What’s the difference between a mini and a major abdominoplasty?


This is an often asked question for patient’s seeking an improvement in the appearance of the abdomen.  Depending on the amount of skin and muscle laxity on the abdomen, you may be a candidate for a full or major abdominoplasty versus a mini or partial abdominoplasty.  The mini abdominoplasty addresses skin laxity only below the umbilicus (belly button).  This procedure will not correct loose skin above the umbilicus and is the best procedure for a man or woman who has a minimal amount skin and muscle laxity after pregnancy or weight gain and loss.  The incision is shorter than that for a major abdominoplasty but is in the same position, just above the pubic hairline.  The amount of skin removed for a mini abdominoplasty is less than that removed for a major abdominoplasty and the muscle plication (tightening of the rectus abdominus muscle fascia) is done only below the belly button. This helps to flatten the abdomen further.   Another difference between the two surgeries is the recovery time.  Since less skin is removed and less muscle is tightened, the mini abdominoplasty usually involves less overall bruising, swelling, pain and recovery time.  The recovery time is usually one week to ten days.

The major abdominoplasty corrects both skin and muscle laxity of both the upper and lower abdominal areas.  It is the best procedure for a person who has significant stretch marks, loose skin and extra fat in both the upper and lower abdominal areas.  The scars for this procedure are around the umbilicus and a long scar above the pubic hairline.  This procedure will tighten the muscle fascia from the top of the abdomen down to the lower abdominal incision.  The recovery for a major abdominoplasty is two to three weeks.

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