Mini or Full TT? (photo)

I'm 46, 5"4..130 lbs..4 c-sections/gained 50 lbs with each(kids are 19,14,12 and 6)also have a scar from an emergency ruptured ectopic preg.never had an elective surgery,and have dreamt of fixing my tummy for years! (i eat clean and work out, but nothing budges the "shelf"..I don't have any stretch marks..could i get by with mini or do full? I don't like the idea of a hip to hip scar. I did extremely well with all of my c-sections and assume that this would be similar (minus the reward of a baby

Doctor Answers 13

Mini Versus Full Tummy Tuck

There is no question that a full tummy tuck with liposuction of your flanks will give you the best, flattest, result.  Liposuction alone will de-bulk your superficial abdominal fat but will not not address the roundness of your abdomen.  Mini tuck also will not address your diastiasis (roundness from muscle separation).  Only a full tummy tuck will address your fat, extra skin and roundness to your abdomen.


Good Luck.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Superficial and deep liposuction can tighten the abdomen.


Just going by your picture, I think you would get a nice result just with tumescent liposuction, with much easier recovery and no scar. The skin can contract to a surprising degree  (Gasparotti technique).  In the unlikely event that you are not satisfied, you can always have  a full tummy tuck later.  You have not burnt any bridges. But, whatever you do, avoid a mini tummy tuck.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question and pictures.

I think you will do well with a full tummy tuck procedure;  I would not offer you a mini tummy tuck procedure.

A few words of caution for patients contemplating tummy tuck surgery may be in order:  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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

A mini-tummy tuck would fall short of your desire for a flatter tummy.

Thank you for your question and the photos.

From the pictures it seems that you would enjoy the benefits of a full tummy tuck and be disappointed with the results of a mini-tummy tuck.

Good Luck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

Good candidate for LTA

Looking at you pictures, it seems that you are a better candidate for a full abdominoplasty. I have taken care of many patients who have undergone a mini abdominoplasty with good but minimal results. It's always better to have a longer incision and not sacrifice the sculpted result you can get from a Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty. 

Kevin Tehrani, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Less overweight less seize scar for any TT

you are an excelent patient to realize  a combined TT with vasser lypo according to respect the important vessels than are in specifical areas of your belly, yes can be done with a short scar like a cesarean and besides utilize your fat for BB , it should be done only for any specialized and certified plastic reconstructive surgeon not facial or cosmetic surgeon

Ramon Navarro, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck??

If the skin from the bottom of the breastbone to the navel is loose enough to reach all the way to the cesarean section incision, then a full tummy tuck would be the best option. From the photos it looks like that skin is quite talked and that the only laxity is below the navel. if that is correct a mini tummy tuck should be your choice. I cannot quite tell, but a consultation with your surgeon should help you decide. Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck?

If your laxity (skin and underlying muscle/fascia) is only in the lower tummy, than a lower or mini tummy tuck is indicated. The scar for a mini TT is essentially the same length or very close to that of a full TT.  If you have any laxity above the belly button that you want corrected, then you need a full TT. If you do not have enough skin laxity above the belly button to advance the old BB hole down far enough to remove it, then it is closed as a small vertical scar in the lower tummy.  Beware of surgeons wanting to raise your scar up higher just in order to get rid of this vertical scar...patients often then complain that their scar is too high, less easily hidden, and that their pubic hair has been pulled up too high.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Full or Mini Tummy Tuck

It looks like a full tummy tuck has more to offer you. A mini tummy tuck will tighten the abdomen below the belly button, but will improve the contour of your abdomen. A full tummy tuck can help contour from the ribs to the lower abdomen.

It is not possible to be exact without an in office examination, but the outer aspect of your rectus sheath looks wide, and repairing this internally should make a nice change. Good luck, and you are correct about the recovery being similar to a c-section ( minus the baby ).

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

What is the difference between a mini and full tummy tuck?

You have to know the difference between a mini and full tummy tuck before you can make your decision.  

Mini tummy tuck

  • doesn't require an incision around the belly button
  • tightens the muscle wall only below the belly button
  • usually doesn't remove skin above the level of the belly button
  • the word mini doesn't mean that the incision is small, sometimes it is just as big

Full tummy tuck

  • usually requires an incision around the belly button (except when an "umbilical float" is performed)
  • tightens the muscle wall both below and above the level of the belly button
  • able to remove excess skin above the belly button that hoods or hangs over

From your photos I would tend to disagree with the other opinions offered so far.  I think that you could achieve a very nice balance using a mini tummy tuck if your main complaint is the shelf. In my Salt Lake City plastic surgery practice I perform close to 100 tummy tucks every year -- a mixture of mini and full.  The real trick is making sure that my patients understand what those procedures can do for them so I'm able to meet their expectations.

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 277 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.