Mini or Full Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy?

Hi I am 5'2" and 110 lbs. I have loose skin and my abs are separated from 2 pregnancies. I was wondering if I would need a full or a mini tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 35

A Mini Tummy Tuck vs. a Full Tummy Tuck

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The decision on what type of tummy tuck to perform is not dependent on patient size but rather on the specific changes that have occurred on the abdominal wall, including those to the skin, fat thickness and underlying muscle wall. When there is significant loose skin above the belly button, a mini tummy tuck will fall short of achieving a good result. When there is separation between the rectus muscles above the belly button, a mini tummy tuck will not adequately repair the condition. Skin one and fat thickness of the abdominal skin are also important factors that require evaluation. It is difficult to predict those patients who will only need some form of limited tummy tuck procedure without examining all of these elements on that patient.

Tummy Tuck Post Pregnancy

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When deciding between a mini or full tummy tuck, the most important factor is to determine how dramatic you want your results to be. As can be inferred, a full tummy tuck is recommended for patients with more pronounced skin laxity and excess fat. Most patients may undergo a mini tummy tuck procedure if they experience more laxity and fat than usual after pregnancy. To help you decide between the two procedures, I would recommend that you consult a few surgeons in your area. This way, you can get a better understanding of the differences between a mini and full tummy tuck and can make a more informed, personalized decision.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

How to Decide Mini Vs Full Tummy Tuck

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Without an exam it is difficult to give you the best opinion. Here is some useful information that goes into the decision making process of #WhichTummyTuckProcedure is best for you:
“Mini” tummy tucks can benefit patients who have a small amount of excess skin and fat or protruding of the lower abdomen. Liposuction may be used alone or in conjunction with a tummy tuck to benefit selected patients. A pubis lift can reduce the redundant pubis skin or excess amount of hair bearing tissue.
Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall skin only (shortest scar). Liposuction or an Umbilicoplasty can also be performed at the same time if desired.
Modified abdominoplasty addresses conditions usually below the umbilicus where the muscle wall and the abdominal skin requires repair. Variations of this procedure depend on each patients needs.
Standard abdominoplasty tightens all of the abdominal wall skin and muscles (standard scar). It also reshapes the belly button.
Extended abdominoplasty tightens the abdomen and the flanks or sides (longest scar extending around the hips/flanks towards the lower back).

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy?

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This is the most common question I receive when discussing abdominal rejuvenation.

In order to explain the difference we first must understand the anatomy of the abdominal wall and what happens as we age and the changes that occur with weight gain.

First the skin. The skin quality can range from normal to very lax and redundant. It can retain much of it's elasticity or it can be stretched and have lost the ability to retract. We see this loss of elasticity after considerable weight gain then loss or often after pregancy. The telltale signs of lax skin are stretch marks (stria). Simply put, these stria are tears in the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis. If there are a lot of stretch marks and the skin is loose, then there are few options other than to remove the excess skin. If this loose skin is mostly below the belly button then a mini tummy tuck is appropriate. For those with loose and lax skin that extends above the belly button, a full tummy tuck would be a better option. I can not determine from the lateral photograph you sent which would be more appropriate. 

Next we have to consider the deeper layer, the fat. If there is little fat and this is mostly located in the lower abodmen, then a mini tummy tuck is appropriate. If there is more diffusely located fat and there is a lot of fat above the belly button then in order to achieve a good result one would need either direct excision (full tummy tuck) or liposuction. If just using liposuction with loose or lax skin then there will be drooping of the skin. A full tummy tuck is preferred. Again, without a full set of photographs and/or an in person consultation it is impossible to advise. However, you do not seem to have much adipose tissue to worry about. 

Finally, we must consider the underlying muscles. With with pregnancies there can be weakening of the abdominal wall muscles as you described in your case. This is called "rectus diastasis"  which means seperation of the paired long muscles in the middle of the abdomen (your six pack abs). This problem can not be corrected with exercise. Usually correction of these changes require a full tummy tuck, but if the upper abdomen only requires muscle repair, termed plication, then it can be done with a mini tummy tuck. It requires more time, effort and expertise and sometimes some special equipment. Your surgeon can help you decide after a physical examination if this is possible. 

I hope this helps.


Bram Kaufman, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

The Difference Between a Mini and A Full Abdominoplasty

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Most women have skin laxity throughout their entire abdomen after having children. However there are some lucky few who will get the results they want with a modified, or mini abdominoplasty. I explain the decision making process to determine which one is right for you in the video.

David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck

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If your abdominal muscles are separated you will need a full abdominoplasty to correct that. A mini only corrects the lower portion of your abdomen.

Ellen A. Janetzke, MD
Bloomfield Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews


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A mini tummy tuck is designed to help flatten and restore the area below the navel and above the pubic bone.  A full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty restores the entire abdomen – from below the diaphragm to above the pubic bone.  Typically after pregnancy women require a full tummy tuck to correct any abdominal muscle diastasis or muscle separation that can be caused by pregnancy.  However, without a physical examination it is difficult to provide a more definitive answer as to which procedure would work best to get you back to your pre-pregnancy figure.  I recommend researching for board certified plastic surgeons.  After you’ve reviewed their before and after galleries schedule a consultation for a thorough exam.  After your exam your plastic surgeon can provide you with a surgical plan that will help get you the look you would like to achieve.

Be well and good luck!


In most cases full

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In most cases after multiple pregnancies and separation of the abdominal muscles, you would need a full abdominoplasty. There are a few people who in your situation would only need a mini. Seek consultation with a palstic surgeon and after a full examination, they can better determin what will work best for you.

Stephan Finical, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon

Mini or full tummy tuck after pregnancy?

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Hello!  Thank you for your question and photos! I hope that these answers help! Tummy tuck is an excellent method for shaping the belly and create a flatter and sculpted abdomen after the procedure. Looking at your photos, I do believe that you would be an excellent candidate for this procedure in order to remove the excess skin/soft tissue of your lower abdomen and contour the areas of your belly. Also, abdominal wall tightening may optimize your result. Stretch marks to the level of your umbilicus will also be excised.  Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle will be needed in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you.

Once you are ready for the procedure, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck with abdominal wall tightening. This would remove the excess skin/soft tissue and stretch marks while contouring your belly.  The mini tummy tuck has limited usefulness and limited candidates as it truly only addresses excess skin in a small area above your pubis.  It will not address your abdominal wall and the tightening of such, frequently needed after pregnancies to achieve a shapely abdominal wall.  While the recovery time is shorter, the benefits afforded to you by a full tummy tuck are much greater and will optimize your result.  You should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon well-versed in body contouring procedures at anytime to go over options to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right for you.  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

How Much Skin Is Left?

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Hi mommy818, and thanks for your question. Although you provided a helpful photo, it's still difficult to make this recommendation without an in-person examination. It's important for a surgeon to evaluate the quality of your skin as well as the amount of it; both of these factors could affect the treatment recommendation. Additionally, where your skin and fat tends to accumulate — whether it be above your navel or below it — is also a deciding factor. You look like you're in great physical condition, so it's distinctly possible that a mini tummy tuck will be sufficient for you. Of course, the only way to know for sure is by scheduling a consultation with a qualified surgeon near you. Good luck!

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.