Mini Tummy Tuck Vs Full Tummy Tuck?

Should I have a mini tummy tuck or full tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)? What are the differences on recovery time and surgery success? I've had 3 kids (4, 3, and 1) and I'm only 23. No allergy to any meds; No surgeries

Doctor Answers 24

Mini vs. Full vs. Modified Tummy Tucks

You have several options availabe for improvement of your abdomen. The most appropriate choice will depend on what your desires are and how loose your skin is, which is best determined by a full consultation with examination.

I see that you have some loose skin awith strecth marks that go all the way to your belly button. There is loss of definition in your waist. You belly button looks good with little flattening and overhanging skin. You are 23; any more children in the future? Is that a c-section scar?

When counseling patients such as yourself the first question I ask is: "are you happy with your belly button"? If you are then a mini-tt is a good option since it will help tighten your lower abdomed with a shorter, lower scar. I almost always tighten the lower muscles to provide additional flattening. Adding liposcultpure to the sides can help define your waist. The recovery is less than a full Tummy Tuck. This technique is however limited. This procedure will not remove all of your stretch marks. It will not correct your upper abdomen or belly button.

If you have a significant muscle separation and bulging of the upper abdomen and you want to correct this, then a modified full Tummy Tuck might be an option. The scar will be longer and higher, and you will have a scar around your bully button that may not make it look much better than what you have now. I would offer this to you only after a few consultations where we would discuss the limitations in great detail.

My experience shows that the right patients are satisfied with their mini-Tummy Tuck. I select my patients carefully since the majority of my patients need a full Tummy Tuck. I usually don't offer a mini-tt to a patient who reuqires a full Tummy Tuck because I know they will be dissatisifed with the limited correction.

Make no mistake, correcting your abdomen is challenging. You are not the typical tummy tuck patient. I would urge you to find a board certified plastic surgeon who has alot of experience with patients similar to yourself. Ask how many mini-Tummy Tuck, full- Tummy Tuck, and modified Tummy Tuck they perform. What are there results like. Are the patients happy? Look at their before and after pictures. Ask a lot of questions.

Hope this helps.

Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Difficult to say without an exam...

Hi there-

While your photo is helpful, in order to give you the best advice, I would also want to know how stretchy and loose your tissues are on exam- this is determined by feeling the tissues and so is not possible online...

Here are a few points to consider...

Mini-tummy tuck is an operation I no longer offer, as the rate of dissatisfaction was unacceptably high for me- I want all of my patients to be as happy as possible, and the problem with this procedure is that, because the muscles are only tightened below the belly button, too often a small bulge would develop above the belly button, where the muscles had not been tightened... leading to dissatisfaction.

I think that for patients who don't need a full tummy tuck because they don't have that degree of excess skin present, another excellent option is a MODIFIED abdominoplasty, sometimes also called a "marriage" abdominoplasty because of the way it combines ("marries") the best of an abdominoplasty and liposuction.

I would find a surgeon Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery and review your goals with him/her. After an exam, they'll be able to educate you about your options and make you comfortable and confident you are choosing the technique most likely to make you happy in the long term.

Mini Abdominoplasty vs. Full Abdominoplasty

First of all, you want to be completely clear on what the differences are between these procedures.  With a full abdominoplasty, there will be a scar that extends across the lower abdomen, typically extending from hip to hip.  There is also a scar around the belly button.  With the mini abdominoplasty, the lower abdominal scar is shorter, and there is no scar at the belly button.  Liposuction is often used with either of the procedures.  Less scarring always sounds like a good idea, but lesser procedures produce lesser results, and you may not get the outcome that you are looking for.  The mini tuck does not tighten the upper abdomen at all.  From your photo, your upper abdomen does not appear too loose, although a full exam is really needed to evaluate this.  Photos can be deceiving!  You also may have muscle separation that extends to the upper abdomen, and this could be repaired more readily with a full tummy tuck.  Again, an examination of your abdomen by an experienced, board-certified Plastic Surgeon followed by a thorough discussion about your options should allow you to make a choice that will realize your goals.

Robert Wilke, MD
Edina Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Your Picture Suggests You May Benefit From a Full Abdominoplasty

Pregnancy can result in dramatic changes in a women’s body. These changes are especially noticeable in the abdomen, where redundant saggy skin, weakened muscles, and stretch marks may occur. Your pictures suggest that you might benefit from a full abdominoplasty, but without a physical examination by an experienced plastic surgeon, there is no way to know for sure.

If your excess skin is located below the level of the umbilicus and your muscle weakness is also at this level, you might be a candidate for a mini abdominoplasty. Unfortunately, the location of your abdominal bulge, suggests that you might benefit from a full abdominoplasty.

Abdominoplasty is performed by making a lower abdominal skin incision and then lifting the skin and subcutaneous tissue to the level of the rib cage. This typically requires detaching the belly button, which allows more skin to be removed. The muscles are then tightened, excess skin removed, and the belly button re-attached in proper position.

Mini abdominoplasty typically does not detach the belly button and confines dissection to the areas below the umbilicus. Muscles below the umbilicus are often tightened and excess skin below the umbilicus is removed. Occasionally, liposuction of the upper abdomen is performed to further augment the result.

The best results are obtained when correct analysis is performed and the best surgical option is applied. In most cases, patients will require a full abdominoplasty. Rarely, mini abdominoplasty will adequately correct the problem. Recoveries and results are excellent with both procedures.

Looks like you would be a good candidate for a mini-tummy tuck because you don't have a lot of loose skin.

With a mini-tummy tuck, the incision can be placed very low so that it is completely covered by your bikini.  It is difficult to do repair of the abdominal muscles with a mini-tummy tuck but I'm not sure you would need it until your examination.

Tummy Tuck

We usually tell our patients to plan for a two week recovery after Tummy Tuck. Tummy tuck recoveries varies: Full Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair will take longer than recovery for a Mini tummy tuck.  We almost always use a binder for the first week or two followed by a girdle for the next month.

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Kevin Dieffenbach, MD
Oahu Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck vs a Full Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty

From your photo, it appears that you would be a candidate for either a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). It really depends upon your goals. If you want a super flat stomach and to get rid of most of your stretch marks, than a full would be the best choice for you.

Many patients think that the recovery from a mini tummy tuck will be a prolonged, painful and arduous, but if a rapid recovery, NO Drain protocol is used, the recovery from a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck is usually about the same, 24 to 36 hours.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Mini tummy tuck vs full tummy tuck?

Thank you for your question and photos! 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. Looking at your photos, 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.  I would highly recommend continued diet and exercise prior to any consideration for body contouring as getting down to your ideal weight prior to the procedure will certainly give you the best results. Also, a continued healthy and active lifestyle will be needed in order to maintain the benefits that the procedure has given to you.

Once you are ready for the procedure, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck with abdominal wall tightening along with some liposuction to the hips/flanks for additional contouring. This would remove the excess skin/soft tissue and stretch marks while contouring your belly. You should consult with a plastic surgeon at anytime to go over options to assist you in deciding which procedure(s) would be right for you. The mini tummy tuck has limited usefulness and limited candidates as it truly only addresses excess skin in a small area above your pubis.  While the recovery time is shorter, the benefits afforded to you by a full tummy tuck are much greater and will optimize your result.  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews


A mini tummy tuck will not adequately address the fullness, skin excess, or stretch marks of the central portion of your abdomen.  A full tummy tuck will do all of this plus fix the muscle weakness and revise the belly button.

Mini Tummy Tuck Vs Full Tummy Tuck

Based on the photograph, you may a variety of options. Consult in person with 3 board certified plastic surgeon and choose the surgeon/surgical plan that best meets your objectives/needs.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 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.