Standard vs Mini Tummy Tuck? Worried About Scarring and Stretch Marks.

Im a 20 year old mother of one (14months old). Im still a somewhat petite girl, 5'5" 125 lbs. My main issue with my stomach is the stretch marks, so Id like to lose as many of those as possible. I am, however, worried about a large scar or a really low, flat belly button.

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck for Stretch Marks (Full vs. Mini)

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In order to get rid of the greatest possible amount of the skin that has stretch marks with a tummy tuck, then a longer scar will have to be accepted. In general the length of the scar will have to be at least 3 times the vertical height of the skin to be removed. With a full tummy tuck, this is usually all of the skin between the top of the belly button and the incision at the level of the pubic hairline. The typical scar for this procedure extends from one hip to the other. With a mini tummy tuck, the belly button is not relocated and only about half as much skin is removed, from the pubic hairline to maybe half way to the belly button. If your primary goal is to get rid of as much skin and stretch marks as possible and there is enough loose, excess skin, then a full tummy tuck is probably the best option.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tummy tuck or not?

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There is very little that can be done for faded or flesh colored stretch marks (striae distensae). I would strongly encourage you to undertake a regimen of core strengthening exercises such as Pilates or Yoga. If you are considering any more children, avoid a tummy tuck for now.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Standard vs mini tummy tuck? Worried about scarring and stretch marks.

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Hello! 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. 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.

Once you are ready for the procedure, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck 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. 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!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Mini vs full tummy tuck.

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Thank you for the photo.  The mini tummy tuck is good for extra skin under the belly button.  For skin above the belly button, belly button issues, separated muscles, excess skin above the belly button, a full tummy tuck is usually better.  Please seek out a board certified plastic surgeon.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Tummy tuck or mini-tummy tuck?

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In my opinion, the mini tummy talk 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.
It is important to work with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to obtain advice (based on good ethics and judgment) to  improve your chances of a successful outcome and minimize the need for further surgery.
I hope this helps.

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

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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.

Stretch marks

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At 20 you are a bit young for a tummy tuck.  A tummy tuck would remove the stretch marks in an elliptical fashion from udner the umbilicus, but I would wait until you have completed all child bearing.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Stretch marks

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Unfortunately stretch marks are one of the problems we don't have a good answer for. The easiest and most reliable method in to remove the skin containing the stretch marks but since these are quite extensive in you and are present far above the belly button, the only way to remove all of them is to have a scar that is quite high and possibly visible in a bathing suit.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Getting Rid of Stretch Marks

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It is hard to see the location of your stretch marks from the photo you submitted.  Generally speaking to get rid of stretch marks you will need a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).  A mini-tummy tuck is really only good for reducing the fat thickness and removing a small amount of skin.

Suresh Koneru, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck VS. Standard / Full Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

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Regarding: "Im a 20 year old mother of one (14months old). Im still a somewhat petite girl, 5'5" 125 lbs. My main issue with my stomach is the stretch marks, so Id like to lose as many of those as possible. I am, however, worried about a large scar or a really low, flat belly button."

Excellent question. Before jumping into ANY Tummy Tuck discussion it would be best if you are done having children (stable relation, tubal ligation etc). It would not make any sense to have a Tummy Tuck and then become pregnant and lose the results. You would do a lot better in the long run if you waited until then rather than having revision procedures.

If you were ready to have a Tummy Tuck today, your tummy appears to present a dilemma. A FULL Tummy Tuck would remove the largest proportion of stretch marks BUT you do not appear to have a large amount of skin excess and as a result you may end up with a short vertical scar where the belly button USED to be (which cannot be removed).  A Mini Tummy Tuck will remove some of the stretch marks but will not flatten the tummy above the belly button.

You need to ask yourself if a horizontal scar that can be hidden by your panties is worth a flat tummy, nice innie belly button, narrower waist, lifted Mons pubis and even smoother thigh skin. If not, do not have the operation.

Good Luck.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.