What is the Difference Between a Mini and a Full Tummy Tuck

Please explain the difference and can mini be done if only a little skin or would it be best to float belly button and reatatch it or endoscopy?

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck

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The mini usually only is for tissue below the navel, the full is for tissue up to the xiphoid process.

Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


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Typically, a mini tummy tuck does not correct skin laxity and abdominal wall weakness above the belly button regions whereas full tummy tuck tightens the full abdominal wall and removes excess skin above and below the belly button.  The full tummy tuck requires an incision around the umbilicus (belly button) whereas in the mini tummy tuck there is no belly button circumferential incision.

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Mini vs full tummy tuck

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A "mini" tummy tuck only addresses skin laxity below the belly button.  It is sometimes useful if a patient only has a minor degree of skin laxity below the belly button.  The muscles below the belly button can also be tightened if indicated.  One can tighten the skin above the belly button with a mini-tuck if you release the belly button from the fascia and allow it to move down.  The problem with this is that in most people the result will look abnormal as the belly button will be too far down the stomach.  If a patient does not need muscle tightening and only needs a bit of skin tightening but has excess fat, I find the combination of abdominal liposuction and a mini tuck to be a perfectly good combination of procedures that can really give a good result.  The majority of patients that present for abdominal evaluation will benefit from a full tummy tuck, however.  The likelihood of a longer scar does turn some people off, but the results are generally so much better that the trade-off is almost always worth it.

Jeffrey E. Kyllo, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Difference Between Mini and Full Tummy Tuck

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The difference between a full and mini tummy tuck is not related to how long the scar is.  This is a common misconception.  While the mini tummy tuck scar is often shorter, it is not always the case.  The real difference is the areas that they address.  A mini tummy tuck only tightens the skin below the belly button while a full tummy tuck tightens the skin of the entire (upper and lower) abdomen.  A mini tummy tuck can tighten the muscle below the belly button but not above while a full tummy tuck can tighten the muscle both above and below the belly button.  It is usually not a good idea to tighten the muscle below the belly button and not above as the part that is not tightened can bulge out.  In my experience, mini tummy tuck is rarely indicated.  Most women who need tummy tuck will look best with a full tummy tuck.  Often, this is combined with liposuction to give the best result.  In those who are leaning toward mini tummy tuck, liposuction alone may be enough.  This would depend on the quality and quantity of skin.  In the end, the key is to get the best result.  If this requires a full tummy tuck, then so be it.  Floating the belly button is also something that is rarely indicated.  Endoscopy used to perform a procedure that is designed to tighten the skin isn't very useful.  Some use it in combination with liposuction to tighten the upper abdominal muscle when they perform a mini tummy tuck.  Again, this is rarely indicated.  Go see a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person and suggest the best option for you.  Good luck!
Dr. Parham Ganchi

Parham Ganchi, PhD, MD
Wayne Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 172 reviews

Mini vs. full tummy tuck

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A mini tummy tuck is one that only tightens the skin below the belly button.  Because the belly button "tethers" the skin to the underlying tummy "wall" (muscles adn fascia), no amount of pulling down on the skin will tighten the skin above the belly button if it is left attached.  In a full tummy tuck, the belly button is released from the surrounding skin and the skin freed up to the ribcage so that the entire tummy skin can be tightened.  When the skin is pulled down, the old belly button hole is pulled down (sometimes being discarded, sometimes not moving down far enough to be trimmed away in which case the hole is closed as a small vertical scar), and the belly button is "popped" through at the proper position so there is a scar around the belly button as well.  Most often the muscles and fascia are tightened as well during a full tummy tuck.  When a lower or mini tummy tuck is performed, although minor tightening of loose fascia below the belly button can be performed, there is no access to tighten the fascia above the belly button, and overtightening just of the lower fascia can cause the upper fascia to balloon out.

An umbilical float is rarely indicated.  It can be performed in cases of very minor skin laxity ablove the belly button in patients whose belly buttons are a bit high.  If they can stand a little lowering of the belly button without it looking funny, then the belly button is divided beneath the skin at the fascia level and reattached a bit lower to tighten this loose skin above it.  This avoids a belly button scar and a possible short vertical scar in a patient with mild skin laxity oin the upper tummy. If overdone, or if done in a patient whose belly button is already at the correct position or a bit low, it will move too low and look weird.  There are not many patients who are candidates for an umbilical float procedure.  A float can also be used just for access to tighten the muscles and fascia of the full tummy and reset in the same position it was...this would only be appropriate in a patient who did not have any skin laxity but only fascial laxity.

Endoscopy does not allow any skin removal, so it is not useful in anyone with any loose skin...it would only be used to tighten muscles and fascia in a patient with no skin excess.


A full tummy tuck versus a mini tummy tuck

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A mini tummy tuck addresses the excess skin and muscle laxity that exists in the lower half of the abdomen whereas a full tummy tuck addresses the excess skin and lax and separated muscles both above and below the belly button and involves detaching then reattaching the belly button to the skin. Most patients are better candidates for full tummy tucks. Those with very localized laxity of skin and muscle below the umbilicus may just need a mini tummy tuck.

There is, of course, a gray  area between these two that can make use of other ancillary techniques including using an endoscope or even doing an umbilical float. What would be best for you can be determined by your plastic surgeon.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Mini vs Full tummy Tuck........

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To explain it very simply......  a Mini Tummy Tuck tightens only the skin below the belly button.  A Full Tummy Tuck tightens the skin both above as well as below the belly button.    Either technique can result in a scar from hip to hip or longer.  But, only a Mini tummy tuck can leave a short scar. 

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Full tummy tuck vs. Mini TT

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A full tummy tuck involves repositioning of the belly button and tightening the area between the abdominal muscles that gets widened after pregnancy. It corrects the excess skin both above and below the belly button. A mini TT does not address the skin laxity above the belly button or the separation of the abdominal muscles. I also perform liposuction of the flanks in conjuction with both procedures. The floating belly button can be done with either technique it depends on how much tissue you have. Hope that helps.

Dana Khuthaila, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck or a Full Tummy Tuck

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Dear New York6667:

I have included a web link and a video that discuss the differences between full and mini tummy tucks. Click "more" to see them.

A mini tummy tuck works well if you like the appearance of your abdomen above the belly button, but not below it. If you cover the area below the belly button and you like the appearance, a mini may be just what the doctor ordered. If you still need to suck it in or there is loose skin above the belly button, a full tummy tuck will provide a better result.

There are more choices too, see the grey link below. Be certain to ask your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon what your options are. There is no replacement for an in person consultation.

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Depends on what y ou have

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If you have little or no extra skin, a mini is fine. If  you have had kids or had any sort of large weight loss , a regular tummy tuck is needed.  With a standard tummy tuck all of the skin between the pubis and belly button is excised. The muscles are tightened and the belly button is inset via a new incision. Come on in and we will tell you which is best for you. Trust an experienced board certified plastic surgeon for the best advice

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 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.