What is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

How is it different than a regular tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 71

Mini tummy tuck description

A few years ago, the only options were a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck.

Technically, a mini tummy tuck tightens the skin and often the deep layer (fascia) below the belly button.

While this is a nice procedure for women who have C-section scarring and irregularities and very little loose skin, it is not for every patient. A mini tuck, if performed on a woman who also has upper abdominal fascial weakness, can yield a "mini tummy look", where the lower abdomen is flat but the upper abdomen bulges out.

If the fascia is loose, it should be tightened. Fascial tightening only occurs below the belly button with a true mini tuck.

Hybrid tummy tucks are now available that offer tightening of the entire abdominal fascia with a minimal lower abdominal incision, and no alteration of, or incision around, the belly button. Surgeons who are familiar with endoscopic techniques may be willing to perform such a hybrid tummy tuck procedure. The technical difficulty is greater than for a full tummy tuck, since a hybrid tummy tuck or an endoscopic assisted tummy tuck require special instrumentation and expertise. There are also artistic considerations unique to this type of tummy tuck as well.

The hybrid tummy tuck is suitable for fit moms who have little skin looseness but a noticeable looseness of the deep fascia (including a diastasis recti) that extends into the upper abdomen.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Mini vs full tummy tuck


The fundamental difference between mini vs full tummy tuck is the belly button.  In a full tummy tuck the belly button is cored out and re-inset through a new area in the abdominal skin after the skin is brought down.  A mini tummy tuck leaves the belly button attached to the surrounding skin.  A true mini tummy tuck just removes a small amount of skin near the pubic bone and keeps the incision very short.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

Mini-abdominoplasty is a smaller version of Abdominoplasty

Gillian, Basically, mini-abdominoplasty is a smaller version of abdominoplasty. In mini-abdominoplasty, the extra skin between your belly button and your mons pubis is excised. Occasionally, liposuction is also performed at the same time. The incision is usually just as long as a traditional abdominoplasty. The difference with the abdominoplasty is that the dissection is taken around the belly button all the way up to your costal margin (ribs) and a new belly button is created. At the same time, the underlying muscle fascia is tightened and more skin is excised. Therefore, the traditional abdominoplasty allows for much more skin tightening and contouring. However, not everyone is a candidate for a traditional abdominoplasty. It is important that you consult with a plastic surgeon to see if you are an appropriate candidate. I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Mini vs Full Tummy Tuck


The mini tummy tuck removes less than half of the skin and fat between the umbilicus (belly button) and the pubic mons. If the muscle layer is stretched out, this layer can also be repaired. The mini tummy tuck scar length can vary based on the patient's pelvis width, but usually it is 6 to 12 inches long. I think many patients are not good candidates for the mini-tummy tuck because, although they want a smaller scar and smaller price, the operation just does not allow for full tightening of the muscle layer and maximal removal of the stretch-marks.

The full tummy tuck scar is a little longer, but it removes a lot more skin. Most patients (over 80%) are very happy with the full tummy tuck because it meets their expectation as to the amount of stretch-mark removal and tightening of the entire muscle layer.

I recommend that you have a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. They have formal training in abdominoplasty surgery and will help you determine which operation is right for you.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck vs Full Tummy Tuck

The nature of the tummy tuck surgery that will best suit each patient is determined during the consultation and is based on the physical examination. For all patients, I draw the proposed incisions on their body with a skin marker (it washes off easily) so that it is clear what the nature of the resulting surgical scars will be. I also outline liposuction areas if that is part of the surgical plan.
In some people, the abdominal skin will contract after delivery and maintain a great deal of its natural tone. Abdominal bulging may be confined to the area below the belly button. In these patients, a mini-tummy tuck may be adequate, which involves a shorter suprapubic incision, no surgical alteration of the belly button, and a quicker recovery time.
In a mini-abdominoplasty, the rectus abdominis muscles may be tightened below the belly button only, if the abdominal "bulge" is confined to that area. If abdominal wall laxity extends above the belly button, it is possible to tighten the muscles all the way up to the level of the sternum (ribcage). To do this, the umbilical stalk is divided at its base, and then reinserted at its original location once the muscle-tightening sutures have been placed. The patient still keeps their 'original' belly button.
A mini-tummy tuck generally does not alter the blood supply of the abdominal skin as much as a full tummy tuck, and therefore more aggressive liposuction of the waist and back may be performed in many cases.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Mini-Tummy Tuck works great in carefully selected patients

Mini-abdominoplasty is a procedure I have been performing more frequently. It is a great surgery for selected individuals. It combines the best of all worlds, by allowing correction of the lax abdominal wall, which all women who have experienced pregnancy suffer from.

In addition, the umbilicus (belly button) is left undisturbed with no scar and the transverse lower scar can be placed lower than with a full tummy tuck and is slightly shorter. This surgery, in combination with appropriate liposuction, can give a fantastic, athletic look to the abdomen.

But, like all surgical procedures, mini-abdominoplasty is not right for everyone. Patients with loose skin or excess fat above the belly button will get only modest improvement as compared to a traditional full tummy tuck. A modification of both procedures by using aggressive liposuction if indicated, can further improve the result. This allows for the correction of the muscle wall laxity, thinning of the excess fatty tissue layer so we can see the athletic new contours, and removal of excess loose skin. I call this the perfect TRIAD.

But remember, while most patients will prefer a mini-abdominoplasty,
only a consultation with examination by will determine if you are a suitable candidate for this great procedure.

Sam M. Sukkar, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

There are very few good candidates for mini abdominoplasty

I find that very few women are good candidates for mini abdominoplasties. Most women ask about a 'mini tummy tuck' because they want a smaller procedure with a smaller scar. However, what most women do not realize is that usually a mini tummy tuck will only address a small almount of skin on the lower abdomen, and usually will only tighten the lower abdominal muscles.

If you are concerned about excess skin on the upper abdomen, especially when you sit down, then you will likely be unhappy with a mini tummy tuck. Additionally, if you tighten the lower abdominal muscles on someone who has laxity throughout or a diastasis rectus, this will exaggerate the fullness in the upper abdomen.

Other options do exist, such as endoscopic techniques to tighten the muscles throughout with only a small incision down low and one around the umbilicus.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

Benefits of a Mini-Abdominoplasty, Mini Tummy Tuck

A mini-abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure performed under anesthesia to reduce the skin and subcutaneous tissue in the lower abdomen. In this procedure, an incision is made in the lower abdomen and the excess skin is removed in the area below the belly button. In many cases, the abdominal fascia below the belly button is also tightened with sutures. The procedure is done in females that have solid muscle tone in the area above the belly button. Raffy Karamanoukian Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

A mini tummy tuck is a very select operation for a...

A mini tummy tuck is a very select operation for a specific group of patients.

The procedure employs a shorter incision than a full tummy tuck. This small area is removed to flatten the lower abdomen. Sometimes the muscles are tightened in the lower abdomen as well.

This is usually for a patient who has a small amount of skin laxity and fat in their lower abdomen. Usually the belly button is not moved. However, most patients that I see for abdominal laxity warrant having a full tummy tuck.

The mini-tummy tuck usually does not allow adequate redraping of all the laxity. It cannot treat any laxity above the umbilicus, and it is difficult to tighten the muscles of the upper abdomen without better exposure afforded by a full tummy tuck.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

What is a mini tummy tuck

A mini tummy tuck is a more conservative procedure compared to a full tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck involves removal of excess skin, tightening of the abdominal fascia, and relocation the belly button. A mini tummy tuck usually is only skin removal (less) and minimal to no tightening of the fascia.. Sometime the belly button is floated down to a lower level. Each has it's place and your PS can help choose which is best for you.

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.