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How to Choose Between Full and Mini Tummy Tuck?

I know I want some form of tummy tuck and breast enhancement but I'm not sure if I need a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. How would I know? I'm a 26 year old mother of three. I'm 5ft. and 115lbs.

Doctor Answers (16)

Full tummy tuck vs. mini tummy tuck vs. hybrid tummy tuck

+2

There are no longer just two options in tummy tucks, the full and the mini tummy tuck.

The full tummy tuck is best for patients who have a lot of looseness in their skin, especially if that looseness is above the belly button. There is no substitute for a full tummy tuck in the right patient with a lot of skin looseness. The results of full tummy tucks in the right patients are spectacular.

The mini tummy tuck is best for patients who have only a skin problem (no fascial problem) just below the belly button. In our practice, this is usually limited to scar revisions of C-sections. It is NOT the best procedure for the vast majority of post-pregnancy women.

The hybrid tummy tuck (TM) is a tummy tuck that uses a short incision, but tightens the "muscles" all the way up to the breast bone, in other words the entire length of the abdomen. It is best suited for fit moms who did not have large weight gains during their pregnancies, yet they note some loose skin and looseness of the muscles. Often when they do a situp, they see a separation of the muscles. Or if they "let it out", they see a bulge in the abdomen. In almost all cases, that bulge extends well above the belly button. Therefore the mini tummy tuck is NOT a satisfactory procedure for them and they will need a hybrid tummy tuck. The hybrid tummy tuck is more difficult to perform because it must be done through small incisions and often requires endoscopic equipment.

There are many in-between procedures between these main categories as well (full tummy tuck with vertical incision in order to get a lower incision; extended hybrid tummy tuck if slightly more skin needs to be removed; flank extensions, hybrid with hernia repair and umbilicoplasty, etc)

The average length of a fully tummy tuck in our practice is 32 cm, or hip to hip. The average length of a mini tummy tuck or a hybrid tummy tuck is 15 cm. In some cases the incision size for a hybrid tummy tuck is less than 8 cm. The size of the incision is therefore less than half for a mini or a hybrid tummy tuck than it is for a full tummy tuck.

Why not just do a full tummy tuck in everybody?

Full tummy tucks leave long incisions. In fit women, they also leave high incisions or a vertical incision, usually both. This is especially true of women with high belly buttons or long waists. These incisions are not to be taken lightly as they can forever prevent the use of a bikini if the final incision is two inches below the belly button.


Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Full tummy tuck vs mini tuck

+2

About 95%of patients needing a tummy tuck need a real one not a mini. The problem with the mini is that it doesn't treat the upper abdomen at all so if you have any muscle or skin laxity above the umbilicus the mini will leave you under corrected. The mini incision isn't that much shorter and the recovery isn't that much less, so do the full in most instances.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

How to choose between full and mini tummy tuck?

+1
Thank you for your question! I hope that these answers help! Tummy tuck is an excellent method for shaping the belly and create a flatter and sculpted abdomen after the procedure.Given your desires , I do believe that you would be an excellent candidate for this procedure in order to remove the excess skin/soft tissue of your lower abdomen and contour the areas of your belly. Also, abdominal wall tightening may optimize your result. Stretch marks to the level of your umbilicus will also be excised. I would highly recommend continued diet and exercise prior to any consideration for body contouring as getting down to your ideal weight prior to the procedure will certainly give you the best results. Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle will be needed in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you.
A full tummy tuck would address your excess skin and tissue along with with abdominal wall tightening and possible liposuction to the hips/flanks for additional contouring. This would remove the excess skin/soft tissue and stretch marks while contouring your belly.  You should consult with a plastic surgeon at anytime to go over options to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right for you. The mini tummy tuck has limited usefulness and limited candidates as it truly only addresses excess skin in a small area above your pubis. While the recovery time is shorter, the benefits afforded to you by a full tummy tuck are much greater and will optimize your result. Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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A full tummy tuck is more effective than a mini in correcting loose skin and tightening the abdominal muscles.

+1

I perform about 100 full abdominoplasties for every mini-abdominoplasty (although it happens that I am about to perform a mini-abdominoplasty today!).  You have a small build and have had three children.  Chances are a full tummy tuck would best treat your muscle weakness and get rid of the loose skin.  With a mini, the amount of skin removed (just the skin above your pubic area) is much less and there is no tightening of the skin above the belly button.  The advantage of a mini is a shorter scar, but the fact is, if the scar is kept low down within the bikini line, it is not an issue and most women want the tightest, flattest abs they can get, which is what a full tummy tuck provides.  I've attached a link to this section of my website in case you want to read more or look at photos that show the scar.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Full or mini-tummy tuck

+1

First, let's explain what a full tummy tuck versus a mini is. In a full tummy tuck the skin is lifted up all the way to the ribcage where in a mini it is only to the belly button. In a full tummy tuck, since the surgeon now has access to the muscles, if the muscles are split apart, they can be tightened from ribcage all the way down whereas the mini will only allow for tightening from the belly button down. The other big factor is loose skin above the belly button. That skin can be pulled down and tightened in a full tummy tuck but that skin will not be tighter after a mini tummy tuck. Understanding those differences you can discuss with your surgeon what you would benefit from and what type of  result are you willing to accept.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck?

+1

Thank you for the question.

Of course without pictures or dierct examination it is not possible due to good advice.

Having said that the mini tummy talk is an  operation that  produces very limited results and is very rarely indicated. It involves a shorter incision but does not address the majority of the abdominal wall issues present for most patients who present consultation. For example, the area of skin excised is quite small. The abdominal wall musculature is addressed below the umbilicus leaving the upper number wall potentially lax. The appearance of the umbilicus is not necessarily addressed sufficiently.

For most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. Of course, there are downsides (including a longer scar and probably a longer recovery time) but for most patients the benefits outweigh the downsides. It is not unusual to see patients who've had mini tummy tuck  surgery present for  revisionary surgery.

It is important to work with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to obtain advice (based on good ethics and judgment) to  improve your chances of a successful outcome and minimize the need for further surgery.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 756 reviews

Need to consult doctor to tell

+1

Generally a minituck is useful only for a small amount of excess skin limited to the lower abdomen.  Generally most women that I see in my practice need a full tummy tuck whenever they come in to see me.  However, only a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon can determine which would benefit you more.  You can find one in your area throught the website for American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

James Tang, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

How to choose...

+1

Deciding which procedure would be best for you a decision you and your surgeon need to decide together. I would suggest going on several consultations and discussing your desired outcome with each surgeon. Mini tummy tuck candidates are women who only have a small amount of extra skin at the front of the belly. I have noticed it is more common for women to require a standard tummy tuck that leaves an incision from hip-to-hip to achieve their desired results.

Amy K. Alderman, MD, MPH
Alpharetta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Min-tummy tuck vs full tummy tuck

+1

A mini-TT addresses primarily the lower abdomen, where a full TT address both the upper and lower abdomen; allowing for full tightening of the abdominal muscles. It is quite rare to see a patient who is a true candidate for a mini-TT because most patients will have enough laxity or looseness of their abdominal skin to qualify for a full TT. The difference in the length of the final incision isn't much shorter with a mini-TT. A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon will easily help to guide you as to the best procedure for you.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

After three pregnancies...

+1

you most likely need a full abdominoplasty.  There are variations on the full tummy tuck that may work for you and provide more than a mini.  See your board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation and discussion on the options.  Good luck! 

Kenneth R. Francis, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.