Mini Tummy Tuck After Major Weight Loss?

I had a major weight loss in my teens. I'm slender but I have loose fat on my stomach below and above my belly button. Is a mini tummy tuck right for me? You can't even notice my that stomach looks tiny in a shirt, but I won't dare wear a bikini.

Doctor Answers 13

Tummy Tuck Options

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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

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

May need more than a mini-tummy tuck to remove your excess skin

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Congratulations on your weight loss. 

I would not suggest a mini-tummy tuck.  The fact that you mentioned you have loose fat above your belly button tells me that you need a full abdominoplasty.  A mini-tummy tuck only would address some of the fat below your belly button and would not relocate the belly button. 

Almost all of my weight loss patient’s undergo a full abdominoplasty with significant improvement.  Mini-tummy tucks are not ideal for weight loss patients because it does not address the skin and fat above the umbilicus.

With a full abdominoplasty an incision is made from one hip to the pubic region to the other hip.  Tissue dissection is carried up to the belly button and then up to the rib cage.  The muscle is tightened and the skin and fat is pulled down.  Typically skin and fat from the pubic region to above the belly button is removed and the belly button is brought out through the skin.

Thank you,

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Mini tummy tuck after major weight loss?

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Congratulations on your weight loss!  Unfortunately, mini tummy tucks are rarely effective after major weight loss, especially if you have loose skin above your belly button. Mini tummy tucks tighten skin and muscles below your belly button, not above it. So it sounds like you'd be a candidate for a full tummy tuck, if you want to flatten and tighten your entire abdomen.

I hope that helps and wish you all the best!

Mini v. full tuck after major weight loss

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Mini-tucks can be considered when the skin is loose below the BB; if you have excess skin above and below, then the full tummy-tuck would be the procedure of choice. You should be at your ideal weight prior to undergoing surgery so, if you are planning an additional weight loss or your weight has not yet stabilized, this is an excellent time to scope out your options and to pre-plan a surgery. 

Mini vs Full tummy tuck - pros and cons

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The mini tummy tuck really only addresses concerns below the belly button.  On occasion the concerns above the belly button can be addressed with liposuction alone, but if there is any laxity or bulging, then a full tummy would be best approach.  In addition, the mini will stretch the appearance of the belly button downwards and give  it more of a vertical appearance.

From your description of your concerns, I would recommend a full tummy tuck, but would go talk to a board certified plastic surgeon for a more detailed discussion on pros/cons with a mini vs a full tummy tuck.

Mini or full tummy tuck with massive weight loss

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If you had massive weight loss and complain of loose skin above and below your umbilicus, then you probably need a full tummy tuck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

A mini tummy tuck will not treat loose skin above the belly button

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The brief answer is that a mini tummy tuck will not eliminate loose skin above the belly button and this is best treated with a midi or full tummy tuck.  See the vdeo in the link below for  description.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Mini vs. full tummy tuck

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First off, congratulations on your success with your weight loss. Based on the information you provided, it sounds as though you a great candidate for a full (standard) tummy tuck rather than a mini. A mini tummy tuck involves a smaller incision but only improves the area below the belly button. You would benefit from a standard tummy tuck dramatically because it would involve muscle repair of the rectus muscles and removal of loose excess skin in the abdominal region above and below the belly button.

Tightening the skin will help improve the look of the abdomen, while also placing the belly button in an area with better quality skin. The incision would be hidden underneath the undergarments or bikini. Depending on the severity and complexity of the case, an extended tummy tuck may also be an option to improve the back/flank area as well. I would definitely recommend consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon to determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure and to discuss the best and safest possible options for your specific case. Good luck to you! 

Tummy Tuck vs Mini

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From what you describe, having loose skin above the belly button, then I would say no you are not a candidate for a mini tummy tuck. Mini will only address the skin below the belly button and if you have lost siginificant weight then I would say from that only, you will require a full tummy tuck likely.

I would look at it this way, would you be happy with a scar that is few inches shorter in length and leaves some loose skin on you abdomen, whereas if you extended the incision longer you would be flat?

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck is frequently NOT the answer after major weight loss?

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Before having ANY cosmetic surgery, it is best that your weight remain stable for at least 6-8 months or so. There is NO point in doing a tummy tuck while your weight is still falling.

I have done a lot of tummy tucks and have yet to see a person who after a significant weight loss has a skin laxity that is limited to BELOW the belly button (the indication for a MINI tummy tuck). The overwhelming majority of patients, require a formal abdominoplasty.

A full TT will not only flatten the ENTIRE tummy (blow and above the belly button) but will also, narrow your waist, mildly lift a droopy pubic mound, and lift your anterior thighs (erasing cellulite dimples). If combined with liposuction of the back, the buttocks are greatly enhanced as are the hips.

In my opinion odds are that this is the operation for you.

I hope this was helpful.

Peter A Aldea, MD, FACS

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.