How Long Is Recovery for a Mini Tummy Tuck?

Basics

Woman takes a break after running
A woman with a slender stomach is standing outside. (Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images)

A mini tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure that can remove excess fat and tighten loose skin in the lower abdominal region. The procedure takes about 1 to 2 hours and is utilized by men and women who don't need the extensive work provided by a full abdominoplasty. The side effects of a mini tummy tuck are mainly uncomfortable swelling and tenderness that go away in a couple weeks. A small incision is made above the pubic area and usually some liposuction is performed. Excess skin that is usually the result of weight loss or following pregnancy is cut away. While the belly button is usually repositioned in a full tummy tuck procedure, it is typically left alone during the mini tummy tuck. Small sutures are used to close the incision and tubes are inserted to allow any excess fluid to drain. Elastic bandages cover the surgical area. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and may require only local anesthesia.

Process

A compression garment, or girdle-like apparatus, is required for about 2 to 3 weeks to hold in the results of the procedure and keep the area tight while healing takes place. The compression garment also helps to improve circulation and minimize swelling. Specialty garments can be purchased through online sites; tighter products are used for the first couple weeks following surgery and looser ones for long-term recovery up to 8 weeks. The compression garments come in a variety of shapes, from full-body girdles with bras attached to simple wrap-around elastic braces with Velcro enclosures. Sutures are removed within about 2 weeks. Most patients resume light activity in about 2 days and go back to more strenuous exercise in about a month. Patients usually return to work in 1 to 3 weeks.

Exercises

Recovery time from a mini tummy tuck varies from patient to patient based on the general health of the individual. Those who go into the surgery with strong abdominal muscles can heal in as little as 2 weeks, while those who do not exercise take longer. Small abdominal exercises, such as light crunches, can help to speed up recovery and reduce the amount of pain and stiffness. Walking is encouraged to begin getting back into shape and reduce the chance of blood clots, while strenuous exercise like running and any heavy lifting should be avoided for at least 6 weeks.

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