How can I tell if I need a full or mini tummy tuck? (Photo)

Doctor Answers 13

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

Thank you for your question and photos.  Of course, an exam would be needed to make a final determination.  It looks like you would be a good candidate for a traditional tummy tuck.  At that time, the rectus muscles can be sewn back together, (plicated).  Mini tummy tucks are usually reserved for those with extra skin between the umbilicus and pubis.  The loose skin is trimmed off.  These patients are usually quite thin.  Best to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  Together you will come up with a plan.


Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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

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 and liposuction laterally for additional contouring. 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!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


Please find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and member of the Aesthetic Society using the Smart Beauty Guide. These Plastic Surgeons can guide you on all aspects of facial surgery, breast augmentation and body procedures including tummy tucks or mommy makeovers!

A tummy tuck can be done as a solitary procedure. Many times the results are enhanced by adding liposuction to the hip and love handle area. A tummy tuck is also done in combination with a breast augmentation in a mommy makeover.

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

A full tummy tuck will remove loose skin and tighten the muscles to produce a nice, flat, tight abdomen.  Your skin laxity, stretchmarks, and muscle laxity will be better served with a tummy tuck.

Find a board certified plastic surgeon who performs hundreds of tummy tucks and body contouring procedures each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Tt vs mini TT

Once a patient have developed loose skin on the upper abdomen, lower abdomen and also loose muscle as a result of pregnancies, gaining and losing weight through life or a dramatic weight loss, is a perfect candidate for a Full Tummy Tuck as is your case. 
You will be highly benefited with a TT to get rid of the saggy skin, a tight muscle repair to get a flat abdomen and a tapered waist. I would also recommend to do a thorough liposuction to your back, waist and if you want a nice fat transference into your butt That would add a very attractive touch. 
Be encouraged. 
Dr. Cardenas

Laura Carmina Cardenas, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Full Abdominoplasty Candidate?

Based on the pictures alone, you appear to require a full abdominoplasty. If you have a ventral wall hernia, you may get insurance coverage. If not, in my NJ practice the total procedure costs $6000 which includes the Board Certified Professional fee, B/C anesthesia fee, and Medicare approved surgicenter. This is an outpatient procedure which takes approximately two hours to perform. Drains are usually not required.
Best wishes

George C. Peck, Jr, MD
West Orange Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Mini vs Full Tummy Tuck

A mini-tummy tuck is indicated when there is no excess skin above the umbilicus but there is below the belly button. When there is excess skin above the umbilicus, then a full abdominoplasty is necessary. You should also be at an ideal weight. This is important because it makes the final result significantly better as well as makes the procedure safer. You appear to have excess skin above the umbilicus and in need of further weight loss. After you lose weight to reduce your abdominal girth to normal, see a board certified  plastic surgeon.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Mini vs full tummy tuck

You would achieve the best results from a full tummy tuck along with modest liposuction. A mini would give you a smaller scar as its only benefit but you would be very disappointed.
The mini is for people who have just a little bit of extra skin  and some muscle laxity and modest fat. 
Stick with ythe full procedure.

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

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

A full tummy tuck tightens both upper and lower abdomen.  A mini leaves the umbilicus as it is and only addresses the lower abdomen below the umbilicus. If you like you upper abdomen, then a mini may be sufficient. It is difficult tell simply from photos, but you likely will be happier with a full tummy tuck.  See a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your particular case more fully.  Best of luck.

Janet Woodyard, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

You will need a full tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.  Based on your photographs you will need a full tummy tuck.  However I strongly urge you to lose some weight first as any fat that remains beneath the tummy skin will prevent complete tightening of the skin during abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.

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.