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Do I need a mini or a full Tummy Tuck? Or do you have other suggestions? (photos)

I'm 32 with a 4 yr old, 2 1/2 yr old and almost 9 mo old. All three were birthed naturally. I run, bike and use an elliptical between 5-6 days a week when I'm healthy. I hate my belly, and I'm wanting something done. I don't know if I would benefit from a Mini or a full tummy tuck. The scars from the fulls are very intimidating; However, I want this bulge gone! I feel like I look pregnant and very unattractive. I also have an umbilical hernia and heard this can also be repaired at the same time?

Doctor Answers (10)

Do I need a mini or a full Tummy Tuck? Or do you have other suggestions?

In your case after reviewing the posted photos I would recommend a short scar full TTT with serious muscle repair... 

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Do I need a mini or a full Tummy Tuck?

Thanks for the good photos. It appears you have a significant space between the muscles for a good distance both above and below the navel.  And although you have little in the way of fat the skin looks altered also above and below. I think within a short time you would find yourself unhappy with the results of the mini. Better to get the right procedure now and do the full TT. Although the scar is long it fades over just a few months and if you get the right doctor he/she will make sure it is eay to hide with panties or a swimsuit bottom.

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

Mini or full tummy tuck

The photos you have submitted suggest you have abdominal wall weakness that extends above your umbilicus. A mini tummy tuck will not adequately address your concerns and may actually make your tummy look worse. Your hernia could be repaired at the same time as the tummy tuck. I would only do a full tummy tuck for you. Actually, the scar for a full tummy tuck is just a little longer than a mini. I hope this helps you make a decision. Remember, always go to a board certified plastic surgeon for these procedures. 

Thomas G. Liszka, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

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Full versus Mini Abdominoplasty

If it is bulge that you want repaired, then you need a FULL tummy tuck / abdominoplasty with muscle plication.  The bulge is due to rectus diastasis (separation) of your muscles.  The only way to repair this is to lift the abdominal skin all the way to your xiphoid and sew the muscles back together.  You look like you do not have a tremendous amount of excess abdominal skin or fat, so your external incision likely would not be much different between a "Mini" tuck and a Full tummy tuck.  The only difference would be a small incision around your belly button since the excess skin from above your belly button would be pulled downward and removed.  

Good Luck. 

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Do I need a mini or a full Tummy Tuck? Or do you have other suggestions?

   A short scar tummy tuck with muscle plication and hernia repair, if indicated, can be performed together.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 203 reviews

Tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck

Based on the photos provided I would recommend a full tummy tuck.

The mini tummy tuck operation is an operation that addresses the lower abdominal wall, below the umbilicus. The “full” tummy tuck operation involves treatment of the entire abdominal wall; this operation serves to remove excess skin, re approximate the abdominal wall muscles that may have spread with pregnancy and/or weight gain/loss, improve the appearance of the waistline and often pubic area as well

Antoine A. Hallak, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Full tummy tuck or mini lipo

Hello and thank you for your photo.
Your bulge is most likely due to stretching of the abdominal wall musculature as a result of 3 pregnancies. This can only be fixed by giving you a tummy tuck incision and plicating (tightening) the muscle layer with sutures. I recommend that you see a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation to get more specific answers to your questions which can best be addressed after a thorough history and examination is performed.
Best of luck to you!

David Cangello, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Full tummy tuck needed for muscle repair

Thank you for your question.  From your photographs it appears that you have a split muscles and lacks muscles.  To properly repair your muscles a full tummy tuck is required but the scar can be reasonably short because you do not have a lot of excess skin.  Please see a board certified plastic surgeon.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Do I need a mini or a full Tummy Tuck?


Thank you for the question and pictures. I think that you will do well with a full tummy tuck operation.  Generally speaking, in my opinion, the mini tummy tuck 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.  I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 718 reviews

Mini TT vs Full TT

The amount of excess skin typically determines the length of the incision required to remove that excess skin. As a general rule, a short incision only allows a small amount of skin removal. A longer incision and resulting scar (as in a full tummy tuck) will allow the surgeon to remove more skin and tighten the entire abdominal wall.  This is the important thing to consider when looking at this type of surgery. Don't compromise the results with a shorter scar if it won't deliver the results you want. A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon with an expertise in tummy tucks and body contouring should be able to show you what you can expect. In my practice in the San Francisco Bay Area I have come to the conclusion that the happiest patients are those that have realistic expectation on what a procedure will and won’t do for them. Good luck! Dean Vistnes.

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.