How Do I Know if a Mini or Full Tummy Tuck is Right for Me? (photo)

I had my first consult today and the doctor suggested a mini TT. I am concerned I wont have the results I want as he said he would only be removing the skin from my belly button and below. He did say he would repair my diastasis and umbilical hernia. Is it possible to get a flat result with a mini TT like when I am sucking in, picture below? I was told that if I did opt for a full TT that I would have a small vertical scar from my old belly button. Should I get a mini or full TT?

Doctor Answers 15

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck

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This is a common question. Rather like the question: "Do I need a mini-facelift or a full one."

As patients, we all want the least amount of surgery and yet obtain the maximum benefit. The answer here is easier than usual since you have provided such excellent photographs.

Although some benefit could be gained from a mini tummy tuck, or some version of it, the biggest bang for the buck for you would be a formal tummy tuck where all the problems can be addressed.

Scar position is vital and may be designed around your favorite bikini.

Rolling Hills Estates Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Tummy Tuck-Mini or Full How to Decide

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Thank you for your question.

Your concerns are quite correct. You do have a lot of loose skin and a mini Tummy Tuck will pull your belly button down and not improve the upper abdomen.

I also think it is unwise to try to repair a Diastasis and Umbilical Herni through a Mini Tummy Tuck. This will change the contour of the muscles under the skin and likely accentuate the loose skin of the upper abdomen.

From your photos it appears that you have plenty of excess skin to undergo a Full Tummy Tuck.

Full or Mini Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question and pictures.

Based on your pictures and description of your goals you will benefit from full tummy tuck surgery.

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.

How Do I Know if a Mini or Full Tummy Tuck is Right for Me?

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You have received a lot of good information below. IF you need a small vertical scar from the old belly button site it is better than making the horizontal scar higher. I find when I undermine the abdominal skin up over the lower ribs and close with progressive tension sutures we rarely need that vertical scar. Call around and find a surgeon who uses the progressive suture technique. It is quite common. I'll bet you get a great new look.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Mini TT vs full TT abdominoplasty questions

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You can see from the below answers most PS feel you need a full TT to get the full result. I'm glad your PS told you about the vertical scar as I'd have told you that as well.  If they keep the scar low you may realize a great bikini look, nice and flat/taut.  You wouldn't be happy with a mini, I suspect.  Best of luck to you.

TT as bigger the abdomen as bigger the scar dimension/tan ancha la paciente tan grande la incision TT

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you are a perfect patient to realize  a mini TT  and realize besides, umbilicoplasty plus abdominal rectus  diastasis correction.

mientras mas delgada es la paciente la cicatriz del TT sera mas  chica y mas corta y por ahi mismo se puede  realizar la umbilicoplastia mas la correccion de  diastasis de rectos

Ramon Navarro, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

Most patients do better with full tummy tuck rather than mini

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A mini tummy tuck only improves the appearance of the lower abdomen and most patients do better with the full tummy tuck (abdominoplasty.) There are a few patients who get good results with a mini but this has to be dtermined based on a personal examination and discussion of your goals.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Flat tummy after full tummy tuck

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If you want a chance to have a flat tummy like you show on the "sucking in" photo, then you need a full abdominoplasty. Only the full version can tighten up the muscle layer like that. Based strictly on your photos (and, of course, an exam is necessary to be sure), you have enough skin laxity in the lower abdomen to warrant a full abdominoplasty as well.

James W. Ward, MD (retired)
Arlington Plastic Surgeon

Full vs mini tummy tuck

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Based on the photos you provided I think you need a full tummy tuck. The photos however, are no replacement for proper examination. Mini tummy tuck is a very limited procedure where the skin of the lower abdomen is resected and there is limited undermining of the skin. Remember less surgery is less results. With full tummy tuck, there is more undermining, the muscles are plicated (approximated) in the midline, the umbilicus is addressed and the waist is improved. It is difficult from the photos to tell if you will need a vertical scar, that is determined with examination.

Moneer Jaibaji, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

How do I know if a mini or full tummy tuck is right for me?

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Hello! Thank you for your question and photos! I hope that these answers help! Tummy tuck is an excellent method for shaping the belly and create a flatter and sculpted abdomen after the procedure. Looking at your photos, I do believe that you would be an excellent candidate for this procedure in order to remove the excess skin/soft tissue of your lower abdomen and contour the areas of your belly. Also, abdominal wall tightening may optimize your result. Stretch marks to the level of your umbilicus will also be excised. Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle prior to the procedure and afterwards is recommended in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you.

Once you are ready for the procedure, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck with abdominal wall tightening and liposuction laterally for additional contouring. This would remove the excess skin/soft tissue and stretch marks while contouring your belly. The mini tummy tuck has limited usefulness and limited candidates as it truly only addresses excess skin in a small area above your pubis. It will not address your abdominal wall and the tightening of such, frequently needed to achieve a shapely abdominal wall. While the recovery time is shorter, the benefits afforded to you by a full tummy tuck are much greater and will optimize your result. You should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon well-versed in body contouring procedures at anytime to go over options to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right for you. Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 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.