What is a mini abdominoplasty?
I have to agree that it is a confusing term. There is no standard agreement as to what is involved. This is what makes it dangerous. It allows anyone to come up with their own definition, confuse consumers, and take advantage of the confusion created.
For some a mini abdominoplasty is a small, ill-defined procedure on the abdomen to improve its appearance. There is intentional vagueness as to what the intervention entails in order to take advantage of the patient.
For some a mini abdominoplasty is standard abdominoplasty, with the procedure done on someone with a small deformity and through a smaller incision.
For some a mini abdominoplasty is a procedure that concentrates its effort in the area of the lower abdomen between the umbilicus and the pubic hairline, tightening the muscles of the lower abdomen and removing excess skin.
For some a mini abdominoplasty entails the excision of skin from the lower abdomen, and on occasion liposuction of the upper abdomen is included, but there is no muscle correction.
These various possibilities create confusion as to the surgical time the procedure takes to perform, the recovery time involved, what outcome is to be expected and what a fair cost should be. The lack of clarity prevents interested people from having a clear value proposition.
In order to properly define a “mini abdominoplasty” let’s first identify the elements in a standard abdominoplasty and see which ones are included in a mini-abdominoplasty.
In a standard abdominoplasty:
1- Excess skin is removed through an incision at the pubic hairline.
2- Muscle relaxation and the occasional hernia are corrected by tightening the abdominal wall muscle and providing a strong platform on which to re-drape the skin.
3- As the skin is pulled down the belly button (umbilicus) has to be addressed. It cannot be eliminated nor can it be pulled down towards the hairline. So a specialized incision needs to be made around the umbilicus leaving it attached to the abdominal wall like a flower on a stalk. The abdominal skin is separated from the umbilicus and the abdominal muscles underneath, and an attempt is made to remove then skin segment between the belly button and the pubic hairline. The belly button is then brought out through an incision in the pulled down skin.
Sometimes included in an abdominoplasty is the suctioning of the upper abdomen and sides.
For everybody the relocation of the umbilicus on the abdominal wall skin as part of a standard abdominoplasty. The mini abdominoplasty does not involve an incision around the umbilicus in order to allow its relocation.
What are the choices in a mini abdominoplasty?
Type I involves a skin excision over the pubic hairline with or without liposuction of some part of the abdomen.
Type II involves type I and tightening of the abdominal muscles below the umbilicus without its relocation.
Type III also called “umbilical float” procedure involves keeping the umbilicus attached to the skin around it separating the whole abdominal skin and bellybutton from the muscles underneath tightening the abdominal muscles. As the skin is pulled down the umbilicus is relocated one inch lower than its original position and extra skin is removed at the pubic hairline incision.