I Would Like to Know when a Partial Abdominoplasty is Indicated and What Are the Benefits?

I am having abdominoplasty this year as I have loose skin and need a muscle repair after several pregnancies. My surgeon recommended a partial abdominoplasty for me as my loose skin is below my belly button and my upper abdomen is mostly flat and the the skin is quite taut. He said that sometimes when there is not much, or any, loose skin above the belly button, that you cannot pull the skin down low enough and end up with a higher than optimal scar. What are the pros and cons of a partial? Thx!

Doctor Answers 7

Will a mini tummy tuck be the appropriate procedure for correcting abdominal deformity?

A mini-tummy tuck can be performed and is a good procedure in a relatively small percentage of patients. If there is no skin laxity, protrusion of the abdomen or significant separation of the rectus muscles above the umbilicus, this "limited" procedure can be considered. This sounds somewhat similar to your situation though only an examination would confrim or refute this.

You may want to obtain 1 or more additional consultations from board certified plastic surgeons and then evaluate the recommendations, etc. before making your decision.

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews


The miniabdominoplasty is usually indicated when there is some at and weakness in the abdominal wall but very little excess skin. There are not a lot of people at are good candidates for this procedure

David L. Abramson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Mini vs full abdominoplasty

A mini-tummy tuck is not a common procedure in my practice.  There are very rare patients that are good candidates for this procedure.  The advantages of the mini-tummy tuck include a shorter scar and faster recovery.  However, if there is any loose skin or decreased muscle tone above the belly button, it will not be addressed.  

Concerns over a too high scar can always be corrected.  A better option is to have a short vertical scar in the mid-line if your upper abdominal skin can not be pulled all the way down.  This leaves only a small scar that often can be hidden in normal clothes.

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Partial (Mini) abdominoplasty is very seldom a good idea.


1)  Too often you end up with disproportion between the upper and the lower abdomen.  There is usually more loose upper abdominal skin than is apparent.

2)  The solution is not to do a full tummy tuck with a higher scar.  The scar must be low.

3)  The solution is to do a full abdominoplasty with a low scar, and accept a short up and down scar in your mid line, slightly above the long horizontal scar..  This vertical scar comes from the incision around your belly button, and is usually removed when there is sufficient excess skin.  When there is less excess skin, this scar is left in place to avoid too much tension in the wound closure.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Most times a full tummy tuck is needed rather than a mini

In my experience, far less that 5% of the time a mini TT is appropriate (although 100% of the time it is what you want to think you need because it is "mini").  This is because it does nothing for the upper abdomen and it is a rare patient who has no loose skin or muscle laxity above the umbilicus.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

"mini" or full abdominoplasty

 A "mini" or partial abdominoplasty is a great option for women with loose and excess skin on the lower abdomen, who retain more normal skin tone and quality on the upper abdomen.  

This difference in the surgery is that in the full abdominoplasty, an incision is made around the belly button and the skin is pulled tightly down from the top.   Most women benefit from this as it improves to tone of the skin on the upper abdomen as well as the lower abdomen.

In a mini or partial abdominoplasty, the skin from he lower abdomen is tightened, but the upper abdomen skin is left alone.  Usually the abdominal wall is tightened below the belly button only.

Beware of "floating" the umbilicus.  In this procedure, the belly button is freed from below.  This removes its blood supply and causes it to lower on the belly, usually to an unnatural position.  If you were unhappy with this result, it would be nearly impossible to fix.

Regarding scar position, I do not see scar migration frequently, but I routinely fix the scar position to the abdominal wall with sutures.  If your belly is tight as I am closing, you might end up with a small vertical scar at the bottom (this is where the belly button used to be).

Good Luck.

Gordon Lewis, MD
Midlothian Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Partial Abdominoplasty

mini tummy tuck is similar to an abdominoplasty except a shorter incision is used. This procedure is beneficial for patients with excess skin and fat that is limited to the lower abdomen below the naval. Liposuction is often added to achieve the best possible contour.

After surgery, there will be some degree of bruising and swelling. A small plastic drain may be in place and is removed within several days. A compressive, post-surgical garment is worn for several weeks. Most patients return to work within one week. More strenuous activities can be resumed in 4-6 weeks.

Gregory A. Wiener, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 75 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.