What is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

How is it different than a regular tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 75

Mini vs full tummy tuck

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The fundamental difference between mini vs full tummy tuck is the belly button.  In a full tummy tuck the belly button is cored out and re-inset through a new area in the abdominal skin after the skin is brought down.  A mini tummy tuck leaves the belly button attached to the surrounding skin.  A true mini tummy tuck just removes a small amount of skin near the pubic bone and keeps the incision very short.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Mini-abdominoplasty is a smaller version of Abdominoplasty

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Gillian, Basically, mini-abdominoplasty is a smaller version of abdominoplasty. In mini-abdominoplasty, the extra skin between your belly button and your mons pubis is excised. Occasionally, liposuction is also performed at the same time. The incision is usually just as long as a traditional abdominoplasty. The difference with the abdominoplasty is that the dissection is taken around the belly button all the way up to your costal margin (ribs) and a new belly button is created. At the same time, the underlying muscle fascia is tightened and more skin is excised. Therefore, the traditional abdominoplasty allows for much more skin tightening and contouring. However, not everyone is a candidate for a traditional abdominoplasty. It is important that you consult with a plastic surgeon to see if you are an appropriate candidate. I hope this is helpful.

Mini Tummy Tuck vs Full Tummy Tuck

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The nature of the tummy tuck surgery that will best suit each patient is determined during the consultation and is based on the physical examination. For all patients, I draw the proposed incisions on their body with a skin marker (it washes off easily) so that it is clear what the nature of the resulting surgical scars will be. I also outline liposuction areas if that is part of the surgical plan.
In some people, the abdominal skin will contract after delivery and maintain a great deal of its natural tone. Abdominal bulging may be confined to the area below the belly button. In these patients, a mini-tummy tuck may be adequate, which involves a shorter suprapubic incision, no surgical alteration of the belly button, and a quicker recovery time.
In a mini-abdominoplasty, the rectus abdominis muscles may be tightened below the belly button only, if the abdominal "bulge" is confined to that area. If abdominal wall laxity extends above the belly button, it is possible to tighten the muscles all the way up to the level of the sternum (ribcage). To do this, the umbilical stalk is divided at its base, and then reinserted at its original location once the muscle-tightening sutures have been placed. The patient still keeps their 'original' belly button.
A mini-tummy tuck generally does not alter the blood supply of the abdominal skin as much as a full tummy tuck, and therefore more aggressive liposuction of the waist and back may be performed in many cases.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

What is a mini tummy tuck

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This is the most common question I receive when discussing abdominal rejuvenation. 

In order to explain the difference we first must understand the anatomy of the abdominal wall and what happens as we age and the changes that occur with weight gain.

First the skin. The skin quality can range from normal to very lax and redundant. It can retain much of it's elasticity or it can be stretched and have lost the ability to retract. We see this loss of elasticity after considerable weight gain then loss or often after pregancy. The telltale signs of lax skin are stretch marks (stria). Simply put, these stria are tears in the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis. If there are a lot of stretch marks and the skin is loose, then there are few options other than to remove the excess skin. If we remove the fat beneath, the skin will not retract and will simply hang loose.  Skin excision is required when the skin is loose and has lost it's elasticity. If this loose skin is mostly below the belly button then a mini tuck is appropriate.  For those with loose and lax skin that extends above the belly button, a full tummy tuck would be a better option.

Next we have to consider the deeper layer, the fat. If there is little fat and this is mostly located in the lower abodmen, then a mini tummy tuck is appropriate. If there is more diffusely located fat and there is a lot of fat above the belly button then in order to achieve a good result one would need either direct excision (full tummy tuck) or liposuction. If just using liposuction with loose or lax skin then there will be drooping of the skin. A full tummy tuck is preferred.

Finally, we must consider the underlying muscles. With weight gain and with pregnancies there can be weakening of the abdominal wall muscles. There can even be changes that can not be corrected with exercise. Usually correction of these changes require a full tummy tuck. Your surgeon can help you decide after a physical examination. In general, if the general contour or shape of the abdomen is acceptable to you then there is likely little need to address the muscles and a mini is the right choice.

In summary:

A mini tummy tuck usually includes removal of some lower abdominal skin (below the belly button which remains in place), some fat and is done through a ~6-8 inch incision. It does not require drains after surgery and recovery is fast (~1 wk). Occasionally this can be done under local anesthesia, but most often it is done under general anesthesia.

A full tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) involves removing considerable excess skin (usually well above the belly button), fat, tightening of the abdominal muscles and is performed through an incision from hip to hip. Most often it requires drains, although there are opportunities to avoid these. The recovery is usually 2-4 weeks and heavy lifting is avoided for 6 weeks. General anesthesia is required. 

Both procedures are performed as outpatient surgery. 

I hope this helps

Mini-Tummy Tuck works great in carefully selected patients

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Mini-abdominoplasty is a procedure I have been performing more frequently. It is a great surgery for selected individuals. It combines the best of all worlds, by allowing correction of the lax abdominal wall, which all women who have experienced pregnancy suffer from.

In addition, the umbilicus (belly button) is left undisturbed with no scar and the transverse lower scar can be placed lower than with a full tummy tuck and is slightly shorter. This surgery, in combination with appropriate liposuction, can give a fantastic, athletic look to the abdomen.

But, like all surgical procedures, mini-abdominoplasty is not right for everyone. Patients with loose skin or excess fat above the belly button will get only modest improvement as compared to a traditional full tummy tuck. A modification of both procedures by using aggressive liposuction if indicated, can further improve the result. This allows for the correction of the muscle wall laxity, thinning of the excess fatty tissue layer so we can see the athletic new contours, and removal of excess loose skin. I call this the perfect TRIAD.

But remember, while most patients will prefer a mini-abdominoplasty,
only a consultation with examination by will determine if you are a suitable candidate for this great procedure.

Mini vs Full Tummy Tuck

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The mini tummy tuck removes less than half of the skin and fat between the umbilicus (belly button) and the pubic mons. If the muscle layer is stretched out, this layer can also be repaired. The mini tummy tuck scar length can vary based on the patient's pelvis width, but usually it is 6 to 12 inches long. I think many patients are not good candidates for the mini-tummy tuck because, although they want a smaller scar and smaller price, the operation just does not allow for full tightening of the muscle layer and maximal removal of the stretch-marks.

The full tummy tuck scar is a little longer, but it removes a lot more skin. Most patients (over 80%) are very happy with the full tummy tuck because it meets their expectation as to the amount of stretch-mark removal and tightening of the entire muscle layer.

I recommend that you have a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. They have formal training in abdominoplasty surgery and will help you determine which operation is right for you.

Mini tummy tuck description

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A few years ago, the only options were a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck.

Technically, a mini tummy tuck tightens the skin and often the deep layer (fascia) below the belly button.

While this is a nice procedure for women who have C-section scarring and irregularities and very little loose skin, it is not for every patient. A mini tuck, if performed on a woman who also has upper abdominal fascial weakness, can yield a "mini tummy look", where the lower abdomen is flat but the upper abdomen bulges out.

If the fascia is loose, it should be tightened. Fascial tightening only occurs below the belly button with a true mini tuck.

Hybrid tummy tucks are now available that offer tightening of the entire abdominal fascia with a minimal lower abdominal incision, and no alteration of, or incision around, the belly button. Surgeons who are familiar with endoscopic techniques may be willing to perform such a hybrid tummy tuck procedure. The technical difficulty is greater than for a full tummy tuck, since a hybrid tummy tuck or an endoscopic assisted tummy tuck require special instrumentation and expertise. There are also artistic considerations unique to this type of tummy tuck as well.

The hybrid tummy tuck is suitable for fit moms who have little skin looseness but a noticeable looseness of the deep fascia (including a diastasis recti) that extends into the upper abdomen.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 188 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck Vs. Full Tummy Tuck

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In order to answer this question, it is best to describe a fully tummy tuck and then explain how a mini tummy tuck is different.

A full tummy tuck begins with an incision from one hip to the other.The incision is normally placed after discussion with the patient about what type of bathing suit he or she will want to wear.The incision is made through the skin and fat layer down to the underlying muscle layer. At this level, the skin and fat layer is lifted off of the muscle layer until the bellybutton is reached.In order to continue lifting the skin and fat layer off of the muscle layer, the bellybutton needs to be released from the skin. At this point, an incision is made around the bellybutton, leaving it attached to the muscle layer.The skin and fat layer is then elevated off of the muscle layer up to the rib margin.With the skin and fat completely lifted off of the muscle, a decision is made about whether or not it is best to now tighten the underlying muscle layer.Tightening is performed by placing stitches from the midportion of the rib margin down to the pubic bone.Once this tightening is finished, the skin and fat layer is pulled snugly downward and the excess skin and fat are removed.A new opening is made directly over the underlying bellybutton allowing it to come back out of the skin in its previous location.The position of the bellybutton does not change.The lower abdominal incision is then closed.

A mini tummy tuck may be a better choice if there is only loose skin between the bellybutton and the pubic bone and there is no need for tightening of the muscle.A mini tummy tuck normally has a shorter incision.In this procedure, the incision is usually shorter. The incision is made through the skin and fat layer and the skin and fat layer is lifted up to the bellybutton.In the mini tummy tuck, an incision is normally not made around the bellybutton and there is no release of the skin and fat layer above the bellybutton.Because of this, there will be no tightening of the skin above the bellybutton. Because of the fact that the muscle layer is not exposed from the pubic bone up to the rib cage, muscle tightening is normally not performed.The recovery time from a mini tummy tuck will be less than the recovery from a fully tummy tuck.

In summary, a full tummy tuck is required if there is skin laxity extending above the bellybutton and there is a need to tighten the muscle layer.If the loose skin is confined to the area between the bellybutton and the pubic bone and no muscle tightening is required, then a mini tummy tuck is a good choice.

Watch my tummy tuck video for a simple and illustrated explanation of tummy tuck and body contouring procedures.

What is a Mini-Tummy Tuck

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A mini-tummy tuck refers to removal of the skin only between the belly button and the pubic bone.  It doesn't tighten the muscles underneath.  The incision is usually a little shorter, and it is often combined with liposuction.  Not everyone is a candidate for it, so choose your board-certified plastic surgeon very carefully.

Mini tummy tuck clarification.

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The mini tummy tuck is good for extra skin under the belly button.  For skin above the belly button, belly button issues, separated muscles, excess skin above the belly button, a full tummy tuck is usually better.  Please seek out a board certified plastic surgeon.

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.