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Full Tummy Tuck vs. Mini: What is the average recovery time? (Photo)

What is the average recovery time for a mini tummy tuck? I was considering a full tummy tuck but with the recovery time so long I am now going to do a mini tummy tuck or no tummy tuck at all. I have saggy skin due to pregnancy and weight loss on my tummy and would like it to be a little tighter. This is a picture of my tummy. I will be doing consultations early next year.

Doctor Answers (13)

Full tummy tuck vs mini - what is the average recovery time?

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Hello! Thank you for your question and photos! 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. Looking at your photos, 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. Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle prior to the procedure and afterwards is recommended in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you.

Once you are ready for the procedure, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck with abdominal wall tightening. This would remove the excess skin/soft tissue and stretch marks while contouring your belly. The mini tummy tuck has limited usefulness and limited candidates as it truly only addresses excess skin in a small area above your pubis. It will not address your abdominal wall and the tightening of such, frequently needed to achieve a shapely abdominal wall.  I typically recommend 6 weeks of no vigorous activity/strenuous exercise along with an abdominal binder during this period.  While the recovery time is shorter, the benefits afforded to you by a full tummy tuck are much greater and will optimize your result. You should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon well-versed in body contouring procedures at anytime to go over options to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right for you. Best wishes!


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Recovery time is similar

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the difference between a full TT and a miniTT is the amount of skin to be removed and also is the belly button will be repositioned. The physiological healing of the wound will be exactly the same (aprox. 3 weeks for the immediate healing, if somebody tells you something differently, they already forgot the classes from medical school).
Mini TT is a good surgery in the proper candidate ( which are rare) the excess skin has to be only in the lower abdomen (below the belly button) and the muscles  in the supraumbilical area (above the BB) need to be normal. Because the procedure is less extensive, patients will have less discomfort (usually) but the time to recover will be the same.
The only way i can determine what surgery is best for you is with a consultation, however looking at the picture you submitted, it appears that a full tummy tuck is the best procedure for you.
Choose a surgeon member of the American Society for Aesthetic plastic surgery, this will assure you that your plastic surgeon is Board Cerified and his practice is committed to aesthetic plastic surgery.
Good Luck

Victor M. Perez, MD, FACS
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Recovery after tummy tuck

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You should not chose to have a surgery based on recovery time. You should choose the surgery that will achieve the results that you want and then plan for the recovery accordingly. Based on your photo, I think that you would be terribly disappointed with the results of a mini-tummy tuck. It would be better to do nothing and save your money and time. 

William T. Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

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No faster recovery with mini tummy tuck vs full

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The most important aspect of recovery after a tummy tuck is the muscle repair, which should be done with a mini or full if necessary. The mini removes less skin but that doesn't mean a lot faster recovery. If you don't have a muscle separation then do the full tummy tuck. You do not appear to be a good candidate for the mini based on the photos.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

A full tummy tuck without muscle repair may be a good compromise for you

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Based on your photo it seems that you do not have a tremendous amount of stretching out of the rectus muscle (diastasis).  If you do not not need a muscle tightening then a tummy tuck recovery would be much easier.  You should however get a full tummy tuck skin removal because without this the drooping of your belly button skin will not be corrected without it.  A mini tuck is only good for people with droopy skin lower in the belly.  Below is a link to a photo of someone who had a tummy tuck with similar issues to yours.  The photo is the 3rd photo set in the 8th row.

Dev Wali, MD
Claremont Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck vs. Mini: What is the average recovery time?

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  Given the extent of skin laxity to the level of the belly button, a tummy tuck would produce a far better result.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 220 reviews

Full tummy tuck

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I think you would benefit from a full tummy tuck. The recovery is worth it as a mini would not be worth it from your picture. Good Luck!

Gregory Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck vs. Mini: What is the average recovery time?

+1
A full TT obviously takes longer to recover, but from your photo you will need that surgery. A mini TT will leave you undercorrected and at some point you will have to pay full price for a full TT anyway to get a complete result.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Tummy tuck recovery based on muscle repair

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We do not have a side photo to look at. Examination would determine which would give you the better result and the recovery time.

If your muscle layer needs tightening, that is the cause for more of the pain, most of the restrictions and the recovery can be longer.
On the other hand if the muscle layer is tight and plication (tightening) is not needed then recovery could be quick as little as 1-2 weeks.

Either way most of my patients with a desk job return in one week after a mini tummy tuck and 1-2 weeks with a full tummy tuck. Manual labor type jobs need 4 or more weeks. It is 6 weeks before resuming all activity if the muscle layer is tightened.
The mini does not do much to the upper abdomen. There is one variation for people with a high belly button , good skin, but need some tightening of the upper abdomen called a free floating umbilicus where we do between a mini and full tummy tuck, but dont have to cut around the belly button.
Your front picture seems to indicate a mini tummy tuck would be fine, but exam and side views could change that recommendation.

Benjamin Van Raalte, MD
Davenport Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Very few benefit from mini tummy tuck. You need full tummy tuck

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You certainly need full tummy tuck.  Mini tuck will not benefit you and you will have wasted your money.  Get what is required or do nothing and accept the things as they are.              

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.