Deciding Between a Mini- and Full- Tummy Tuck, Which Would be Best for Me? (photo)

I have 3 consultations for tt surgery & 3 different opinions. 2 of 3 said full tt, the 3rd said mini & loosening umbilicus, then relocating when excess skin is removed. 3rd doc said scar placement would be lower with mini. I don’t need muscle repair am 49 @ 25% bf. All 3 surgeons were board certified. 3rd surgeon had photos patients similar & their results. 3rd doctor said shorter recovery with mini because less invasive. Need more input to help me decide. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Doctor Answers 12

Deciding between a mini and full tummy tuck - which would be best for me?

Hello! Thank you for your question and photos! I hope that these answers help! Tummy tuck is an excellent method for shaping the belly and create a flatter and sculpted abdomen after the procedure. Looking at your photos, I do believe that you would be an excellent candidate for this procedure in order to remove the excess skin/soft tissue of your lower abdomen and contour the areas of your belly. Also, abdominal wall tightening may optimize your result. Stretch marks to the level of your umbilicus will also be excised. Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle prior to the procedure and afterwards is recommended in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you.

Once you are ready for the procedure, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck with abdominal wall tightening. This would remove the excess skin/soft tissue and stretch marks while contouring your belly. The mini tummy tuck has limited usefulness and limited candidates as it truly only addresses excess skin in a small area above your pubis. It will not address your abdominal wall and the tightening of such, frequently needed to achieve a shapely abdominal wall. While the recovery time is shorter, the benefits afforded to you by a full tummy tuck are much greater and will optimize your result. You should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon well-versed in body contouring procedures at anytime to go over options to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right for you. Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Mini vs. Full Tummy Tuck

Based on the photo you provided, you would benefit from a standard (full) tummy tuck procedure. A standard tummy tuck involves repair of the rectus muscles, which have beed stretched from pregnancy, and removal of excess loose skin and tissue. A mini tummy tuck would not provide with you with a nice long-lasting result and only involves improving the area below the belly button, which could affect the look of the area above the belly button area causing an unwanted bulge. Make sure to consult a board certified plastic surgeon and that you are finished having children before considering plastic surgery.

A mini procedure limits the surgeon from providing the best results possible. It involves work done from the belly button and under. Very few mommy's (if you have had children) benefit from a mini tummy tuck. The most important thing to consider is finding a board certified plastics surgeon to perform your surgery.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Mini vs. Full tummy tuck

Your photographs show excess skin above your umbilicus and wrinkling around the umbilicus.  This would not be improved with a mini tummy tuck and requires a full tummy tuck.  Also, muscle repair is NOT part of the tummy tuck but fascia repair is.  You need the fascia repaired because you are bulging anteriorly.  The best technique is an abdominoplasty with mesh reinforcement which produces weight loss, maintains the reduced weight and produces a flatter abdomen.

Best of Luck,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

It depends

A true mini tt is to tighten the skin below the navel without moving the navel. What I call an intermediate tt involves lifting the skin up to the navel, taking the navel loose from the muscles,and moving it down, and trimming the excess skin.  The problem with this is

the navel may wind up being too low.  A full tt is the same except the navel is taken loose

from the skin and left attached to the muscle.  The problem with this is the opening in

your skin where the navel used to be will have to be sewed up leaving a scar on the lower

part of your abdomen if you don't have enough excess skin to cut it out all together.

It looks like the intermediate will be the best, but my decision would require an examination

before making that decision.










E. Anthony Musarra II, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Choosing Between The Two Tummy Tucks

A mini-tummy tuck can be done on any patient, it is question of whether that operation is sufficient to achieve your goals versus what can be achieved with a full tummy tuck. In making that decision, one factor to remove from the equation is recovery. The recovery differences between a mini- and a full tummy tuck are not that significant if really much at all. It comes down to how much scar length can you tolerate and what you want in terms of abdominal flatness for the final result to be. In looking at the one photo you have provided, it appears to me that you would be much happier with the final result with a full tummy tuck. Even though the final scar will be higher and longer, the amount of abominal flattening and tightness would be dramatically better than what a mini-tummy tuck can do. With either procedure, you would benefit from additional liposuction around the waistline and into the back.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Full tummy tuck vs mini tummy tuck

Thanks for your question. Did you have any children? Do you pooch out in your belly when you relax your tone and muscles?  These questions help answer the question best.  I have tell you that in my humble opinion the recovery difference between these two operations is overstated and the difference in the length or position of the scar is very little.  In my practice a partial lower muscle repair with a mini-tuck has the same lifting restrictions as a full muscle repair and a partial repair puts you at risk of bulging above yout belly button post-operatively.  The contour obtained by a full tuck would be superior and I am not a fan of "loosening" or floating your belly button on you because it could easily end up too unnaturally low.  By my score, two good surgeons wanted you to do a full tummy tuck, and one did not.  Get another opinion.  Good luck.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 200 reviews

Tummy Tuck choices

There are a few pieces of information missing that would enable us to comment more effectively.  You do not mention number of full term pregnancies that you have had or what your ultimate goal is.  In general, more invasive surgery, i.e. full abdominoplasty, gives more dramatic results at the expense of more scarring and longer recovery.  I would say that if you have had full term pregnancies and your goal is to be as flat as possible, then a full abdominoplasty is your best bet.  Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Full vs mini tummy tuck

You are a much better candidate for a full tummy tuck. When a person who is not a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck ends up having a mini they are not happy and eventually will have a full. Perhaps what the third Dr is saying is a mini is not really a mini.  If he thinks he can get as good a result with a mini and would be willing to do a full for free if you are not happy then you may consider that.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Who is a good candidate for a mini Tummy tuck?

A mini tummy tuck works best on women with very tight skin in the area above the belly button and a "pot belly" below. There are very few women seeking a tummy tuck for whom the mini is a better option , although it can be fantastic in the right person. With less skin removal you sacrifice improving the waistline and a adjacent pull on the upper thighs.  I do not think the difference in recovery between a mini and a full tummy tuck is very significant, and it certainly is not worth making a long term decision on that basis. 

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Full or Mini TT

If you don't get the full TT now two things will happen: you will be very dissatisfied with the final results and you will then need to go thru the whole thing again to get the best results.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 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.