Mini or Full Tummy Tuck for Loose Skin on Lower Abdomen?

I am 5'5 and weigh 133 lbs. I have found that working out and dieting have helped me maintain my desired weight. However, I'm having a problem with my lower abdominals. It seems that I have extra jiggly fat and loose skin from my belly button to just superior of my pelvic region. I am at my desired weight and am happy with my waist size. I just want this to go. Is a mini tummy tuck the solution? I have read reviews of others unhappy with their results or would a full tummy tuck be needed?

Doctor Answers 9

When to get a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is a safe and effective procedure that can create a more contoured abdomen, a tight waist and a beautiful figure.

In our Miami practice, we feel that as all patients are unique, so is every tummy tuck.
Some of our patients receive a mini tummy tuck, some receive a full tummy tuck, while others receive a combination of both procedures. During the initial consultation, we spent a great deal of time talking to the patients to understand what their concerns are, to learn their aesthetic goals, so that in this way we can create a surgical plan that will help the patient meet their aesthetic ideal. If a woman has extra skin and extra fat but the muscles are in good condition, we may be able to perform a mini tummy tuck. If the woman also needs a muscle repair, a full or a regular tummy tuck may be necessary.
Your best bet is to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon that has a great deal of experience in tummy tucks, liposuction, body contouring surgery. Such a specialist will be able to understand your goals and combined this with a thorough physical evaluation to present and operative plan that will help you meet your aesthetic ideal.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck?

A mini tummy tuck only targets the area below the navel and does not really affect above.

Please see an experienced board certified plastic surgeon to confirm suitability.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck For Loose Abdominal Wall Skin?

As noted by the previous doctors, an examination would be required to give a more detailed response.  From your description it sounds as though you might be able to have a hybrid tummy tuck.  
  • Smaller Incision
  • Liposuction
  • Muscle Tightening
  • Skin Tightening
This would be an outpatient procedure, operative time 1 1/2 hr.
Good Luck 

Joseph Rucker, MD, FACS
Eau Claire Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tummy Tuck Options

Thank you for you question.    It is difficult to give accurate recommendation without an in office exam.  When I evaluate the abdomen, I assess:
1.  The amount of loose skin

2.  The volume of fatty tissue
3.  The degree of muscle laxity.

I evaluate this in each of 3 areas:
1.  Upper Abdomen

2.  Area around the Belly Button
3.  Lower Abdomen

MINI TUMMY TUCK: If a patient has loose skin, fatty tissue, and muscle laxity limited to the Lower Abdomen, then I recommend the mini tummy tuck.  In order to qualify for this, the patient must have good skin and muscle tone in their upper abdomen and area around the belly button.   I will frequently perform liposuction of these areas with my Mini Tummy Tuck to enhance the overall contour.

FULL TUMMY TUCK:  this is for patients who have loose skin and muscle laxity of the upper abdomen, belly button area, and lower abdomen.   This procedure tightens all 3 areas with a bikini line incision.   I often encorporate liposuction with my full tummy tuck as I feel it offers a superb end result.
EXTENDED TUMMY TUCK:  This works well for patients who have loose skin that extends over the hip bone into the flank area.   I will perform extensive liposuction and skin excision to the hip and flank area combined with full tummy tuck.

BODY LIFT/BELT LIPECTOMY:  this is essentially a 360 degree tummy tuck which involves removal of loose skin and fatty tissue of the lower back and buttocks, in addition to the extended tummy tuck.
I wish you a safe recovery and amazing result!!

Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Mini or full tummy tuck?

Thank you for the question.

Based on your description of “loose skin from my belly button to pelvic region" I think you will do better with a full tummy tuck procedure.

In my opinion, for example,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 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.

I hope this helps.

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

Mini tummy tuck

Withou an exam I would say it is difficult to tell you for sure, but I am not a big fan of the mini tummy tuck because the majority need a full tummy tuck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck

As long as the problem (muscle, skin and fat) is limited to the lower abdomen below the umbilicus, it is likely that you will be a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck. If you are pleased with the appearance of the upper abdomen, it may be a good option for you.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck will deliver Good Results in very Specific Cases

It would be wonderful if we could eat everything we wanted to without suffering the consequences. If we could skip working in the gym and magically still have that body that took hundreds of grueling hours to build up. Similarly, Plastic Surgery is NOT magic.

The ability of a certain technique to deliver the best result is as based on YOUR anatomy (IE what you literally bring to the (OR) table) as it is on your Plastic surgeon's skill to perform it. Except for a small number of specific cases, a Mini-Tummy Tuck cannot produce the same figure as a Full Tummy Tuck (If it did, why would Full Tummy Tucks be around?  Put another way, would going to the gym one a week for an hour produce the results obtainable from going to the gym 2.5 hours for 5 days a week?).

If you do not have a significant muscle separation, your skin is of good quality and you have no skin laxity, then liposuction may be the answer in your case. If you have mild skin laxity below the belly button with the above qualifications, then a Mini-Tummy Tuck may be for you. But, if you have a significant muscle separation (resulting in the "pooch"), skin laxity above the belly button and or poor quality (IE stretch marks), you wish to consider a Full Tummy Tuck.

See a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) to help guide you on how to best choose the procedure best suited for you.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Mini vs ful tummy tuck

I find that  mini tummy tucks oftentimes lead to dissatisfaction.  There is usually improvement, but in may cases it may tend to then bring into prominence the upper abdomen.  There are only very limited circumstances in which I would recommend a "mini" and if this is the first time you're having the procedure, get it done right.  At least ask your surgeon what he/she feels the end results would be, and why (if they recommend the mini) they feel it would be better for you than a full tuck. 

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 7 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.