Should I Get Full or Mini Tummy Tuck? (Photos)

I am 47 years old, I have had 4 children all natural childbirth. I have recently lost close to 30 lbs and now weigh 114 and I am 5'2" tall. I have this pooch just below my belly button. I also have stretch marks and my belly button kinda sinks in. My biggest objective with a tummy tuck is to have a flatter stomach. Do you think a full tummy tuck or mini would reach that goal?

Doctor Answers 9

Mini- VS. Full Tummy Tuck - how to decide?

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Consider for a minute what a full term pregnancy does to a woman's body. The expanding uterus expands rapidly from a pear size organ deep in the pelvis to a large watermelon  size organ which pushes the intestines, the diaphragm and even narrows the ability of the lungs to expand. As this takes place the abdominal muscles and overlying skin are permanently stretched creating cracks in the skin - the so-called stretch marks. As the muscle stretching takes place, a permanent separation or diastasis is created between the six pack muscles. These changes are accentuated and made worse with each pregnancy. 

This being the case how can a single surgical procedure reverse these changes giving you back your "Before Baby" body back?

A Mini-Tummy Tuck can only remove loose skin below the belly button and somewhat put together the six pack muscles below the belly button. That greatly limits this operation to the few women who were never pregnant and have loose skin and fewer still women who after a pregnancy sustained limited to no muscle splitting and whose skin stretch and excess was limited to below the belly button. A very small group of women. 

A Full Tummy Tuck can easily reverse the majority of pregnancy-associated abdominal changes. It will take in ALL tummy muscle looseness, put the split six pack muscles together, remove all abdominal loose skin, narrow a widened wait back to an hourglass figure and lift a sagging Mons pubis. This operation helps the vast majority of mothers regain their youthful figures. 

In my opinion you would greatly benefit from a well-done Full Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplsty). 

Peter A. Aldea,MD

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Mini vs. Full Tummy Tuck

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The simple answer is that you need to have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to determine which technique is right for you. For most women, a full tummy tuck is a better option. Although there may be longer scars, you are able to address loose skin of the upper and lower abdomen and the belly button tends to stay in a more normal anatomic location than with a mini tummy tuck which may lower it. You may be happy with a mini-tummy tuck, but your surgeon should be able to show you the differences at a consultation.

Should I get a full or mini tummy tuck?

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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 along with 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!

Mini vs Full tummy tuck - pros and cons

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A mini tummy tuck and full tummy tuck both require a scar in the bikini line.  The length of the incision really depends on the degree of skin laxity.  A good candidate for the mini is if you have a small degree of laxity beneath the belly button and your a pretty happy with your upper abdominal contour.  You can certainly add liposuction or laser liposuction to further enhance your results.  Also beware that the mini will give your belly button a more stretched and vertical appearance which you can replicate by pinching your lower abdominal tissue and pulling downwards.

The main advantage of the full tummy tuck (the more common procedure) is that you can tighten the muscles along the entire abdomen and you can also resect more loose tissue, i.e. more stretch marks.  If the main goal of the tummy tuck procedure is to have a flatter abdomen, then I would consider the full tummy tuck.   Good luck with your decision.

Full tummy tuck

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I think from the photos you need  full tummy tuck. Although an exam is ciritical.

Usually a mini tummy tuck involves some form of liposuction,m tightening muscles in the lower abdomen and some skin excision. I prefer a full tummy tuck because the mini does not treat the upper abdomen.

Mini versus full tummy tuck

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A mini tummy tuck can vary considerably from surgeon to surgeon so you need to discuss carefully with your surgeon what is involved. In general a mini tummy tuck removes skin and fullness below the belly button. It also tends to pull the belly button a little lower. If you are happy with your upper abdomen and don't mind your belly button being lower (and it does look like you belly button is relatively high), then you may be happy with a mini. If you want correction of your upper abdomen, then you will need a full tummy tuck. You should discuss your concerns and questions with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area who should be able to help you decide.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Mini vs. full tummy tuck

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The amount of laxity both to the skin and the supporting muscles below the skin should be looked at before a decision is made  concerning mini or full abdominoplasty.  The photos that you have shown and your history for several pregnancies would best be corrected  by a full tummy tuck.  This will give you firm muscle supprt both above and below the umbilicus which you need.Recovery time is not signicantly altered when comparing the full to the mini tummy tuck.


Good luck

Mini or full tummy tuck?

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Thank you for the question and pictures.


I think you will be much better off with the standard tummy tuck procedure.

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

Should I Get Full or Mini Tummy Tuck? (Photos)

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Mini procedure equals mini result.

Patients tend to be much more concerned with scars before surgery than after. 

A mini-abdominoplasty in your case will leave you with looseness of your skin and muscles that you will not be happy with.

You will obtain a much better result with a full abdominoplasty, even if it means a longer scar.

As long as you get the result you're after you will have no problems with the final scar.

Good luck!



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.