Is a Full Tummy Tuck Better Than a Mini Tummy Tuck?

Doctor Answers 7

Full vs mini tummy tuck

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Hello Hope.  A mini tummy tuck addresses loose skin and muscles below the belly button only. The majority of people who need a tummy tuck benefit from a full tummy tuck.


Of course, this will completely depend on your situation and your physical exam. So it's best to visit with at least one board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your situation with them. I hope this helps and wish you all the best!

Choose the tummy tuck right for you

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One tummy tuck is not 'better' than another, and for some a mini tummy tuck is the right choice. The correct procedure will depend on the amount and location of the skin laxity. It just happens that most often the full tummy tuck is the best fit, but choose what is right for you.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck

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Dear Patient,


Every patient's anatomy varies so depending on the patient, sometimes a Mini Tummy Tuck can be better indicated than a Full Tummy Tuck or vice versa. Tummy Tucks, like all other plastic surgery procedures, are case sensitive and should be performed according to the patient’s surgical needs. That being said, very few patients are candidates for a Mini Tummy Tuck. A mini tuck usually only address the lower abdomen and does not include plication (sewing together) of the upper abdomen muscles and creation of a new belly button. Whereas a full tuck usually addresses the upper and lower abdomen, includes plication of the muscles, removal of the skin below the belly button, and recreation of the belly button itself. 


Many patients are hesitant to do a full tummy tuck because of the length of the scar. However, one should always keep in mind that the length of the scar varies depending on the anatomy of each patient and not necessarily the procedure itself.  I hope this info helps. 


Please always stay informed and educated and remember that the decision to have plastic surgery is a personal choice and a patient must always consider the best option that fits his/her daily lifestyle.  Be certain that you choose a board certified plastic surgeon that will be able to provide you with the highest standard of care for your plastic surgery needs.



                                            Best Wishes,

David N. Sayah, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews


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Some people do not need a full tummy tuck.  If you only have a minimal amount of skin on the lower portion of the abdomen, no muscle diastasis (separation), and a good weight for height (BMI), a mini tummy tuck may work.


In general, the additional steps taken during a full tummy tuck does provide better results in the long run.  


There are also hybrids in between, so the best thing to do is see a board certified plastic surgeon for an expert opinion.


Hope that helps!


Darshan Shah, MD
Bakersfield General Surgeon

The battle between the full and mini tummy tuck / La batalla entre una abdominoplastia completa y una mini

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There is a BIG difference between the results of a mini tummy and its cousin the full tummy tuck.  Remember the difference between the mini and full has NOTHING to do with incision length.  The incision length is due to a person shape not the procedure  The difference is that the full tummy tuck you will have the rectus muscles plicated and the upper abodminal skin will be much tighter.  The mini tummy tuck only fixes the lower abdomen.  My basic rule of thumb(with some exceptions) full term pregnancy or more than a 30 lb weight loss equals a full tummy tuck.  The mini is really only good for patients that have lost some weight or have a small amount of  excess lower abdominal tissue.


Good luck and thank you for your question.



Anire Okpaku MD


Hay una gran diferencia entre los resultados de una mini abdominoplastia y su “prima” la abdominoplastia completa. Acuerdese de que la diferencia entre ambos procedimientos no tiene nada que ver con el tamaño de la incision. Esto se debe al diseño del cuerpo de la persona y no al procedimiento en si. La diferencia es que en la abdominoplastia completa se le cosen los musculos abdominales y por consecuencia la piel de la parte superior del abdomen luce mucho mas apretada. La mini abdominoplastia le aregla la parte  inferior del abdomen. En general (com algunas excepciones) yo le recomiendo la abdominoplastia completa despues de un embarazo completo o a personas que hayan bajado 30 libras. La mini abdominoplastia es recomendable a los pacientes que hayan bajado un poco de peso o que tengan un pequeño exceso de tejido en la parte del abdomen.

Suerte y gracias por la pregunta.




Anire Okpaku MD

Anire Okpaku, MD FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon

Is a Full Tummy Tuck Better Than a Mini Tummy Tuck?

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Well that depends upon the patient who will have the procedure.  A mini-tummy tuck works well in a patient whose problem is limited to the lower abdomen. Typically this is a patient after weight loss or pregnancy who is slim but has overhanging skin, perhaps over a surgical incision.

The vast majority of patients inquiring about tummy tuck have a problem that involves the entire abdomen--upper and lower. A limited procedure here is likely to give less than a satisfactory result. 

The operation chosen should be the one that can correct the combination of problems of excess skin, excess fat, lax abdominal wall. The occasional patient may be a good candidate for a mini-tuck, but most will do better with a full abdominoplasty.

Best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Full or Mini Tummy Tuck Operation Better?

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Your question is difficult to answer because no operation is necessarily “better” than another; every patient's situation is different and demands its own “solution”. In other words, patient A  may be an excellent candidate for a full tummy tuck operation whereas patient B  may be an excellent candidate for a mini tummy tuck operation.

Having said that,  generally speaking, the mini tummy tuck 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.

For more precise advice addressing your specific situation, seek consultation with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.
I hope this helps.

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