Mini or full Tummy tuck? (photos)

9 months post partum at 47. I have a slight separation midline but have rehabbed it from a 3 finger separation. Umbilical hernia. There isn't much extra skin to pull especially toward my sides. No stretch marks to correct.

Doctor Answers 11

Mini or full Tummy tuck?

Any minitummy tuck that removes any significant amount of skin will lower the belly button.  In some cases, this may be OK.  Based upon the pictures, once the fascial plication and hernia repair is performed there will be more apparent skin as the abdominal wall will be much flatter.  This extra skin will be better removed with a short scar tummy tuck in my opinion.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck

In my opinion a full tummy tuck usually gives a better result overall than a mini. I realize that most patients want to keep the scar short and that is the allure of the mini tummy tuck, however almost everybody has enough skin to be removed and therefore requires a longer incision anyway. Be sure to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and have a careful exam. Best Wishes! Dr. K

Robert M. Kachenmeister, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Mini or full Tummy tuck?

A mini or modified tummy tuck, with or without liposuction, as well as one of a variety of full tummy tucks that exist can produce a good cosmetic appearance in the appropriate patient. Following the advice from a surgeon or any other website who proposes to tell you what to do based on two dimensional photos without examining you, physically feeling the tissue, assessing your desired outcome, taking a full medical history, and discussing the pros and cons of each operative procedure would not be in your best interest. I would suggest you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

A modified abdominoplasty with a floating of the umbilicus can produce a very nice significant result in many patients. The result depends on the extent of looseness of your tissue above the umbilicus (belly button), since there is a limitation of how much tightness you can get with that procedure and still maintain a normal appearing position of the navel. The umbilical hernia can be repaired with this approach.

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Txt or not

Thank you for the question and photo and though an examination is needed you may be a candidate from your description for an endoscopic abdominal wall repair associated with liposuction and RFAL.  Do see some experts familiar with these minimal scar techniques

Dr Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Possible endoscopic tummy tuck

Thank you for the question and photos.  The lack of loose skin or stretch marks indicates that you do not need skin removal.  Because of this, repair of the abdominal wall only and repair of the umbilical hernia are the only things that are needed.  An endoscopic tummy tuck involves a small incision near your pubic bone through which endoscopic instruments are used to repair the muscles and umbilical hernia.  A drain is still needed as is the use of an abdominal binder afterwards.  If you have a c-section incision the prior scar can be removed and the access used for the endoscopic tummy tuck.

I hope this helps.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 153 reviews

Mini or Full TT

A variety of tummy tucks are available. Patients who only need a tightening of the abdominal muscles or removal of a small amount of skin may be best treated with a “mini-tuck.” Patients who have undergone massive weight loss, on the other hand, will probably require more extensive surgery.

An abdominoplasty is usually done under general anesthesia. An incision is made along the lower abdomen at about the pubic hair line, and another incision is made around the belly button which stays attached to the muscle.

Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall and skin below the umbilicus, belly button, only (shortest scar). Modified abdominoplasty addresses conditions where just the muscle wall or just the abdominal skin requires repair. Standard abdominoplasty tightens all of the abdominal wall skin and muscles above and below the belly button. The scar can be altered or lowered to be hidden by most panty lines and bathing suits. (Standard scar). Extended abdominoplasty tightens the abdomen and the flanks or sides (longest scar extending around the flanks onto lower back.)

A general anesthetic is most common, although mini-tucks may be done with local anesthetic and intravenous sedation. A standard abdominoplasty is generally an outpatient procedure, but extended abdominoplasty may require a short hospitalization of 1–2 days.

Now, in deciding the procedure you should have it would be an agreement between yourself and your chosen surgeon during your consultation, based upon the final results you desire. Feel free to take a look at the video here describing the different incisions available.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Modified tummy tuck

You may be a candidate for a mini tummy tuck with muscle plication above you belly button by cutting around your belly button (correcting the hernia as well) and removing a small amount of skin. It appears your issue primarily is that of muscle separation (recust diastasis) and not a lot of excess skin. Consult with a few plastic surgeons in person for a good exam in person.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 330 reviews

Go for a Traditional or BB Float

Your issues are the umbilical hernia, the upper and lower abdominal muscle laxity, and the modest degree of excess skin. The hernia and muscle laxity need to be repaired, which eliminates the possibility of a mini tummy tuck since you need access to the upper abdomen, something that a mini tuck does not allow.

A traditional tummy tuck will probably require a vertical belly button site closure scar in the lower abdomen because you don't seem to have that much upper abdominal skin laxity. An umbilical float tummy tuck will allow you access to the upper abdomen for muscle tightening and avoid the BB closure site scar, but it may pull the belly button down further than you might like as the excess skin is removed. 

You should see a board certified plastic surgeon for an in-person evaluation and discussion of these options.

George Sanders, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Mini or full Tummy tuck?

Thank you for the question and pictures. Congratulations on your weight loss; you have done everything you can, besides undergoing surgery to achieve a nice looking abdominal wall.

Based on your pregnancy history, photographs, and stated goals, you will do best with a full tummy tuck operation. In my practice, I would not offer you a mini tuck operation.   Generally speaking, the “ideal” patient for tummy tuck surgery is one who has completed pregnancies, is psycho socially/emotionally/financially stable, has an excellent social support system surrounding him/her, is capable of arranging enough recovery time, does not smoke and who has reached a long-term stable weight.

 In my opinion, 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 the vast majority of patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results.   When the time is right, seek consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience helping patients achieve the types of outcomes you would be pleased with.  

  You may find the attached link, dedicated to tummy tuck surgery concerns, helpful to you as you learn more. Best wishes. 

Mini versus Full

you should definitely perform a full tummy tuck with muscle plication and umbilical hernia repair; this is because your muscles are clearly stretched out and bulging out; a mini tummy tuck will not allow you to have your muscles to be tightened.

Arian Mowlavi, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 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.