Mini vs full tummy tuck? (Photo)

I went to a consult yesterday with a great PS. She recommended I get a mini tummy tuck. However, she never mentioned anything about muscle repair or lipo suction above the belly buttom. From all the research I've done, almost 100% had muscle repair or lipo suction or both. I'm afraid if I do a mini, my skin from up top would hang over my belly button because it wouldn't be as tight. Also, I'm not so worried about my stretch marks as I am my saggy loose skin when I sit or bend over! What do u think?!?!?!

Doctor Answers 5

Tummy tuck

Hello and thank you for your question.  The best advice you can receive is from an in-person consultation.  Based on your photograph alone, you may be a candidate for a full tummy tuck with liposuction.  This can be done through a low and short incision, all completely below the bikini line.  Your muscles can also be plicated resulting in a flat abdomen.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.  The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Full tummy tuck

The amount of excess skin typically determines the length of the incision required to remove that excess skin. As a general rule, a short incision only allows a small amount of skin removal. A longer incision and resulting scar (as in a full tummy tuck) will allow the surgeon to remove more skin and tighten the entire abdominal wall.  This is the important thing to consider when looking at this type of surgery. Don't compromise the results with a shorter scar if it won't deliver the results you want. A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon with an expertise in tummy tucks and body contouring should be able to show you what you can expect. In my practice in the San Francisco Bay Area I have come to the conclusion that the happiest patients are those that have realistic expectation on what a procedure will and won’t do for them. Good luck! 

Dean Vistnes, M.D. 

Vistnes Plastic Surgery 

San Francisco Bay Area

#realself #tummytuck #drdeanvistnes

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Mini or Full Tummy Tuck

The main differences between the mini and full tummy tuck are the length of the scar, the amount of skin removed, and if there is a scar around the belly button. A mini-tummy tuck on removes skin below the belly button and doesn't have a scar around the belly button. The lower abdominal muscles can be repaired with this method. Another way to do the mini-tummy tuck is by "floating the belly button". The belly button then stays with the skin when it is pulled down. With this technique, the muscle above the belly button can also be tightened. The belly button can be moved down about 2 cm (1.5 inches) this way.

Alternatively, with a full tummy tuck, the scar is at least hip to hip and skin can usually be removed from right above the belly button. The muscle is repaired and then the skin is closed. The belly button stays with the abdominal wall and is brought back up through the skin with a small scar around it. We performed a full tummy tuck on our snapchat today if you want to check it out! @drgrawe. Best wishes in your decision-making!

Mini or full tummy tuck

Mini tummy tuck varies from one surgeon to another. It is impossible to give a full opinion with out an examination. However, your pictures suggest to me that tightening or repairing your rectus muscles would improve your overall result significantly.

I often do full TTs without repairing the muscle if it really is not necessary. However if you have had kids or lost a lot of weight then muscle repair usually improves the result. (It is possible to do a mini TT and repair the muscle but usually a mini TT implies that the dissection is more limited and the muscle is not sufficiently exposed to repair it).

Mini TTs usually do not involve a cut/scar round the umbilicus. I think the appearance of your umbilicus might be improved following a full TT. Also the umbilicus may end up lower with a mini TT which you may not like.

Ultimately you have to take the opinion of a well trained and experienced surgeon who has examined you but I agree that  you pictures do make me question if a mini is the right way to go. Of course it is a shorter operation, with fewer complications, a quicker recovery and cheaper so there these other factors to consider.

Best wishes

PS the previous doctor's answer to your question also makes good points with which I agree.

Jeremy S. Hurren, BSc, MBBS, FRCS (Plast)
Chichester Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Mini vs. Full

Thank you for your question.

There are variations of a "mini" tummy tuck.  I would ask your surgeon if they meant to only tighten the skin below the belly button, or if they meant they would "float" the belly button, tighten the muscles from the ribs to your pubic bone, tack the belly button back down (in a slightly lower position), and then remove some of the excess skin.


Dr. Dan Krochmal

MAE Plastic Surgery

Northbrook, IL

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 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.