life events that can cause excess skin on the abdomen. An Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic procedure that can remove this loose skin on the belly after weight loss, remove some of the stretch marks after pregnancy, and help get rid of persistent fat deposits.
After pregnancy, you may also have split tummy muscles or diastasis recti. A full abdominoplasty includes a split tummy muscle repair whereas a mini abdominoplasty is a procedure to just remove excess fat and skin below the belly button only.
A mini abdominoplasty surgery is similar to a full abdominoplasty except that it targets the stretched skin and extra fat in the lower belly area only. A mini abdominoplasty can also be combined with other procedures, like liposuction and breast surgery.
For some people, the excess skin and fat are limited to the area below the belly button and they don’t have a lot of it. A mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty, or mini abdominoplasty, can be suitable for those individuals who are thinner and have less extra skin and fat they want to get rid of.
UPDATE – NEW 30175 MEDICARE ITEM NUMBER – The Australian Government has a NEW Medicare Item Number for a Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty for some eligible post-pregnancy patients with 3cm+ Diastasis Recti (Split Tummy Muscles) if you are eligible and meet the new medical criteria. This new 30175 Medicare Item Number – is effective from 1st July 2022. Read the 30175 Medicare Item Number factsheet.
If you qualify for the 30175 Medicare item number you may also get a subsidy from your Health Fund. There will still be a significant out-of-pocket GAP as Private Tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty surgery is NOT FREE.
Dr Hunt and Dr Maryam are both Specialist Plastic surgeons with an interest in cosmetic surgery for the body. Dr Hunt has years of experience in performing mini-abdominoplasty for patients in Wollongong and Sydney.
Our surgeons tailor each mini abdominoplasty surgery to meet the cosmetic goals of the patients. A mini abdominoplasty can remove excess abdominal skin with a less invasive approach compared to a full abdominoplasty. Do you want a skin-only tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty or do you need a muscle repair too?
Guide to Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty
What Is a Mini Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty?
A mini tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is an abdominoplasty that removes lax skin and accumulated fat mainly in the lower abdomen. It is considered a less invasive procedure than a full abdominoplasty. A full tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty surgery can fix your postpartum fat deposits, abdominal hernia, and muscle laxity in the lower abdomen.
After pregnancy or weight loss, you can lose muscle tone and skin elasticity in your abdominal area. For some people, the problem area is restricted to the lower part of the abdomen:
- Extra fat and loose skin below the belly button
- Muscle laxity under the navel
The mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty addresses the area below the belly button.
How Is a Mini Abdominoplasty Different from a Full Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty?
Both the full abdominoplasty and mini abdominoplasty are designed to remove loose skin and fat build-up from the stomach area. They both tighten the abdomen and make it flat again.
However, unlike a full tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty, a mini abdominoplasty:
- Involves a smaller incision (around 15-20 cm long) that doesn’t go all the way to the sides of the hips
- Removes less skin and fat compared to a full abdominoplasty
- Only works on the lower abdomen; it does not address the upper abdomen
- Does not reposition the belly button
In general, a full abdominoplasty works on a larger area of the stomach than a mini abdominoplasty, which focuses on the lower parts of the stomach. In addition, a full abdominoplasty involves a longer incision and more skin and fat removal than a mini abdominoplasty.
Who Needs a Mini Tummy Tuck/ abdominoplasty?
A mini abdominoplasty procedure can be suitable for people who have lost weight or given birth but are not able to lose stubborn lower belly fat with diet and exercise.
This procedure often suits candidates who:
- Are thin but have excess skin and fat above their pubic area
- Have a small pouch of fat at the front of their lower abs
- Have a flat upper tummy with a lower belly bulge
- Are satisfied with the way their upper abdomen and hips look
What Are The Benefits of a Mini Tummy Tuck/ abdominoplasty?
In case you have minimal loose skin in your lower abdominal region, a mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty procedure can offer the following advantages over a full abdominoplasty:
- Less invasive (less skin and fat removal)
- Smaller incision and a smaller scar
- Less demanding (takes less time, about an hour and a half)
- Can be done using local anaesthesia
- Shorter recovery time than more invasive procedures
- Can pull the belly button down (this can work for women whose belly button is shifted upwards in an abnormal position after pregnancy)
Despite being a less demanding procedure, a mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty needs great surgical skills to perform successfully. Also please note that the benefits of the procedure may not apply to everyone, and you should thoroughly discuss your expectations with a surgeon before you make your decision.
How Is a Mini Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Performed?
A mini abdominoplasty surgery can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. During the procedure, Dr Hunt or Dr Maryam will do the following:
- First, a horizontal incision (around 15-20 cm long) is done, similar to a C-section incision, really low down the abdomen just above the pubic area (along the bikini line)
- After that, your surgeon will separate the fat layer from the deep muscle layer, all the way up to the belly button without repositioning the navel
- Following this, the deep abdominal muscles and connective tissue are pulled tightly together and held together with strong sutures
- Afterward, your surgeon will be able to pull the overlying skin and fat downwards to repair the stretched abdomen and flatten the stretch marks
- Then, excess skin and fat (usually a minimal amount) are cut out
- Lastly, your surgeon will suture the skin back together using fine sutures
A mini abdominoplasty surgery usually lasts between one and a half to three hours. After your surgery, your wound will be covered by wound dressing and you will be transferred to the recovery room.
Recovery after a Mini Tummy Tuck/ abdominoplasty
Mini abdominoplasty is less demanding than a full abdominoplasty, hence it often has a shorter recovery time. But you’ll still need to take your recovery seriously and follow instructions so that you don’t increase your risks. During your postoperative recovery from a mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty you can expect:
- Belly swelling: most of the swelling subsides within 4 to 6 weeks. After that, a minimal amount of swelling remains that could take a few more months to resolve
- Bruising: bruising in your abdomen will peak during the first few days following your surgery before resolving around 2 weeks later
- Pain: postoperative pain might be experienced during the first week following the surgery. The pain and discomfort should completely subside 2 weeks after your mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty
- You might have to stay for a night at the hospital for observation after mini abdominoplasty surgery
- Your surgeon may place drains underneath your skin to prevent fluid accumulation. These are normally taken out a couple of days later
- You might be asked to wear compression garments for two to six weeks to speed up your healing after mini abdominoplasty
- You can usually return to normal activity, like working and driving, within about a week following your surgery
- You will mostly be able to go back to all forms of exercise, including heavy lifting, at about six weeks after a mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty
Every patient will have a slightly different recovery timeline after their tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty surgery depending on the extent of removed skin, age, body weight, and overall health condition. Nevertheless, full recovery after a mini abdominoplasty usually takes about 4-6 weeks.
Your surgeon will follow up with you for a couple of months after your mini-abdominoplasty surgery to make sure your wound is healing nicely and your scar continues to improve.
Potential Risks and Complications of a Mini Tummy Tuck/ abdominoplasty
Just like a full abdominoplasty, a mini abdominoplasty can have some complications including:
- Seroma (fluid build-up under the skin): drainage tubes, and sometimes a syringe, are used to remove the accumulated fluid after your surgery
- Hematoma (blood collection under the skin): some bruises after surgery are a result of pooled blood under the skin
- Skin numbness: the incision and repositioning of skin and muscles in your abdomen can affect the nerves in that area. The reduced sensation or numbness lasts for a few weeks after surgery
- Wound infection: it’s very important to inform your surgeon about any redness around your wound, excessive swelling, chills, or fever. These could be signs of postoperative wound infection
- Skin necrosis (rare complication): injury to some blood vessels during surgery could disrupt the blood flow to the skin surface. This causes skin tissue death known as skin necrosis
To avoid possible complications after your surgery, it’s very important that you carefully choose the right plastic surgeon for your mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty. Our surgeons use their surgical skills and experience to meet the patient’s desired outcomes.
Can a Mini Tummy Tuck/ abdominoplasty Be Combined With Other Procedures?
Yes, a mini abdominoplasty can be combined with other procedures. A mini abdominoplasty does not usually improve the appearance of the upper abdomen. It can be combined with liposuction to get rid of fat accumulated around the hips and upper abdomen. Liposuction can also help address the area around the belly, hips, and pubic area (mons or FUPA). Read our blog on How to Get Rid of FUPA – A Fat Upper Pubic Area.
A post-pregnancy mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty can also be combined with breast augmentation mammoplasty, reduction mammoplasty, or lift mastopexy surgery as a part of a full Post Pregnancy Surgery. Dr Hunt frequently performs this kind of combined surgical procedure to restore the pre-pregnancy body with one recovery period. Dr Maryam can also combine abdominoplasty surgery with Labiaplasty.
How Much Does a Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Cost?
During your consultation, your surgeon will give you an estimation of how much your abdominoplasty surgery will cost. In some cases, Medicare covers abdominoplasty after significant weight loss. So you might be eligible for a rebate and partial health insurance coverage.
Mini Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty FAQs
What is the least invasive tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty?
- A mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty is considered less invasive than a full abdominoplasty because it involves a smaller incision.
What helps reduce swelling after a mini abdominoplasty?
- Compression garments and anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by your surgeon help reduce your post-op swelling.
Can I sleep on my stomach after a mini abdominoplasty?
- You should avoid sleeping on your stomach for about 4 weeks after your mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty so your tummy can heal and recover properly. Avoid putting pressure on the incision. Read our blog on How to Sleep After Abdominoplasty.
How long does it take for the scar to heal?
- The scar from your mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty surgery will gradually heal over the months after your surgery. It can take about a year before the scar finishes maturing. Scar minimisation treatments are available.
How much weight do you lose after the procedure?
- A mini abdominoplasty is not a weight-loss procedure. Nonetheless, the excess skin and fat removed can take between 2 to 5 kg out of your weight. Additional liposuction can help you lose more.
Is it normal to look the same in the procedure?
- Good candidates for mini tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty surgery should end up with pleasing results and look better. Make sure you choose a specialist plastic surgeon to give you optimal results.
Further Reading about Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty Surgery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Patient Case Study of Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Patients Before and After Photos
- Read Dr Hunt’s blog about Bruising and Swelling after Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Surgery
Medical References – Mini Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Surgery Sydney
- Abdominoplasty – Mayo Clinic
- Abdominoplasty – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf
- Clinics in Plastic Surgery | Abdominoplasty | ScienceDirect.com by Elsevier
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing breast, body, face and nose surgery in Australia. He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A. Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and a member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If breast reduction mammoplasty is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.