Full or mini tuck?

I am beginning my search for a surgeon to perform a tummy tuck. I am curious if it looks as if a mini tuck would fix my wrinkled loose skin and navel or if a full tuck would be necessary. Thanks in advance.

Doctor Answers 17

Full tummy tuck needed

You need a full tummy tuck. If you had a mini-tummy tuck, the loose skin above your belly button would remain. You will also get full muscle tightening with a full tummy tuck to complete the rejuvenation of your mid-section. Take your time in selecting a surgeon and ask for photos of her/his work focusing on the appearance of the new belly button and location of the scar (should be below the bikini line). See attached web reference for a case much like yours. Thanks for sharing!



Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Full or mini?

Thanks for your question. From the photos I can not evaluate the laxity of your skin. A pinch test would help here. It appears though that your muscle separation starts above the bellybutton.  I think it likely you would get a flatter tummy with a full , but only an in person exam would allow a good opinion.

I have included tummy tuck FAQ below.  I hope these help.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Tummy tuck?

In my opinion, you do not have enough loose skin or muscle to warrant a tummy tuck. Rather, Vader ultrasound liposuction and/or smart lipo should provide skin tightening with an easier procedure and no large scar.

An exam and consultation with a plastic surgeon who performs these procedures is recommended to confirm you are a candidate as well as discuss your options and expectations.

Full or mini tuck?

Thank you for your question and series of photographs.  Depending on your goal results I think you would most benefit from a full tummy tuck and liposuction of your waist.  The tummy tuck will tighten your stomach muscles, helping to achieve a flatter appearance, while removing excess skin and adipose tissue, namely the tissue above your belly button which can not be addressed with a mini-tummy tuck.  Liposuction can be used to enhance your tummy tuck results by narrowing your waist and removing isolated areas of diet and exercise resistant fat.  Hope that this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Mini vs. full abdominoplastyq

Thank you for your question. So much more is happening than a little loose skin, and this is usually the case in mothers. You have lost tension globally in the entire torso and so the thighs and suprapubic region have fallen and you have gotten 'thick' at the waist. Any operation that just removes a little skin and puts the muscles together marginally is, in my opinion, not worth it and potentially harmful. With a proper abdominoplasty, you should be able to get a narrow waist, lift of the top your legs and pubic region and, generally, be put back. Warning: the 'average' plastic surgeon does not do this and you will have to do more research to find one who does and does it well. Look at lots of photos, and go on a few consults. 

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Leland Deane MD FACS

Leland Deane, MD
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Am I A Candidate?

Thank you for your question and photos. You appear to be an excellent candidate for a full tummy tuck. The abdominal skin excision and muscle tightening could give you an excellent contour as well as improve the tone of the anterior abdominal wall.  Please see a board certified plastic surgeon for an in-person examination to discuss the specific details of the procedures. Ask to see before and after photos to get an idea of what can be achieved. Hope this helps!

Full or mini.....?

While you may be a candidate for either procedure, you should carefully contemplate your goals. Is it more important to have a shorter scar than is common with the traditional tummy tuck? Or, is it more important to achieve a shapely figure? If it's about the figure, then a traditional tummy tuck is in order: you can expect a flatter shape, slimmer waist and removal of ALL of the loose skin including above and below the navel. The mini-tummy tuck is ideally suited to a small category of women who have very tight skin above the navel. Once you are ready to learn which option is ideal for you, plan to consult a Board Certified plastic surgeon with plenty of experience with tummy tuck surgery.

Tad Grenga, MD, FACS
Norfolk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Full or mini tuck?

Thank you for the question and pictures. In my practice, I would only offer you the full tummy tuck operation; any lesser operation would not end up with an outcome that you or I would be pleased with. 


Generally speaking, the “ideal” patient for tummy tuck surgery is one who has completed pregnancies, is psycho socially/emotionally/financially stable, has an excellent social support system surrounding him/her, is capable of arranging enough recovery time, does not smoke and who has reached a long-term stable weight.



 In my opinion, the mini tummy tuck is an operation that produces very limited results and is very rarely indicated. It involves a shorter incision but does not address the majority of the abdominal wall issues present for most patients who present consultation. For example, the area of skin excised is quite small. The abdominal wall musculature is addressed below the umbilicus leaving the upper number wall potentially lax. The appearance of the umbilicus is not necessarily addressed sufficiently.



For the vast majority of patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results.   When the time is right, seek consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience helping patients achieve the types of outcomes you would be pleased with.   You may find the attached link, dedicated to tummy tuck surgery concerns, helpful to you as you learn more. Best wishes. 

Full or mini tummy tuck?

You really need an in depth evaluation by a board-certified plastic surgeon. They will be able to give you different options. From your photographs, though, it seems you would be best served by a full tummy tuck. About this is usually a larger surgery, the extra benefits are usually worth it.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Full or mini tuck?

There are a variety of tummy tucks that can produce a good cosmetic result in the appropriate patient: a mini tummy tuck, a modified with an umbilical float, or a variety of a full abdominoplasty, all of which may, or may not, include tightening of the muscle and liposuction. Generally if there is significant loose skin above the umbilicus (belly button), a full tummy tuck will result in a greater correction and better outcome.

Liposuction alone, no matter which type, will not produce a good cosmetic improvement in a patient with your anatomy. 

Keep in mind that following the advice from a surgeon on this or any other website who proposes to tell you exactly what to do based on two dimensional photos without examining you, physically feeling the tissue, assessing your desired outcome, taking a full medical history, and discussing the pros and cons of each operative procedure would not be in your best interest. I would suggest you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 19 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.