How can I tell if I qualify for a full or mini tummy tuck? (photos)

Doctor Answers 13

Tummy Tuck Surgery - Full or Mini?

Thank you for your question! A full tummy tuck addresses three concerns: skin derangement (ex. stretch marks), fat, and rectus diastasis (separation of the abdominal muscles). Most “mini-tummy tucks” usually address skin derangement below the belly button and removal of the corresponding fat without addressing the rectus diastasis. This scenario can be found in women who have not had pregnancies. While patients do have a shorter scar after a mini tummy tuck, which is a common reason patients desire it, you may not get the results that you are looking for. If you are concerned about scarring, there are excellent scar therapies available that help minimize the appearance of scars post-surgery. On particularly helpful device is the Embrace Active Scar Defense. To accurately diagnose which of these three anatomic layers are affected you will need to do a full physical exam rather than just by photography. Whether a full or mini tummy tuck is recommended for you is determined at a consultation appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon. He or she can examine you and create a customized plan to achieve your personal goals. Good luck in your research!


San Jose Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

How can I tell if I qualify for a full or mini tummy 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. 

How can I tell if I qualify for a full or mini tummy tuck?

The term mini tummy tuck really means short scar tummy tuck. This procedure is great for women with muscle laxity, but only a little loose skin. The more loose skin that is present, the longer the incision needs to be to flatten the tummy and remove the skin. You seem to have a fair amount of loose skin, especially when sitting, so you will achieve a flatter result with a full tummy tuck.

Tummy Tuck

Good morning and thank you for your question and photos. The answer to your question depends on the result you want. You could certainly have either of these procedures but the mini tummy tuck would only correct the lower loose skin of the tummy area. A full tummy tuck would not only correct the loose skiing but overall tighten the entire abdomen. You need to make an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon to have an in person examination. At that appointment you can discuss what you want your end result to be and options to accomplish that. Best of luck to you!

Michael K. Obeng, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

How can I tell if I qualify for a full or mini tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck would likely be the best option based upon the pictures.
Kenneth Hughes, MDLos Angeles, CA

Full or mini

A full tummy tuck would certainly allow you to have a tighter overall result, since more skin could be removed.  Combining it with liposuction of your hips could really give you a nice outcome.  However, mini tummy tuck could remove the loose skin that hangs in your lower abdomen, and this would not be as invasive.  You should have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to be able to discuss both options in person.  This would allow the surgeon to examine you and give you a more in depth evaluation of the pros and cons of each.  Best of luck!

Jonathan Heistein, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Full tummy tuck better than mini when there is significant loose skin

Your pictures show a degree of skin laxity that will not be improved to the degree you want with a mini tummy tuck. The recovery is not much different, and the scar is longer but in the same location. There are several variations of tummy tucks to be aware of.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

How can I tell if I qualify for a full or mini tummy tuck?

Thank you for your question.  Based on your photos which show a good amount of loose skin, you would be a great candidate for a full tummy tuck.  This would include tightening of your muscles and possible liposuction.  Be sure to consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

How can I tell if I qualify for a full or mini tummy tuck?

Thank you for sharing your question and photograph. Though nothing replaces an in-person examination, based on the photograph of you from the side I would recommend 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.  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

You need full tummy tuck

You will not benefit from anything less than a full tummy tuck.  As a matter of fact mini tummy tuck indications are very few. Most of patients do need full tummy tuck to have meaningfull results from abdominoplasty. 

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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.