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Mini Tummy Tuck for a Few Inches of Loose Skin?

My only concern is the very loose skin over my c-section scar, like 3 1/2 to 4 inches of wrinkly skin that I can grab between my fingers, and of course the stretch marks but I wouldn't like to carry a full tummy tuck scar for the rest of my life.

Will a mini tummy tuck be enough for me?

Doctor Answers 56

The difference between a mini-tummy tuck and full tummy tuck is the amount of vertical skin removed

The lengths of the incisions from side to side (or hip bone to hip bone) would be comparable for your problem as seen in your photograph. Both would run above the pubic bone level horizontally. The amount of loosening from the pubic area above this area determines full versus mini-tummy tuck.

Mini-tummy tucks do not loosen the tissue above the belly button and, therefore, remove less tissue than a full abdominoplasty. Full abdominoplasties loosen the abdominal skin higher than the belly button, allowing removal of more skin, producing more tightening, and also permitting horizontal tightening of the abdominal muscles.

Based on your photograph, these additional advantages should be something you consider for the full tummy tuck. The mini tummy tuck may be a shorter duration procedure with less cost, but it will not produce the improvements of a full abdominoplasty. A one on one consultation with examination by a board certified plastic surgeon is necessary to help you make your choice. Good luck!

Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

A Modified Mini might be best

You do not appear to have much loose skin, but you do appear to have laxity of the muscles. We can use a shorter incision. cut across the base of the umbilicus, tighten the muscles all the way to the ribs. and resuture the umbilicus. You will avoid the scar around the umbilicus and have a shorter scar. I prefer this technique if I cannot excise all of the skin from the top of the pubic hair to the umbilicus.

William H. Huffaker, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Mini vs Full Tummy Tuck

The full tummy tuck scar is a little longer, but it removes a lot more skin. Most patients (~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 muscle layer. I think many patients are disappointed with the mini-tummy tuck because they want a small scar, full tightening of the muscle layer and most of the stretch-marks removed and that's just not possible with a mini tummy tuck.

I recommend that you have 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 10 reviews

Consider combined Lux IR Deep and Starlux 1540

As the doctor above stated, a mini tummy tuck will leave behind not only a scar, but many stretch marks.

You do not have enough skin for a full abdominoplasty to remove all of the stretch marks.

There is a new combined therapy using the Palomar LuxIR Deep and the Starlux 1540 laser which can remove stretch marks and tighten the abdominal skin. If fat removal is needed new laser lipo with SlimLipo also tightens skin.

These options avoid the scarring which concerns you.

These are very new techniques so you will have to do some research to find them.

Depends on how long C-section scar is

On exam, your surgeon (hopefully you are going to go to a ASPS Board Certified Plastic Surgeon), will be able to tell you if he/she can keep within your C-section scar. It look like most of your strecth marks are below your belly button which makes it easier to give you a good result.

Good luck. Hope this helps.

Andrew Y. Kleinman, MD
Westchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck is better

You have stretch marks above the belly button and also you have muscle separation above the belly button. With mini tuck you will get mini result and if you are OK with taht then mini tuck will be ok. You need to discuss your concrns with your plastic surgeon and make sure to get more than one consultation.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Understand the tummy tuck scar before you choose the surgery

The term "mini" in tummy tuck is a bit of a misnomer and is frequently misunderstood. The incision is not mini per se, what is done under the skin is less than a full tummy tuck.

Traditionally, a mini tummy tuck removes less skin/fat and only tightens the muscles between the pubis and navel, compared to the full tummy tuck. The length of the skin scar will be determined by how much tissue is removed between the navel and pubis.

Even if you just get 2 to 3 inches of tissue removed, you will have a long scar.

A mini tummy tuck is indicated for people who don't have a lot of excess skin, and who have a weakness of the abdominal wall between the navel and pubis. Although a side and quarter view would be better for me to judge, from the front view, it appears that your deformity extends above the umbilicus, and therefore, you might be a better candidate for the full tummy tuck. Only an exam can tell for sure.

Mini tummy tuck is a trade off - shorter scar, less stretch mark removal

A mini-tuck will tighten the abdominal skin below your belly button and should satisfy you regarding the 3 1/2-4 inches of wrinkling skin you talk about. This will give you the shortest scar as opposed to a full tummy tuck.

However, it will not remove all the stretch marks, since your stretch marks extend to and even above the belly button. In order to remove the stretch marks, you would have to do a full tummy tuck. But with the full tummy tuck, the resulting scar is quite a bit longer. In either case, your scar is permanent.

Discuss these options carefully with your plastic surgeon.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck vs. Full

The simple answer is that you need to have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to determine which technique is right for you. For most women, a full tummy tuck is a better option. Although there may be longer scars, you are able to address loose skin of the upper and lower abdomen and the belly button tends to stay in a more normal anatomic location than with a mini tummy tuck which may lower it.  From your pictures and complaints, you may be happy with a mini-tummy tuck, but your surgeon should be able to show you the differences at a consultation.

Does Mini Tummy Tuck Leave Mini Scar?

A mini tummy tuck still has a long scar in order to allow lifting of the skin so it can slide down to allow the extra skin to be removed. Click on the link below to read an article that explains more about a mini tummy tuck vs a full tummy tuck. 

"Mini" refers to the amount of skin removed, not to the scar.

Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to find out the best option for you to reach your goals.

All the best.

Heather J. Furnas, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 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.