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How Can I Tell if I Need a Mini or Full Tummy Tuck?

Doctor Answers (20)

Full tummy tuck


If there is enough skin to pinch between the belly button and the pubic area, or if there is a lot of loose skin above the belly button, a full tummy tuck will give the best results.

More limited tummy tucks are available for suitable patients. If very little skin looseness is present, but there is a bulge present (as in this picture), a hybrid tummy tuck can tighten the complete fascia above and below the belly button, and remove a small amount of skin through a short C-section type procedure.

A typical mini tuck just tightens below the belly button. If performed here, it would likely give the "typical mini tuck look" with a flat lower abdomen and a bulging upper abdomen.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck


Based on your photo, you probably have muscle separation above the belly button, not just below. You also appear to have a fair amount of loose skin. If I were to make the recommendation on the photo alone, I would say you need a full tummy tuck since you need correction above the unbilicus as well as below. Of course the definitive recommendation should be made when you have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck



Looking at your frontal view, I would definitely recommend a full tummy tuck. The full tummy tuck scar is a little longer, but it removes a lot more skin. Most patients are very happy with the full tummy tuck because it meets their expectation as to the amount of skin and stretch-mark removal and tightening of the muscle layer. I think most patients who are disappointed with the mini-tummy tuck are so because they really wanted a small scar (and maybe a smaller price) but were disappointed with the lack of tightness in the upper abdomen, lack of adequate removal of most of the stretch-marks and loose skin.

I recommend that you seek a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. They have formal training in abdominoplasty surgery and will probably give you the same advice.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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Likely a full Tummy Tuck


If you have a lot of loose skin, they you will need a full tummy tuck. From the picture you have shown if appears that a full tummy tuck would benefit you the most. It will remove the excess skin and fatty tissue as well as contour the shape of your abdomen by tightening the covering of your abdominal muscles.

The best way to know, however, is to have a full evaluation and examination by a board certified plastic surgeon.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

You would benefit from a full tummy tuck


The decision of weather to have a mini tuck or a full tuck (Abdominoplasty) is best made in consultation with your plastic surgeon. At that time he or she can best evaluate your particular needs and desire and advise you in a first hand informed manner. However, judging from the photo displayed, I feel the patient would best be served and most satisfied with a full tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty).

Fred Suess, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck is part of the answer


You have several things that need to be addressed to give you a natural, toned looking midsection. A full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) will address tightening the muscles and also removing the excess skin which will get rid of the stretch marks and 'dimpling' often seen where there is a pocket of exercise and diet resistant fat.

I nearly always include liposuction with my abdominoplasty cases not only to get rid of the pocket of fat like you're experiencing, but to also sculpt the surrounding areas so there's a sleek, smooth body line. So while doing a full abdominoplasty will address a majority of the problem, the additional liposuction is critical to giving you your best possible outcome.

Steve Byrd, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Mini tummy tuck v standard tummy tuck for you


Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. As no two patients are alike, no two tummy tucks should be the same. In our practice, we carefully evaluate every patient and assess the quality of their muscle, their fat, and their skin. With this information we can then customize the surgery that will best meet their personal aesthetic goals. In your muscles and skin are good quality but you only have a small amount of extra fat, liposuction alone may be all that is necessary. If your muscles require tightening and you only have extra fat in the center portion of your abdomen, may be a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck. If you would like your muscles tightened and have extra fat throughout the belly or in the hips, a regular tummy tuck may be the best choice for you.

Your best bet is to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has a great deal of experience in tummy tucks and body contouring with liposuction. Their expertise will be essential in determining the best treatment plan for you.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Full tummy tuck with muscle repair is the only choice


From the one photo I would recommend a Full Tummy Tuck with muscle repair as the best and only choice. You would be very unhappy with a mini tummy tuck. See 3 boarded plastic surgeons to have a good idea of the need for a FULL Tummy Tuck. Regards 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

MINI VS FULL Tummy Tuck - Best result with the Full Tummy Tuck


You seem to have skin excess the extends to around and above the belly button. In addition, I suspect your muscle separation extends above the belly button as well. For these reasons, you would obtain a MUCH nicer result with a  formal / FULL Tummy Tuck.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Deciding between a Mini Tummy Tuck or a Full Tummy Tuck


This question is best addressed in a consultation with your surgeon, since it involves a discussion about what specifically you are experiencing, your skin elasticity, and what your goals are. In general, a Tummy Tuck is best suited for patients who have skin and muscle laxity above and below the belly button.

A small number of patients are strong candidates for a Mini Tummy Tuck, which addresses loose skin only below the belly button. Patients who would benefit from the Mini Tummy Tuck are those who have excellent skin elasticity in the upper belly but a bit of extra skin below the belly button only. However, as I suggested, this is best determined after seeing a doctor and having an exam.

If you undergo a Mini Tummy Tuck and have skin and muscle laxity above the belly button as well, it is doubtful you will be satisfied with the results of a Mini Tummy Tuck. This can create a flat lower belly, and an upper belly that bulges. So be sure to choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and create a plan of action that has the highest rate of success.

Scott W. Mosser, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.