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Mini or Full Tummy Tuck - Which is Best for Me?

I am getting a tummy tuck next month but would love some opinions. Does my stomach look like a good candidate for a MINI tummy tuck or should I go for the full? My surgeon suggested the mini but my muscles seem to be very stretched on the top. I just don't want a flat bottom belly and a pooch at the top.

Doctor Answers (11)

Mini tuck vs Full Tummy Tuck which is best?

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This is very common question in my Atlanta practice. Basically, the best procedure for you depends on your desires and evaluation. Based on your photos, you have some excess skin, fat, and muscle laxity. If the muscle laxity does not bother you much, then a mini tuck and liposuction can help remove the excess fat & skin. A mini-tuck have less downtime than a full tuck. However, a full tuck will correct the muscle laxity, but with longer downtime. The best thing to do is to see a board certified Plastic Surgeon. After a full consultation, you should have the information need to make the best decision.


Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Full tummy tuck

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I believe you are a good candidate for a full tummy tuck because your muscle weakness seems to extend above the umbilicus.  A mini-tummy tuck may create your greatest fear of an upper abdominal bulge.  i have never regretted performing a full tummy tuck when it comes to muscle contour.  In my experience there is not a significant difference in time of full recovery between a partial vs full muscle repair.  There is clearly less recovery if no muscle repair is done at all.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

When to get a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck

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A tummy tuck is a safe and effective procedure that can create a more contoured abdomen, a tight waist and a beautiful figure.

In our Miami practice, we feel that as all patients are unique, so is every tummy tuck. During the initial consultation, we spent a great deal of time talking to the patients to understand what their concerns are, to learn their aesthetic goals, so that in this way we can create a surgical plan that will help the patient meet their aesthetic ideal. If a woman has extra skin and extra fat but the muscles are in good condition, we may be able to perform a mini tummy tuck. If the woman also needs a muscle repair, a full or a regular tummy tuck may be necessary.
Your best bet is to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon that has a great deal of experience in tummy tucks, liposuction, body contouring surgery. Such a specialist will be able to understand your goals and combined this with a thorough physical evaluation to present and operative plan that will help you meet your aesthetic ideal.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

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Mini vs. full tummy tuck

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Based on the photos you provided, you seem like an ideal candidate for a full tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck would provide you with the best results possible because it involves repair of the rectus muscles which have been stretched from pregnancy as well as, removal of all excess and loose tissue of the abdominal area. A mini tummy tuck only involves repair and improvement of the area below the belly button. Very few woman are good candidates for a mini. Consult a board certified plastic surgeon to determine which procedures would be best and safest for your specific case. If performed correctly, your end result will be a flat and tightened tummy. The incision is always placed low enough to hide underneath low rise undergarments and bikini bottoms. Recovery may vary between patients, however will require a good support system. You are instructed to stay hunched over  for 4 weeks to prevent any superficial openings and complications. Following your surgeons post-op care instructions will give you the best results possible. Good luck and take care.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 680 reviews

(PHOTOS) Mini or full tummy tuck: see VIDEO in link below

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The photos confirm your widened muscles and the need for a muscle repair which extends above the belly button. This is typically more than a mini and would require a modification. Perhaps the "Midi" tuck described in the video below would be useful.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tummy tucks need to be tailored to the patient

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Only a good exam can determine whether you need a full or mini-tummy tuck.  If there is fascial weakness above the umbilicus I like to do a full tummy tuck and have never regretted doing so.  A mini is for those people with tight fascia and skin above the umbilicus.  Dissection doesn't go above the umbilicus.  Since there is limited undermining with a mini I can be aggressive with liposuction on the anterior abdomen. 

Randy Proffitt, MD
Mobile Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck: only your surgeon knows for sure what's best

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It takes a personal examination to determine which option is best, though most of the time the full tummy tuck is the better option. Both versions allow for muscle repair and removal of localized fat, but the mini only tightens the skin in the lower abdomen. If the upper abdominal area is absolutely tight and flat then the mini would work.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck

+1

Based on your photos, I see some widening about the umbilicus (belly button).  In my experience, this usually indicates some muscle separation (rectus diastasis) in that area, and possibly above it, too.  Generally, these patients benefit from full plication of the fascia.  

If your surgeon can do it through a "mini" style skin incision - great!  But I'd recommend a full muscle repair.

Thomas Fiala, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Mini vs full tummy tuck

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If your muscles are wide and you have al ot of loose skin, then you are probably better off with a full tummy tuck.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Mini vs full tummy tuck

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It all depends on your upper abdomen which tummy tuck is better for you.  It is rare for a patient postpregnancy not to have upper abdominal muscle laxity or skin excess but from your photo you might be one of those people.  Only a live exam of you can really tell.  You are correct though in thinking that if you tighten only the lower ab and have laxity unaddressed in the upper ab, it will stick out and look bad.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 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.