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Considering a Mini Tummy Tuck, How do I Decide Between Mini and Full?

My main concern is the stretch marks below my belly button and loose skin. The skin is not sagging when I'm standing straight only when I'm sitting or bending over. I am 5'4 and 108 lbs and in fairly good shape. My oby/gyn said that my muscles are not not detached at all. And I have a piercing scar on my belly button that I also would like to be gone. Should I have a full tummy tuck or mini???

Doctor Answers (15)

How to decide between a mini and full tummy tuck?


Deciding between a mini or full tummy tuck depends on how your tummy looks now. The difference between a mini or full tummy tuck is determined by whether or not your tummy problem involves the entire tummy or just that part of the tummy below the belly button. If your upper tummy is fine and your only problem is that part of your tummy below the belly button, then a mini tummy tuck will do. The upper abdomen and belly button area is not affected in a mini tummy tuck. On the other hand, if your problem involves the belly button area  or the upper abdomen, then you will need a full tummy tuck. In a full tummy tuck the scar is just a little longer than in a mini but the entire abdomen is improved. Your plastic surgeon will help you decide which tummy tuck is best for you.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

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Tummy Tuck Options


Thank you for you question.    It is difficult to give accurate recommendation without an in office exam.  When I evaluate the abdomen, I assess:
1.  The amount of loose skin

2.  The volume of fatty tissue
3.  The degree of muscle laxity.

I evaluate this in each of 3 areas:
1.  Upper Abdomen

2.  Area around the Belly Button
3.  Lower Abdomen

MINI TUMMY TUCK: If a patient has loose skin, fatty tissue, and muscle laxity limited to the Lower Abdomen, then I recommend the mini tummy tuck.  In order to qualify for this, the patient must have good skin and muscle tone in their upper abdomen and area around the belly button.   I will frequently perform liposuction of these areas with my Mini Tummy Tuck to enhance the overall contour.

FULL TUMMY TUCK:  this is for patients who have loose skin and muscle laxity of the upper abdomen, belly button area, and lower abdomen.   This procedure tightens all 3 areas with a bikini line incision.   I often encorporate liposuction with my full tummy tuck as I feel it offers a superb end result.
EXTENDED TUMMY TUCK:  This works well for patients who have loose skin that extends over the hip bone into the flank area.   I will perform extensive liposuction and skin excision to the hip and flank area combined with full tummy tuck.

BODY LIFT/BELT LIPECTOMY:  this is essentially a 360 degree tummy tuck which involves removal of loose skin and fatty tissue of the lower back and buttocks, in addition to the extended tummy tuck.
I wish you a safe recovery and amazing result!!

Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

When only the area below the belly button is the problem, a mini tummy tuck may be a good option


A mini tummy tuck does not reshape the entire abdomen like a fully tummy tuck would.  It simply tightens the skin between the belly button and pubic area.  Pictures of your abdomen would be very helpful, but if you area 5'4 and 108lb and you haven't lost a large amount of weight which would leave you with excess loose abdominal skin, you are most likely a good candidate for a mini not a fully tummy tuck.

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 191 reviews

Mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck? Everyone is unique


A mini tummy tuck is great for treating excess skin below the belly button with minimal to no looseness of the abdominal muscles.  A full tummy tuck is great for tightening the entire abdomen from top to bottom and excellent for removing excess skin of the abdomen while keeping the incision along the bikini line.  The best thing to do is to visit your local plastic surgeon to see which type of tummy tuck will meet your aesthetic goals.

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Mini or Full tummy tuck


Thank you for your question.  It's a popular one. The only way to know for sure is to see a plastic surgeon for an evaluation.  A mini-tummy tuck is limited to the lower abdomen and has a slightly shorter scar.  Unfortunately, most women get the most benefit from a full tummy tuck to adequately remove all of the excess skin. 

See two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for an evaluation.  Good Luck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Considering a Mini Tummy Tuck, How do I Decide Between Mini and Full?


Loose skin of the lower tummy, everything OK above the belly button= lower (mini) tummy tuck= no correction above the belly button.

Loose skin above the belly button as well as below= full tummy tuck= correction above and below the belly button.

No muscle separation= no need to tighten fascia/muscles.

Piercing scar on the belly button can only be traded for a scar, and cannot be removed entirely leaving no visible scar unless you have SO MUCH loose skin above the belly button that a full tummy tuck would advance the piercing scar down below the tummy tuck scar at what ideally would be the level of the pubic hair and thus remove it (and all the skin below it). You do not sound like you have any significant amount of loose skin above your belly button, so do not count on being rid of your piercing scar.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Mini Tumy Tuck or Full Tummy Tuck


If you are considering tummy tuck and confused about which type of tummy tuck is right for you, I would recommend consulting with a board certified Plastic Surgeon. During your consultation, your Plastic Surgeon will evaluate your body and your concern to recommend which tummy tuck offers the best treatment for you stretch marks and loose skin. Many patients who have just excess fat may only require liposuction instead of tummy tuck. These days, anyone can perform tummy tuck using the word "cosmetic surgeon" Do your homework well and make sure you are seeing a "real" Plastic Surgeon. There is a big difference.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Should I get a "mini" or a full "tummy tuck?"


This is a very commonly asked question, "which would be best for me?"

Well, the answer is complicated.  Mini-tucks are appropriate procedures for patients with only a small amont of fat or excess skin below the belly button that hangs over their pant line or bikini bottom when they lean forward.  This procedure is limited in the amount of stretch marks that can be remove and the amount of tightening that can be achieved.  Often, liposuction can be added to this procedure to improve the results on the appropriate patient.

A full tummy-tuck, is a much more extensive procedure that aims to tighten and improve tone along the entire abdomen.  This is achieved by elevating the skin up to the rib margin and then tightening the muscles along the middle all the way down to the pubis.  The excess skin and fat are then trimmed off and the belly button repositioned to look natural.  Depending on the patient and the amount of excess skin, we are often able to remove stretch marks all the way up to the belly button.  This procedure has more down-time, and requires the use of internally placed drainage tubes to help with fluid build up.  The results are generally superior to the mini-tuck in most patients.

Finally, I will also add, that not everyone is a candidate for these abdominal procedures.  Some patients would not have a good result with either one depending on their body habitus and pre surgical weight or health.  The only way to know for sure is to seek the professional opinion of a board certified plastic surgeon.  Hope this helps.- Erez Sternberg, MD.

Erez Sternberg, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 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.