5ft11, 165lbs, 26 Years Old: Mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck? (Photo)

Hi there! I'm 26 yrs old, 185cm tall (5'11) I weighed 119kgs (262 pounds) had a child and then over 8 months I lost 45kgs (99.20 pounds). I now weigh 75kgs (165 pounds) and have kept it off for 3 years. Going off my pictures, could I get away with a mini tummy tuck or would I need a full one? My abs are very separated so they would need tightening. I'm obviously trying to achieve a flat stomach like most women and would love your opinion on how I should get there! Thanks :)

Doctor Answers 16

Tummy tuck: short vs long incision

This decision has to be taken having in mind what is your goal as the perfect result for YOU not for US.
MY professional  recommendation is to do an extended Tummy Tuck in order to eliminate the saggy skin which is spilling over your clothes almost all the way around and also eliminate the possibility of "non acceptable" dog ears. This incision is placed in a very low position to be easily hidden under a bikini (saggy skin will be noticeable even with clothes on).
I would also recommend a muscle repair in order to create a more feminine curvaceous body shape. 
If your perfect result is just to eliminate the front abdominal skin then a full TT is for you. Mini tuck is not for you, that will only achieve poor results. 
Be encouraged. You will be loving your results.
Dr. Cardenas

Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Full tummy tuck only

Since a mini only treats below the belly button, that would appear to be the wrong operation for you. A full TT is what you need for best results.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Body contouring options following massive weight loss.

Congrats on the weight loss.  As others have chimed in, a mini tummy tuck is not the way to go.  With your degree of weight loss, you are in the massive weight loss category.  A standard tummy tuck would be beneficial, however, you could also consider circumferential procedures to address the laxity and tissue excess posteriorly.  I think that you will best be served by seeing a plastic surgeon who is experienced in the full range of body contouring techniques that include circumferential body lifting procedures.  Best of luck and thank you for sharing your story with us and all of the REAL SELF community.

Stephen M. Chen, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Tummy tuck

You have had a significant weight loss which is awesome.  The side effect is a lot of extra skin.  You could have a terrific result but most definitely need a full tummy tuck.  
Dr Rodger Shortt
Oakville Plastic Surgeon

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck

The answer seems to be unanimous that you need a full tummy tuck. You need to tighten the skin above and below your belly button, and it seems there is a significant amount of laxity. A full Tummy Tuck is the only way for you to get a tight, flat tummy.Go for it.

Rodney A. Green, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

5ft11, 165lbs, 26 Years Old: Mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck? (Photo)

Thank you for the question and pictures. Congratulation on your significant weight loss; you should be very proud of this accomplishment! I think you will do well with a full tummy tuck operation (quite a dramatic outcome can be expected,  but achieving  realistic expectations will be an important part of the preoperative communication as well).   Most patients who undergo this procedure after pregnancies and/or weight gain/loss, benefit from re approximation of the abdominal wall muscles  as well as from excision of the excess skin/adipose tissue.  You are not a candidate for mini tummy tuck surgery.  

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

Since you considering undergoing a major operation which often involves a significant physical and emotional recovery ( often underestimated by surgeons and patients alike), a few words of advice may be helpful: 

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself) and that you have realistic expectations. Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life situation. You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.

2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.

3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.

4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.

5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina of your caretakers.

6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.

7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.

8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).

9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience.

10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.

11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

5ft11, 165lbs, 26 Years Old: Mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck?

  A full tummy tuck will produce a far better result for you than a mini.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck Candidate

You would require a full tummy tuck to get rid of the excess skin and give you the flat tummy that you desire. I know it can be intimidating, but fortunately there have been so many improvements in the way tummy tuck surgery is performed and there are a number of products on the market for scar recovery.

For my patients, I use Exparel local anesthetic to control pain after surgery, which really helps in regard to the muscle repair. I also use Prineo scar recovery tape that is applied to the scar in surgery and left on for 6 weeks to help minimize the appearance of the scar.

Be sure to find a board certified plastic surgeon. Best wishes!

German Newall, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck?

  • Congratulations on your weight loss! Very impressive. 
  • You are not a candidate for a "mini" tummy tuck.  Based on the photos you have provided, you would benefit immensely from a standard, or "full" tummy tuck.  
  • Simply stated, a mini tummy tuck, performed through a smaller incision won't address the large amount of excess skin that you have been left with after your weight loss. 
  • An incision that goes from hip to hip, and even extended a bit beyond, will allow your plastic surgeon to remove all of this redundant skin and tighten up your abdominal musculature. 
  • Definitely meet with a board certified plastic surgeon to find out more about the abdominoplasty procedure. 
  • Thanks for sharing your photos!

Joshua Cooper, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck

The amount of excess skin typically determines the length of the incision required to remove that excess skin. As a general rule, a short incision only allows a small amount of skin removal. A longer incision and resulting scar (as in a full tummy tuck) will allow the surgeon to remove more skin and tighten the entire abdominal wall.  This is the important thing to consider when looking at this type of surgery. Don't compromise the results with a shorter scar if it won't deliver the results you want. A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon with an expertise in tummy tucks and body contouring should be able to show you what you can expect. In my practice in the San Francisco Bay Area I have come to the conclusion that the happiest patients are those that have realistic expectation on what a procedure will and won’t do for them. Good luck! Dean Vistnes.

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 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.