How is Mini Tummy Tuck Different from Full Tummy Tuck Regarding Anesthesia?

When are mini tummy tucks possible without the need of general anesthesia?

Doctor Answers 18

How is mini tummy tuck different from full tummy tuck regarding anesthesia?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! 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. Given your desires, 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.

A full tummy tuck would allow removal of excess skin/tissue to above your belly button along with abdominal wall tightening. 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. A full tummy tuck would likely require general anesthesia.  A mini may potentially be done under local anesthesia only.  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!

Mini Tummy Tuck and Tummy Tuck both performed with Twilight IV Anesthesia

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Yes, it is possible to have a Mini Tummy Tuck with only IV Sedation. In fact, I perform all of my Mini-Tummy Tuck and Full Tummy Tuck procedures with Twilight IV Sedation. I have not used General Anesthesia for either procedure for over 5 years. Having performed several hundred tummy tucks with this type of anesthesia I would be very hard pressed to ever use General Anesthesia.  I don't see any advantage in doing so.


Twilight IV anesthesia is much better tolerated than General Anesthesia.  With Twilight IV Anesthesia patients do not experience the nausea associated with General Anesthesia.  Also, with IV anesthesia you eliminate many of the pulmonary risks associated with General Anesthesia. 

Please see my blog post below to learn more and watch the video about the use of IV anesthesia in my Baltimore Surgery Center.

Anesthesia for tummy tucks

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I do not like mini tummy tucks. Anesthesia is bes under general for full tummy tucks or spinals. 

I am not a big fan of mini tummy tucks because most patients require tightening of the muscles above and below the umbilicus and are usually also botherd by lose skin above the umbilicus.  These are all best treated by a full tummy tuck.

Anesthesia options for tummy tuck

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Very limited, mini-tummy tucks can be performed under local anesthetic addressing only the lower abdomen.

However, it is difficult to perform any abdominal wall tightening and usually doesn't involve an incision around the belly button or any work in the upper abdomen.

For best results, general anesthesia allows the surgeon to be much more aggressive, enabling him/her to do more work and give you a better result.

Mini Tummy Tuck vs. Full Tummy Tuck Anesthesia

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Thank you for your question.  This really depends on your surgeon.  I do all my full tummy tuck in hospitals or surgery center under general anesthesia.  All my mini tummy tucks are done under local anesthesia unless I am doing it in conjunction with another surgery that requires general anesthesia.

Mini Tummy Tuck vs. Full Tummy Tuck Anesthesia

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A full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) usually involves muscle tightening and more skin removal, often requiring a full anesthetic like general anesthesia. This surgery may be more uncomfortable for the patient, making it necessary to have a deeper anesthetic. A mini tummy tuck may involve skin only, may or may not involve muscle tightening, and may have less skin removal than a full tummy tuck. It might be less uncomfortable to have a mini tummy tuck, and the patient may or may not have the option of a lesser anesthetic, like twilight or I.V. sedation.

Tummy tucks can be done with regional anesthsia in most people.

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Both mini and full tummy tucks can be done using regional anesthesia (epidural and sometimes spinal). This decision is made by the board certified anesthesiologist. Sometimes even when the epidural is done perfectly, the patient still has feeling and the patient will then need to go under general anesthesia to stay comfortable during the procedure.

Mini tuck vs full tummy tuck regarding anesthesia.

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Thank you for your question. ‚ÄčA full tummy tuck deals with your abdomen from the pubis region to the rib cage and involves significant movement of skin and tightening of the abdominal muscles.  This extensive surgery  requires ether general or spinal anesthesia.  A mini tummy tuck on the other hand is concerned with just the abdomen from the belly button down to the pubic region with minimal skin movement and muscle tightening.  As it is a  smaller operation it may be performed with local anesthesia with I.V. sedation. Of course, it could also be performed with general or spinal anesthesia.  

Donald M. Brown, MD (retired)
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Mini Tummy Tuck v. Full Tummy Tuck

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A mini tummy tuck focuses on the lower abdomen. Half of the skin from your pubic bone to belly button is removed and the muscles of the lower abdomen can be brought together. This gives little help in the upper abdomen or waistline.  The right person for a mini has good skin quality above the belly button, is fairly trim and has a pot belly in the lower abdomen.  The same anesthesia is used for both procedures.  Either a general anesthetic or an epidural is used. 

Anesthesia options for abdominoplasty and mini abdominoplasty

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For most individuals  a general anesthetic is used for a full abdominoplasty, mainly because to get adequate muscle tightening the patient needs to be paralyzed and that can only be done under a general anesthetic.  I have performed mini abdominoplasties under sedation with local anesthesia on selected patients with excellent results.  It really depends on the individual and the extent of the procedure and what your physician feels comfortable with.

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.