Should I Have a Mini or a Full Tummy Tuck? (photo)

Hello, I am 36 years old and I had 4 children. I work out quite a bit but I am not happy with my stretch marks and with the stretch out skin and lack of tone in my stomach. I would like to fix my stomach but I am not sure of whether I shoould go for a full tummy tuck or a mini. TAke a look at my pictures. I appreciate your help! Thank you.

Doctor Answers 12

Tummy Tuck - full or mini

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You may consider non- surgical treatment such as SkinTyte or Ulthera.  A tummy tuck is possible  but really may be too much.  An in office visit is very important.  Best Wishes!!

Mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck - be careful here

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I will contradict the other doctors here and suggest that maybe you aren't a great candidate for either a mini or a full TT.  That's because the mini will not remove enough of the stretch marked skin and because a full will have a very high horizontal scar.  Neither is great so maybe you should consider doing neither.  In person consults are critical here.

Full tummy tuck is usually best.

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That was easy, a full tummy tuck.  In order to adequately remove your stretch marks, you need a maximum skin removal that can only be achieved with a full tummy tuck.  Plus you need your muscles realigned (difficult to do adequately with a mini).  Also your belly button would look better a little smaller and tighter.  Few patients are well-served with a mini, which only removes skin from the lowest part of the abdomen.  The scar from a mini is shorter, but if the scar is kept within the bikini line, it doesn't matter and it's better to maximize the removal of stretch marks.  This is the only way to reliably get you feeling good in a bikini. I've attached a link in case you want to read more and look at some photos.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Should I Have a Mini or a Full Tummy Tuck? (photo)

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You are on the borderline between mini (lower only) and full hydras abdominaloplasty. ONLY in person evaluations will serve you for a better understanding of the risk/benefit ratios. 

Mini versus full tummy tuck

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I think you could definitely pull off a mini-abdominoplasty in you based on your photos. While different surgeons define that operation differently, for me it usually includes some liposuction of the upper fat, floating a high belly button down slightly, and plication of the muscle. Essentially, I do it like a full abdominoplasty but just treat the umbilicus differently. It only works good on people with minimal skin laxity and a high starting belly button position. You might be one of the few people who walk in the door and you'd consider it on.


The problem with a full tummy tuck for you  is that you will likely not be able to get the hole in the skin (where you belly button was) completely removed and you will have to have a vertical scar somewhere on your lower abdomen.

Full or Mini-tummy tuck

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A full tummy tuck will address skin excess (including above the belly button) and muscle separation. A mini-tuck is better suited for those whose skin excess is below the belly button. Looking at your photos, you do have stretch marks but your muscle tone looks great. The choice of full or mini would be based on your exam and desires. 

Asaad H. Samra, MD
New Jersey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Full vs Mini Tummy Tuck

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When deciding between a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck, the deciding factor is the amount of extra skin that you have.  You are right on the border between the two operations.  The only way to tell for sure in your case is to have a plastic surgeon examine you and pull on your skin to see how much needs to be removed.

Mini tummy tuck vs. Full tummy tuck

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You pose a tough question.  You appear to be fit and lean but your abdominal skin is quite damaged by pregnancy.  Each surgeon has their own technique, but general statements about the two surgeries are as follows:

A full tummy tuck removes excess skin and address the loose or stretched stomach muscles, so relatively thin patients with loose skin and/or muscle will benefit the most.

Mini tummy tuck removes fat and tightens the skin in a limited fashion with little or no muscle tightening.

You will need to be examined by a plastic surgeon to get the best advice.  In general, a full tummy tuck will address the skin looseness the most effectively and will give you better muscle tone.  There is nothing that can eliminate the stretch marks.  The down side of a tummy tuck is the long scar and you will need to decide if the trade off of skin tightening is worth the scar.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD (retired)
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon

Adbominoplasty, mini-abdominoplasty, stretch marks, body contouring

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It is difficult to tell from the photos you have posted,  but it looks like you have a tight abdominal wall.  The stretch marks on your lower abdomen suggest that you may be a candidate for a mini-abdominoplasty (tightening the lower abdominal wall,  skin and muscle, which would also help remove some of the stretch marks on your lower abdomen).  However, the procedure that would be best for you can only be determined by a physical examination to determine the extent of skin laxity and the quality of underlying muscle tone.  This is something that you can discuss with your plastic surgeon.

Diane L. Gibby, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck or Full Tummy Tuck

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    I would have to examine you to determine the level of elasticity of the skin before I could make any recommendations.  You could at least get a minitummy tuck, but your current abdomen looks quite good.  Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

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.