Mini Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction, best option? (photos)

I have always hated my mid-section due to always sitting down when I was younger and looked into getting a mini tummy tuck. Would I have enough fat to actually undergo surgery or just opt for liposuction?

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck

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Hi aymedang,

Thank You for your pictures and questions. Based on the pictures you submitted it looks as if you would benefit from a full Tummy Tuck. I suggest consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area. Best of Luck!

Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Tummy tuck and liposuction

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Thank you for the pictures and question. Looks like you can benefit from a full tummy tuck this will tighten your muscles for a flatter abdomen and also liposuction of all areas for better contouring,consult with a board certified PS, best of luck to you!


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 If you have good thick skin elasticity in the area and the area is just fat then Liposuction should definitely address the problem. If there are stretch marks and loose skin, or separation of the underlying muscles that are causing the problem, a tummy tuck would be a better option. See a board certified plastic with an expertise in body contouring in your area for a detailed consultation. They should be able to answer your concerns more specifically. In my practice in the San Francisco Bay Area I have come to the conclusion that the happiest patients are those that have realistic expectation on what a procedure will and won’t do for them. Good luck! 

Dean Vistnes, MD
Vistnes Plastic Surgery
San Francisco Bay Area

#realself #drdeanvistnes #liposuction #tummytuck

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Tummy tuck variations

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Fat removal with a tummy tuck is done either with liposuction, direct removal under the skin flap, or both, depending on the individual circumstance. A mini tummy tuck is done when the skin laxity is limited to the lower abdomen. Based on the pictures, you would do best with a full tummy tuck because after fat removal there will be a sort of deflation of the abdominal skin envelope, with loose skin involving both the upper and lower portions. Liposuction alone does not appear to be a good option for that same reason.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck

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The choice between liposuction and a tummy tuck is made based on what your goals are and your skin quality. If you have loose skin, a tummy tuck would be more suitable as it removes excess fat and tightens the skin. A mini tummy tuck only treats the area below your belly button while a full tummy tuck treats the area above and below your belly button. Liposuction only removes excess fat, and if there is a significant amount of loose skin left, you may not be satisfied with your results. Your photos show that you may have issues with skin elasticity due to the presence of stretch marks. 

Tummy Tuck Candidate

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Concerns about the appearance of the abdomen are very common among patients consulting with a plastic surgeon. Just like every patient is different…so too is every abdomen. Different problems require different solutions. Your board certified plastic surgeon is uniquely trained to identify the problems as well as the appropriate solution.

Which procedure is best is dependent upon the source of the problem. Excess fat deposits underneath the skin can be addressed via liposuction. However, commonly patients concerns are centered around issues of excess skin as well as fat. A third factor, which is often overlooked by most patients is abdominal wall muscle laxity (typically seen in post partum mommies).  Despite the commonly held misconception, neither liposuction nor tummy tuck is intended as a weight loss tool nor is it a solution for stretch marks on the stomach.

The tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to eliminate excess skin and fat and tighten the muscles in the abdominal wall to create a smoother and slimmer contour. The tummy tuck is designed to target areas of the abdomen that have not responded to diet and exercise, making it particularly popular among people that have a lot of loose or sagging skin around the abdominal area due to significant weight loss, as well as women with excess skin and stretched abdominal muscles following pregnancy and childbirth. Candidates for tummy tuck should be already at or near their ideal weight for optimal results. It is recommended to women that are planning on becoming pregnant to postpone the procedure until they are finished having children.

The procedure will typically take anywhere from two to three hours to complete under general anesthesia. An incision is made between the hip bones at the bikini line (easily camouflaged by most undergarments). There is typically an incision around the umbilicus (belly button) to elevate it to a higher position depending upon the amount of skin that needs to be excised. In many cases, liposuction may be performed as an adjunct at the same time to refine the results.

During the recovery period, the patient will need to wear a special support garment to help the abdominal area recover from the surgery. A small drain may also be placed in the area to remove excess fluid and to alleviate swelling. In most cases, patients are able to recover from the surgery within 4 weeks. In fact, many patients are able to return to work and other normal activities within two to four weeks, though strenuous activities and exercise will need to be postponed for four to six weeks.

Based upon your photos alone, you appear to be a good candidate for an abdominoplasty. However, liposuction remains an option as well. You may have to temper your expectations post liposuction as this will achieve a volume reduction without addressing excess skin. Skin excess may potentially be exacerbated by liposuction.

To determine if you are a candidate for abdominoplasty or other body contouring procedures, consult with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Donovan Rosas, MD
Kissimmee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

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I think that your best results will come from a full abdominoplasty. There are other options that may provide acceptable results to you. I recommend that you see one of the many board-certified plastic surgeons in Knoxville.

Mini Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction, best option

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I would suggest liposuction first. If you have liposuction the thickness of the skin on your abdomen will be markedly thinner. The issue is that after liposuction the skin may sag, both above and below the belly button. At that time a tummy tuck will be required. If there is loose skin above the belly button then a min-tummy tuck will not be enough and full tummy tuck will be required. A mini tummy tuck first would leave you with a fuller upper abdomen that would not match the lower abdomen and could make you look out of balance

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Dr derby

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Thank you for your question and the photos. Based on the photos you are a great candidate for a full Tummy Tuck with liposuction. this will give you the best results. Best of luck

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Tummy tuck

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Hello and thank you for your question. Based on your photograph alone (no medical history), you are a great candidate for a full tummy tuck with liposuction.  This can be done through a low and short incision, all completely below the bikini line.  Your muscles can also be plicated resulting in a flat abdomen.  If you have not had any children yet and are planning to in the near future, then perhaps liposuction may be a better choice for now, but the results will not be as good.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.  The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 160 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.