Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery: Here's What to Expect - Harley Clinic (2023)

A mini tummy tuck, or mini abdominoplasty, is a type of tummy tuck procedure that offers the added benefit of a shorter recovery. Instead of focusing on the whole abdomen, a mini tummy tuck primarily targets the lower abdomen. Here’s what to expect after your mini tummy tuck.

What is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

A mini tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin from the lower abdomen. You have only 1 incision across the lower abdomen with no incision around the belly button. This means that your surgeon can only tighten the abdomen muscles and remove excess skin from the lower abdomen.

If you’re unwanted fat and excess skin is mainly in the lower belly, you may be a suitable candidate for a mini tummy tuck. You should be in good physical health and at a stable weight to go ahead with any type of cosmetic surgery, whether it’s a mini or full tummy tuck.

Who is a Good Mini Tummy Tuck Candidate?

The best mini tummy tuck candidates are patients who have minimal amounts of excess skin and fat in the tummy region. They want to have a firmer, more toned stomach. If you have a lot of excess skin and fat above the belly button, or you have lost a significant amount of weight, then you may be a suitable candidate for a full tummy tuck. You should be a non-smoker at a stable and healthy weight.

Why Should You Consider a Mini Tummy Tuck?

Partial abdominoplasty, or mini tummy tuck, has grown in popularity as one of the best cosmetic procedures to transform the stubborn fat pockets and excess skin that plague the lower abdomen due to multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss. If you are considering a mini tummy tuck to improve your abdominal contour, you may have wondered what the procedure involves. You may even wonder if you should go for a full tummy tuck rather than a mini tummy tuck. Here are a few reasons why you should consider a mini tummy tuck:

(Video) What is the downtime when one goes for a Mini Tummy Tuck? - Dr. Srikanth V

Reduced Scarring

Scars are common with most invasive cosmetic procedures. However, the severity of the scarring will depend on the type of procedure. Individuals who opt for a mini tummy tuck typically experience less scarring than those who undergo a full tummy tuck due to the smaller size incision. A full abdominoplasty involves the surgeon making a hip-to-hip incision across your abdomen. During a mini tummy tuck, the doctor strategically places a smaller incision in the lower abdomen above the pubic mound making it less noticeable when you wear clothing like bikinis. Provided you follow all your doctor’s post-operative instructions, tummy tuck scars usually heal after a year, during which they become less noticeable.

Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery: Here's What to Expect - Harley Clinic (1)

Fewer Side Affects

The less invasive a cosmetic procedure is, the lower the risk of side effects, and a mini tummy tuck is no different. The less invasive nature of a mini tummy tuck means easier recovery time and less pain since the upper abdomen isn’t affected and the required incision is much smaller. Expect some bruising, tenderness, and swelling in the treatment area. Usually, these symptoms resolve in two weeks, and your doctor will provide medication to ensure a comfortable recovery.

Shorter Recovery Time

This is one of the main reasons why some chose a mini tummy tuck over a traditional abdominoplasty. A mini tummy tuck is minimally invasive, thus requiring a shorter recovery period. The surgery takes about two hours to complete, and you wouldn’t even need an overnight stay at the hospital. In most cases, you can resume light activities in two weeks. However, avoid strenuous activities for at least six weeks to allow your body to heal. Your doctor will require you towear a compression garmentaround your abdomen for 3 to 6 weeks following the procedure. A compression garment helps compress the abdomen to enhance the results and minimise swelling.

What to Expect After Your Mini Tummy Tuck?

The recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is around 6 weeks. Patients with strong abdominal muscles may even feel back to normal in as little as 2 weeks. As everyone heals at a different rate, some patients may recover faster or slower than others. Here’s what to expect after your mini tummy tuck:

  • 4-5 days – some mild to moderate pain and discomfort. Your surgeon will advise you on how to manage any pain you have.
  • 1 week – in the first week, try to avoid unnecessary straining.
  • 1-2 weeks – resume light exercise like walking
  • 3-4 weeks – most of the swelling will subside.
  • 6 weeks – avoid strenuous exercise and activity for at least 6 weeks. You will need to wear your compression garment for up this time.

There will be swelling and discomfort after your procedure, so it’s important that you arrange for someone to pick you up and drive you home after the surgery. You will need to avoid driving until further down the recovery timeline. You will also need some help getting to your follow up appointments before you can start driving comfortably.

(Video) Tummy Tuck Recovery: What to Expect, Timeline, Tips and More

In the first week, you will be wearing a compression garment. A post-operative compression garment helps to reduce swelling, take the pressure off the wound site, and aid recovery. It can take a little time to get used to wearing it, but it’s important you wear your compression garment for optimal results.

It’s difficult to give a precise time for recovery, but this timeline gives you a good idea of what to expect. Even though you’re still healing after several weeks, the main recovery time is about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you can mostly return to normal activities, except for very strenuous exercise.

In general, the recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is shorter than a full tummy tuck. But, if you need your muscles repaired, then it may take a little longer. Without muscle repair, you could be driving again after 1 week, and with muscle repair, you would be looking at waiting 2 weeks until you can drive.

Mini Tummy Tuck Before and After

Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery: Here's What to Expect - Harley Clinic (2)

Preparing for Your Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery

For a smooth and seamless recovery, it’s a good idea to prepare your recovery space ahead of time. Here are some tips to help set you up for a comfortable mini tummy recovery:

  • Stop smoking
  • Book time off work
  • Prep healthy meals
  • Stock up on extra pillows
  • Eat well
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions before and after the procedure

Following your mini tummy tuck, you may have to sleep on an incline for the first few days. Keeping the upper body slightly raised with the knees bent at an angle helps minimise swelling. Stacking up pillows underneath your knees can also help ease the pressure on your abdomen. Your doctor should advise you on how to sleep after your surgery.

(Video) Tummy Tuck REVEAL! #shorts #tummytuck

Once you get home and begin recovery, try and move as much as possible, even if it means walking around the house. Moving helps keep the blood flowing, reducing the risk of blood clots in the legs and maximising recovery.

Your doctor will also advise on the optimal resting position to avoid straining your incision. Make sure you rest as much as possible to aid in recovery. It may take a few weeks to feel fully back to normal. You won’t be able to do some things like driving following your procedure for a few weeks. Your activities will also be limited to only light activities until after four to six weeks.

What are the Possible Side Effects of a Mini Tummy Tuck?

You will experience the most intense pain the first few days following the procedure. You can manage the pain through pain medication prescribed by your doctor. You might also experience swelling that can take up to three months to resolve. Due to the incision, your abdomen may also feel like it’s being pulled whenever you try standing up straight.

Some people also experience numbness in the abdomen for months. It’s normal to have bruising along the incision and the surrounding areas. You might also have fluid-filled swelling above your tummy tuck scar. This should go away as you recover. A tummy tuck will often result in a scar which may appear raised and red at first but should continue fading over the next year, becoming almost invisible.

When Will You See Your Mini Tummy Tuck Results?

(Video) How Long Does Recovery Take For A Tummy Tuck? | Abdominoplasty Surgery Recovery Guide

Following your surgery, you will see the results immediately. But you will also have some swelling, so you won’t be able to see your full results quite yet. During your recovery, you will wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks. This is to reduce swelling and aid your recovery. It can take up to 3 months to see your final result.

Mini Tummy Tuck Scars

Once your scar is healed, you can start to think about scar management. Initially, your scar will look red, which is entirely normal. Over time, scars fade and lighten. There are things you can do to help improve the appearance of your scar, like using silicone tape and following your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Creating a neat and well-hidden scar is a key part of the procedure. This is why it’s so important to choose a plastic surgeon with experience in creating inconspicuous scars.

The aim of a mini tummy tuck is always to create the smallest scar possible. The scar will be placed in the underwear or bikini line so that you won’t be able to see it in swimwear. The precise size of the scar is largely dependent on the amount of excess skin you need to remove.

Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery: Here's What to Expect - Harley Clinic (3)

Is a Mini Tummy Tuck Permanent?

A mini tummy tuck is permanent, but it doesn’t make you immune to weight changes. Weight gain and pregnancy can cause the skin and stomach muscles to stretch, which can impact your results.

Mini Tummy Tuck UK at the Harley Clinic

The Harley Clinic has state-of-the-art facilities and uses the latest techniques in cosmetic surgery. We offer tummy tucks both with and without drains, as well as mini tummy tucks.

(Video) Tummy Tucks: With Or Without Drains? - Drainless VS Drains Abdominoplasty Surgery | Harley Clinic

If you want to start your mini tummy tuck journey, book a consultation today at The Harley Clinic.

Further Reading:

  • Simple Aftercare: 5 Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips
  • Tummy Tuck for Men: Here’s What to Expect
  • Does a Tummy Tuck Scar Fade? (+ 7 Simple Recovery Tips)
  • MiniTummy Tuck Recovery Tips for Optimal Healing


What is the average recovery time for a mini tummy tuck? ›

On average, it takes approximately 1 to 2 weeks to recover from a mini-tummy tuck procedure. A supportive garment will be provided to you that will need to be worn for a few weeks after the surgery. Initially, you should expect a few days of swelling and bruising with discomfort which is treated with mild analgesics.

How long does it take for swelling to go down after a mini tummy tuck? ›

The majority of swelling resolves after approximately two months. About 80% of the swelling should subside, but many patients have minor swelling that can persist up to one year after surgery.

Is a mini tummy tuck a faster recovery? ›

One of the best things about a mini tummy tuck is that it is a less invasive procedure that results in a faster recovery time. This means that you can expect healing to be smoother and more comfortable and that you'll take less time off work. The scar heals much faster and there is minimal swelling.

How painful is mini tummy tuck? ›

Patients do not experience pain during their procedure. After the skin and muscles of the lower abdomen are tightened, patients may feel sore, tight, and tender for several days. Comfort can be maintained with rest, limited activity, and appropriate medication.

How do you sit after a mini tummy tuck? ›

However, this jackknifed position is critical for the first week, even when attempting to sit or lie down. The knees should be lifted, the feet and the head should maintain an elevated position whether it's with pillows or with a recliner chair.

Does drinking water help with swelling after tummy tuck? ›

Try This to Reduce Swelling from a Tummy Tuck

However, by making sure to drink enough water, you can possibly decrease swelling, as well as prevent post-op constipation. Compress It – Wearing a compression garment as recommended by your plastic surgeon, can help the swelling go down and even provide additional support.

Why is my pubic area swollen after tummy tuck? ›

Swelling in the pubic region after tummy tuck surgery is not uncommon. It can due to liposuction being performed in which cases it may take a few months to resolve. This area also has numerous lymphatic channels and swelling can persist for several months.

Where is the most swelling after tummy tuck? ›

3 weeks after a tummy tuck, swelling is common to occur in the lower abdominal area, and patients will even experience hardness around the belly button. 3 months after a tummy tuck, major swelling in the lower abdomen should begin to subside, but mild swelling and puffiness may still be present.

When can I wear jeans after mini tummy tuck? ›

When can I wear jeans after a tummy tuck? Most patients after tummy tuck surgery feel comfortable wearing jeans about 3-4 weeks after surgery. This gives time for the drains to be removed (if they were used), the incision to heal and some of the swelling to go down.

What helps swelling after mini tummy tuck? ›

How to Reduce Bruising and Swelling After Tummy Tuck Surgery
  1. Rest as Much as Possible. ...
  2. Stick to a Healthy Diet. ...
  3. Minimise Your Sodium Intake. ...
  4. Drink Lots of Water. ...
  5. Gentle Exercise. ...
  6. Use a Compression Garment. ...
  7. Take Your Prescribed Medications on Time. ...
  8. Maintain Your Drainage Tubes (if needed)
May 20, 2022

Are muscles tightened in mini tummy tuck? ›

A mini tummy tuck tightens and flattens the area below the belly button, and does not address loose skin or separated muscles in the middle or upper abdomen. The incision is typically 6 to 12 inches shorter than the incision made for a full tummy tuck.

What are the most painful days after a tummy tuck? ›

The most serious pain following abdominoplasty lasts for the first 3 days. In fact, it is not unusual to regret surgery during this time. However, it is still possible to walk and to do the basic things necessary to take care of one's self.

Why is my tummy not flat after mini tummy tuck? ›

Sometimes people do not have a totally flat abdomen after tummy tuck even though the excess skin and fat is removed due to the fact that the intra-abdominal contents still remain intact and are still behind the tightened abdominal muscles.

What happens to belly button in mini tummy tuck? ›

The surgical improvements are limited to the lower abdomen, and the belly button is not modified at all. When the tummy tuck procedure is performed correctly by an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Cabrera, the belly button looks completely natural. It usually looks even better than it did before the surgery!

How do you sit on the toilet after a tummy tuck? ›

Toilet Seat Booster

Generally, toilets are fairly low to the ground and we don't realize this until some part of our legs, pelvis or core is sore. After a tummy tuck, getting low enough to sit down on the toilet can be difficult and uncomfortable. A toilet seat booster may just be your new best friend.

How long do you have to sleep elevated after a tummy tuck? ›

One factor determining how long you'll need to sleep in an elevated position is the type of abdominoplasty you receive. Generally, mini tummy tuck patients require 1-3 weeks of elevated sleeping, while full-tummy tuck patients require 4-6 weeks.

How long do I sleep reclined after tummy tuck? ›

Plastic surgery recovery from a miniature tummy tuck only requires 1 – 3 weeks of resting in a reclined position, while a full or extended tummy tuck may take about 4 – 6 weeks. Patients can modify their beds with pillows to maintain a bent posture during sleep.

Why do I pee so much after tummy tuck? ›

Because the body has a tendency of holding onto water during surgery, most patients will experience a diuresis in the first 4-7 days after surgery. During this time trips to the bathroom can be quite frequent as your body begins to get rid of the additional water weight. Hope this helps.

What foods reduce swelling after tummy tuck? ›

To heal quickly and keep swelling to a minimum, eat plenty of lean protein, healthy fats, and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Lower your sodium intake and drink plenty of water to prevent your body from holding onto excess fluids.

What are the best foods to eat after tummy tuck? ›

There are no specific restrictions immediately after a tummy tuck. However, you may want to keep your diet light for the next several days. Start with clear liquids, such as water, then move on to a soft diet of raw fruits and vegetables, whole-grain cereals, yogurt, soft cheeses, soups, and pudding.

Does FUPA go away after tummy tuck? ›

The definitive way to be completely rid of a FUPA, if you are done having kids, is a Tummy Tuck.

Does walking reduce swelling after surgery? ›

Walking is important. It helps to prevent blood clots, it will help reduce swelling, and it is good for the lungs after surgery.

What is the most painful cosmetic surgery recovery list? ›

Many patients suggest that the Brazilian butt lift is the most painful surgery. This is followed by the tummy tuck, breast implants, liposuction, breast lifts and reductions, and jaw surgery. Dental implants can also cause much pain, as you still need to eat in the healing process.

Why do I have a muffin top after tummy tuck? ›

Thinned out muscles and their lining causes this muffin top deformity in some patients. This occurs following muscle tightening if the increased tension makes the muscle and lining stretch out again. The medical terminology for thinned out muscles is muscle attenuation.

Does your waist size change after a tummy tuck? ›

A properly performed tummy tuck can reduce your waist size and help you feel confident about your curves again. Some patients may lose many inches off their waist, while others will see more subtle results. It all depends on how much tissue can be removed safely.

How much should I walk after tummy tuck? ›

Most of the swelling will fade away two weeks after the surgery. At this point, you can start walking twice a day for fifteen to twenty minutes. Do not opt for any other exercises as your body is still in the initial phases of recovery. You can increase the duration of your walks after the four weeks marker.

When did you start driving after tummy tuck? ›

You may be able to drive and return to a desk job as early as two weeks after a tummy tuck. If your work requires heavy lifting or strenuous activity, you will need to wait at least four to six weeks.

When can I shower alone after tummy tuck? ›

Post-Plastic Surgery Showing Tips

While recovery is unique for each individual, it is generally recommended that showering be avoided for 48 hours after plastic surgery. This allows your incisions time to begin the healing process and helps prevent premature scab removal.

When does swelling peak after tummy tuck? ›

You can expect swelling after tummy tuck surgery to occur over the first few days with a peak at days 3-5. A significant amount of your swelling and/or bruising will come down by three weeks post op.

How tight should my binder be after tummy tuck? ›

Dressing Care: You will have an abdominal binder put on at the time of surgery. It should be snug but not too tight. It should be comfortable to wear.

How tight should a compression garment be? ›

A compression garment should only exert gentle, supportive pressure, so it should lay flat and smooth on the skin. As a general rule, the correct tightness for your compression garment leaves space to slide a hand under without difficulty.

Do they remove fat in a mini tummy tuck? ›

A mini tummy tuck process removes excess skin and fat in the abdominal area. As a result, a youthful-looking contour is restored in the upper body.

Why is my waist bigger after tummy tuck? ›

Answer: Gained inches around waist after tummy tuck

It is likely due to swelling which is very common especially at 2 weeks out and with multiple procedures. However, you should bring this to your plastic surgeon's attention, so that he/she can make sure that it's not a seroma (fluid collection).

When do muscles stop hurting after tummy tuck? ›

Tightness after a tummy tuck

In regard to a tummy tuck, abdominal tightness is the result of nerve damage. But, as you heal, this sensation will dissipate. Patients can expect to feel abdominal tightness for 6 – 12 weeks. In some cases, it can take up to a year to regain normal nerve function.

What can you not do after a mini tummy tuck? ›

Avoid abdominal exercises and strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for 6 to 8 weeks. For 6 weeks, avoid lifting anything that would make you strain.

Does a mini tummy tuck tighten the skin? ›

A mini tummy tuck tightens and flattens the area below the belly button, and does not address loose skin or separated muscles in the middle or upper abdomen. The incision is typically 6 to 12 inches shorter than the incision made for a full tummy tuck.

How much fat is removed with a mini tummy tuck? ›

If you opt for a mini truck, you can expect to lose around three pounds of excess skin and fat. If you opt for an extended tuck, you can expect to lose around five pounds of excess skin and fat.

Does a mini tummy tuck get rid of FUPA? ›

The definitive way to be completely rid of a FUPA, if you are done having kids, is a Tummy Tuck.

What are the risks of a mini tummy tuck? ›

As with any surgery, certain risks are associated with a mini tummy tuck. These typically include bleeding, infection, scarring, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. There is also a slight risk of seromas (fluid-filled sacs) or hematomas (blood-filled sacs) under the skin.

How many inches is a mini tummy tuck scar? ›

The mini tummy tuck surgery will only require one incision above the pubic mound. The incision is approximately 4-8 inches long, similar to a c-section scar. It is the smallest or shortest incision associated with any other type of abdominoplasty.

Will my pant size change after a tummy tuck? ›

Most women lose between 2 and 3 pants sizes after a tuck, but there are patients who lose even more. If you had a lot of loose skin before the procedure, for example, you could go down 4 more pants sizes.

How often should I massage my stomach after tummy tuck? ›

We suggest scar massage many times throughout the day for 5-10 minutes each session. It is important to strictly follow your post-operative tummy tuck instructions. We encourage you to walk around immediately in the post- operative period.

What happens if you lose 20 pounds after tummy tuck? ›

Weight Loss After a Tummy Tuck

For example, if someone who has had a tummy tuck loses ten, twenty, or even thirty pounds after their procedure, their skin may shrink nicely enough to maintain their tummy tuck results.

Will a mini tummy tuck make my waist smaller? ›

A traditional tummy tuck doesn't make your waist smaller. It removes saggy skin on the stomach. However, when combined with liposuction, we can remove fat from your love handles, lower back, or around the waist. With stubborn fat removal techniques, you can achieve a shapely, voluptuous waistline.

Why is my stomach flabby after tummy tuck? ›

Additionally, the skin, muscles, and fat of the abdomen were all repaired or altered during the procedure. These structures need time to heal and settle into their new positions. This causes inflammation, swelling, and other temporary side effects that can contribute to the look of the stomach.


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