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Abdominoplasty is a procedure which removes excess skin and stubborn fat around the abdominal area. The procedure is increasing in popularity, particularly in women post-pregnancy but also in men and women who have recently lost a lot of weight. Diet and exercise may not always enough to get rid of the excess skin and stubborn fat deposits and abdominoplasty can be a good solution. 

Abdominoplasty and mini-abdominoplasty are two procedures that aim to reduce the excess tissue to enhance a slimmer figure. In this article, we will share the main differences between the two different types of procedure which may help you in the journey towards deciding which procedure is right for you. 

At CE we love to answer your questions. We know that surgery is a lifelong decision that should only be considered once you have done your research. If you’re at the start of your research journey, why not get in touch with one of our senior consultants today! 

Abdominoplasty vs. Mini Abdominoplasty 

The mini-abdominoplasty is becoming more and more popular as it is less invasive and less painful compared to the traditional abdominoplasty. The surgery involves a smaller incision to remove the excess skin tissue below the belly button and tightens the abdominal muscles.  The traditional abdominoplasty is a bigger procedure as it involves the middle and lower part of the stomach and it often removes a bigger amount of excess skin and fat. This procedure covers the entire abdomen and is more suited for those who have been suffering from obesity or had several pregnancies.  We usually recommend the mini-abdominoplasty for patients needing to remove smaller amounts of excess skin tissue and are in reasonable shape. 

Mini Abdominoplasty 

  • Removes loose skin, and tightens muscles and skin of the lower abdomen
  • Small incision above the pubic bone
  • Liposuction may be used
  • Local or general Anaesthesia
  • Procedure less than two hours
  • Recovery time is 1-3 weeks
  • Thin scar
  • Suitable for people with slight sagging of abdominal skin tissue
  • Cost: from $9,990 

Full Abdominoplasty 

  • Treats muscle separation, and removes and tightens loose skin of the entire abdomen
  • A larger incision along the bikini line
  • Liposuction may be used
  • General Anaesthesia
  • Procedure up to five hours
  • Recovery time is 4-6 weeks
  • The scar can extend from hip bone to hip bone along the bikini line
  • Suitable for people with excessive sagging as a result of pregnancy or drastic weight loss
  • Cost: from $12,490

The difference between the two procedures 

The mini-abdominoplasty can be performed using either local or general anaesthetic depending on the general health of the patient and the individual procedure. A small incision is made usually just above the pubic bone to remove excess fat with liposuction. This all depends on the individual patient since the procedure is custom made for each patient.  Damaged or weakened abdominal muscles are tightened before stretching back the loose skin and any excess will be removed. The procedure usually takes around 2 hours, and the recovery time is commonly 1-3 weeks.  The traditional abdominoplasty is usually done under general anaesthetic due to the larger incision across the stomach. The incision is hidden under the bikini line and in some cases, an additional incision around the belly button is required.  The separated muscles (often due to pregnancy) are being pulled together into position and liposuction may be used to enhance a slimmer figure. The skin is carefully stretched down over the abdominal area and any excess skin is being removed.  The full abdominoplasty can take up to 5 hours, and the recovery time depends a lot on the patient and the extent of the surgery. Many patients can come back to physical activity after 6 weeks. 

What are the differences in risks?

It’s important to know that all surgery comes with risks and we always recommend educating yourself on what these are. As for all surgery – the less invasive the procedure is – the fewer risks will follow.  Some of the short term side effects from mini-abdominoplasty may be swelling and discomfort which can be controlled and soothed with medication. The long term risks include numbness, bleeding and infection. The traditional abdominoplasty includes similar side effects to the mini-abdominoplasty as well as tiredness, bruising and slight numbness. In some rare cases, complications like infections, bleeding and blood clots can occur.  For a non-smoking patient with good general health, complications are rare. To minimise risk for complications and to help the recovery, it’s very important, to be honest with your surgeon about your medical history and health conditions. Following your surgeon’s instructions post-procedure is a crucial factor to a good recovery. 


Which procedure is right for me?

Before considering abdominoplasty it is important to know that the procedure should never be considered as a weight-loss option. Patients who are likely to go up or down in body weight should postpone the surgery until they’ve reached a stable weight. The same applies to women who are considering another pregnancy, since the abdominal muscles may separate again. Women and men who have lost a lot of weight and as a result have excess skin on their lower abdominal, or older patients who are suffering from reduced skin elasticity can also benefit from the procedure.  The traditional abdominoplasty is well suited for people who wish to get rid of larger fat deposits and a lot of excess skin. This procedure is also good for women who are suffering from separated or damaged core muscles as a result of pregnancy.  The mini-abdominoplasty is more suite for people who are at reasonably normal body weight and are suffering from minor sagging and wish to sculpt their body. 

Both procedures have the potential to help your body confidence and self-esteem, deciding which surgery is right for you will depend on your body type and expectations of the result.

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