What Are Other Differences Between a Regular Tummy Tuck and a Mini Tummy Tuck Which is Through the Belly Button?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the mini tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 11

Numerous Differences in Tummy Tuck Methods: Apply to Certain Types of Patients

Each tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is adapted to each patient, but standard abdominoplasty and mini- are common terms.  We want you to have the one that will give you the best result.

Mini-tummy tuck is used for a woman that has loose skin only below the belly button, mild to moderate laxity of the abdominal wall muscles and no to moderate subcutaneous fat.  This can also be called a type of lipo-abdominoplasty.  The incision is more like a C-section scar.

Standard or full tummy tuck is used for women that have skin looseness both above and below the belly button, all degrees of abdominal wall looseness, and various amounts of fat.  This technique is able to help more women see a more attractive abdomen.  The incision usually extends from hip to hip.

An extended abdominoplasty is used when skin and fat looseness extends toward the sides of the abdomen, rather than being limited to the front.  It is less common, but can particularly help women that have lost considerable amounts of weight, but who are left with loose skin.  The incision goes from one side to the other.

An in-person examination is the way for your plastic surgeon to evaluate each of these layers, discuss your issues and concerns, and recommend the best techniques for you.  Best Wishes.

Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck and Full Tummy Tucks

There are many differences between a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and a mini-tummy tuck.  The more commonly performed full abdominoplasty will remove the extra,loose skin on the lower abdomen and usually requires releasing the belly button from the skin and then redraping the remaining skin and making a new opening for the belly button.  Often the muscles of the abdomen which have been stretched will be tightened during the same procedure.  The incision is usually low on the abdomen and hidden by swimwear and undergarments.

A mini-tuck is usually much smaller in scope; removing a small amount of loose skin from the lower abdomen through an incision slightly longer than a typical C-section.  The belly button is not released and therefore the effect of the mini-tuck is limited to below the belly button and not above it.  On occasion the abdominal muscles below the belly button can be tightened but the ones above the navel are not.  To quote one of our past ASAPS Presidents, Dr. Peter Fodor, "The trouble with the mini-tummy tuck is that not many women qualify for it."  Trust me, it sounds better with his Hungarian accent.

From your question, you ask about a procedure being performed through the belly button and this may mean that your surgeon is considering performing an endoscopic abdominoplasty.  During this procedure, a small incision is made near the navel and then an endoscope is inserted.  The surgeon then uses the scope to repair the muscle separation.  There may be a small amount of skin removed similar to a mini-tuck but not a lot.  After having tried a number of these in the 90's, I found that there are few women that really benefited from this technique.  Hope this helps.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Differences between a full tummy tuck and mini tummy tuck

There are several differences between a mini tummy tuck and a standard tummy tuck. A mini is almost like a tummy tuck lite - it involves tightening of the skin and underlying muscle layer of the lower abdomen, below the umbilicus. It involves a far shorter incision than a full tummy tuck and does not involve an incision around the belly button.

There is a distinct group of patients that can benefit from this procedure - those that have some laxity of the lower abdomen. In contrast to many of the previous respondents, this procedure can be quite effective and yield very nice results. To perform a full tummy tuck in these individuals would be inappropriate, unnecessary and result in greater scar length than warranted.

A full tummy tuck is the procedure that addresses laxity of the abdomen in general - upper and lower - and is the one performed on the vast majority of patients who have abdominal tightening procedures. It involves tightening of the abdominal wall muscles along their entire length, a greater removal of tissue, longer incisions and more discomfort and down time. The results in the right person when done well can be quite dramatic and satisfying.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

What R Other Diff. Btwn a Regular Tummy Tuck & Mini Tummy T.. Which is Thru the Belly Button? Answer:

I think you have heard great advice from this panel of surgeons that obviously have a lot of experience.  Once you have been in practice awhile you learn that a mini tummy tuck really doesn’t do much and I only see a few women each year that are even candidates for it. Minimal skin and abdomen tightening. In fact, the tighter you make the lower tummy, the worse it makes the upper tummy look! So if there is any loose skin above the belly button, go for the full, if at all possible.

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Very few women are helped by mini tummy tuck.


The trouble is that almost all women who have had children have excess fat, loose skin, and separated muscles both above and below the belly button.  If a woman like this has a mini tummy tuck, she will look worse after wards.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Mini tummy tuck vs. a full tummy tuck

The differences between a full tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and a mini tummy tuck are multi-fold. There are few women that are excellent candidates for a mini tummy tuck. The mini tummy tuck scar or incision is shorter. The umbilicus is not moved, therefore has no scar, and the muscle tightening is only performed below the umbilicus. Women that qualify for a mini tummy tuck have minimal excess skin or muscle laxity above the umbilicus. The recovery and surgical time is also shorter.

Donna Rich, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Mini tummy tuck improves lower abdomen only

Tummy tucks, often part of the mommy makeover, are done to correct the things that don't respond to exercise: loose skin, localized fat if any, and muscle separation (diastasis.) The mini tummy tuck removes some skin from the lower abdomen, leaving a scar along the bikini line similar to a c-section. Muscle repair and fat removal can be done, but there is no tightening of the skin in the upper abdomen so most patients in need of a tummy tuck get a better result with the full version. This removes skin all the way up to the belly button, and the skin of the upper abdomen is stretched down to cover it. The belly button is then brought up therough the flap at its original location, which is why there is a scar there with a full tummy tuck. The scar at the lower abdomen should be low but is longer than the mini.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Mini tummy tucks do not deliver

Quite simply, if you need a tummy tuck, you need a tummy tuck.

Mini tucks that try to do with less simply achieve less

They simply patients disappointed with their accomplishment and simply not worth their keep.  

All tummy tucks will need a bikini line scar.  Nothing can be accompished from trying to do a tummy tuck through belly button.    

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Differences Between a Regular Tummy Tuck and a Mini Tummy Tuck Which is Through the Belly Button?

The topic of Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) surgery is extensive and literally fills textbooks.

Let's assume that our goal is to produce the BEST possible cosmetic results ; a nice flat tummy with a narrower waist and to raise sagging Mons pubis and thighs in the process. As surgeons our ability to produce a great result depends on what our patients literally bring to the table. (Just like a great meal depends not only on the cook's skills but on the freshness and quality of the ingredients or a home builder depends on the quality of his building material).

If the woman has a "mini" tummy deformity - minimal excess skin, minimal to no muscle separation and NO overhang - in these rather rare cases, a mini tummy tuck may produce adequate results.

But, attempting a mini-tummy tuck (of which there are several variations including attempting muscle tightening through the belly button, cutting the belly button stalk and allowing it to "float" inferiorly with removal of the lower tummy skin etc) when a "Full" Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) is indicated is shortsighted and will result in poor results when otherwise great results could be achieved. For a nice result
- any muscle separation and muscle stretch MUST be taken in (not done well in a mini tummy tuck
- moderate to large skin excess removal in a tummy tuck without moving the belly button upwards (ie a mini TT) would pull the belly button too low resulting in a weird look.

Therefore, to get the BEST result your surgeon needs to itemize YOUR individual set of findings and pick the procedure which would best address them instead of picking a "mini" tummy and then trying unsuccessfully to make it work.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck?

In my opinion, the mini tummy talk 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 most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. Of course, there are downsides (including a longer scar and probably a longer recovery time) but for most patients the benefits outweigh the downsides. It is not unusual to see patients who've had mini tummy tuck  surgery present for  revisionary surgery.

It is important to work with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to obtain advice (based on good ethics and judgment) to  improve your chances of a successful outcome and minimize the need for further surgery.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 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.