Mini vs full tummy tuck - what you "actually need" vs what you "want to need"
It is a common feeling among patients that they "don't need" a procedure that sounds too big for them. This is common in facelifting, breast lifting and tummy tucks. So many times however, your intuition is wrong and you make the mistake of trying to find a doctor who will do what "surgery you want" rather than telling you what you need to get the "result you want."
Mini tummy tucks are truly rare and create a unique deformity that can only be fixed by a full tummy tuck and sometimes cannot be repaired.
I am sure that if you looked at all the "mini" TT's done, greater than 75% of them are done by non-plastic surgeons who don't know how to do a real tummy tuck. The difference between a mini and a full in terms of scar, pain and recovery are really very small so it is best to get what you need rather than pushing for what you want.
Creating an Attractive Belly Button with a Tummy Tuck
I am not sure that a MINI-Tummy Tuck would get you the cosmetic result you want and deserve. A Mini-Tummy Tuck is an over-used operation which is best used in women with minimal skin excess / looseness and either no muscle separation or mild separation limited to under the belly button. Attempting to use a Mini-Tummy Tuck in women whose muscle separation extends higher results in a flat lower tummy and a bulging upper tummy with an abnormal belly button location.
In your case you state you have a "pooch and some fat that protrudes from the bellybutton and below". So we know the muscle separation or diastasis, extends as far as your belly button. I would bet that on examination, it will be found to extend higher.
A well performed Full Tummy Tuck would remove all tummy skin excess, narrow the waist, lift a sagging Mons pubis, give your a young appearing, sunken "innie" belly button (instead of one that "doesn't look youthful or sexy") and could lift your thighs resulting in smoothing of upper thigh cellulite.
Based on my extensive experience with this procedure, I think you would do better with a Full Tummy Tuck.
To read a comprehensive summary of Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty, please follow the link below -
Dr. P. Aldea
It is difficult to tell from pictures alone, but I think you are probably borderline for a mini abdominoplasty. You have several choices--go with a mini, which will distort the umbilicus and give a generally disappointing result above the umbilicus (especially when you bend over; and in your case, I think the umbilical hooding will actually be worse with a mini tummy tuck). You could do with a full abdominoplasty which will be better in the long run and give better tightness to the abdomen, but in your case might be done with a slightly higher transverse scar, or, lastly, you could have an umbilical float-type procedure which relocates the umbilicus slightly lower, but allows at least some upper abdomen tightening. A lower umbilicus may seem funny, but if only an inch or so lower, it still looks quite natural, especially in longer waisted patients.
Belly Button Repair and Mini Tummy Tuck
The short answer is that yes, belly buttons can be improved at the same time as a mini Tummy Tuck. The key is to select an experienced plastic surgeon and express your outcome appearance desires during the consultation to be sure.
Full Abdominoplasty & Peri Umbilical Incision
The vast majority of patients who
have redundant abdominal wall tissue require a full abdominoplasty. Although most patients would prefer a
lesser procedure, in reality very few qualify for a mini abdominoplasty.
Your pictures suggest redundant
skin of the upper and lower abdomen with associated weakness of the abdominal
wall muscles. There also appears
to be diffuse fatty thickening of the abdominal wall as well. Adequate correction of these problems
will require a full abdominoplasty.
In addition, one of the major
advantages of a mini abdominoplasty is the absence of a peri umbilical
incision. Repair of the belly
button would require this type of incision and decrease the down side of this
It’s important that you see a board
certified plastic surgeon. A careful evaluation should
lead to the correct solution to your problem.
Mini Tummy Tuck Usually Not Intended to Improve Belly Button Appearance
The ideal candidate for a mini tummy tuck is a person
who has localized excess skin between the bellybutton and the pubic bone.In the course of a mini tummy tuck, the skin
and fat layer is released from the underlying muscle layer up to the
bellybutton.The excess skin and fat are
then removed after the skin has been pulled snugly downward.A mini tummy tuck is normally not intended to
improve the appearance of the bellybutton.If there is loose skin surrounding the bellybutton or a need to improve
its appearance then it is very likely that a full tummy tuck would be a better
For a simple and illustrated explanation of tummy tuck and body contouring procedures, watch my video.
It is difficult to accomplish all that one wants to achieve with a mini abdominoplasty. It is hard to tighten the muscles above the umbilicus unless the skin is undermined and elevated. This can be elevated with floating the umbilicus and this would let the skin and umbilicus to move downward after the upper muscles were tightened surgically. this would allow a limited adjustment to the previously loose upper abdominal skin. There is also a very limited potential to perform a small amount of SAL to surrounding areas of the abdomen as well as to perform a limited umbilicoplasty to the belly button without elevating the abdominal skin.
Full abdominoplasty procedures will always give a greater possibility to tighten the muscles and adjust the skin properly, however. Discuss this with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to assess which would be the best procedure for you.
Good luck to you.
Frank Rieger M.D. Tampa Plastic Surgeon
Belly button and mini tummy tuck, a different option
Another option is to undergo a mini tummy tuck in which the surgeon can "float" your belly button. This means detaching it to be able to dissect all the way up (which allows the surgeon to fully plicate your muscle separation) and also to redrape the abdominal skin fully (think of pulling a sheet up in the air and letting it smoothly redrape over the bed vs. just pulling from the middle down. This enables your surgeon to smooth out the skin above the belly button as well as below it. The belly button can be tacked back down during the surgery. I have found this to be a useful method that is somewhere in between a full and mini tt. Liposuction in conjunction really helps contour as well. Good luck!
Fix umbilicus at mini tummy tuck
It is difficult to say what could be done for your umbilicus without an exam because the photo does not show much.
Mini vs full tummy tuck procedure
Based on the information you provided and your photo, you seem like an ideal candidate for a full (standard) tummy tuck procedure rather than a mini tummy tuck. I suggest consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss the best and safest possible options for you. A mini tummy tuck only involves work below the belly button which may cause the upper abdomen area to be more prominent. The area above the belly button ends up becoming the problem area once th lower abdomen is improved. A full (standard) tummy tuck involves, repair of the rectus muscles, stretched from pregnancy, as well as removal of the loose, excess skin of the tummy. Liposuction may improve body contours and may be necessary. The belly button is relocated on the tightened abdominal area, providing a natural look also. Recovery could vary between patient to patient. At 2 weeks, drains are removed and the patient is required to stay in the hunched postion for 1 full month to avoid any complications with healing. There is quite a bit of tension on the incision site and staying hunched will prevent any superficial openings. An abdominal binder is worn for 1 month also to aid in the healing process to minimize swelling and provide support. Initially, expect sweling and bruising. Swelling will subside within 4-6 months and final results should be seen within 6 months to a year depending on the severity and complexity of the case. Good luck!