Is the Belly Button Also Involved in a Regular Tummy Tuck, Like a Mini Tummy Tuck?

Is recovery quicker when you go through the belly button during a mini-tummy tuck? Is the belly button detachment purely for aesthetic reasons?

Doctor Answers 9

Mini tummy tuck

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Usually a mini tummy tuck involves some form of liposuction, tightening muscles in the lower abdomen and some skin excision. I prefer a full tummy tuck because the mini does not treat the upper abdomen.  The umbilicus is left in place for a ful tummy tuck , and in a mini it is sometiems detached and moved lower.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Differences between tummy tuck and mini-tummy tuck

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A mini-tummy tuck involves removal of only a portion of the lower abdominal skin and tissue with no involvement (incisions) at the belly button. A full tummy tuck allows for complete removal of the skin and tissue from the level of the belly button to the pubic area. There is an incision around the belly button during this procedure. This also allows for a complete tightening of the abdominal muscular wall. The length of the final scar with a tummy tuck is only about two inches longer per side compared to a mini-tummy tuck.

Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to see which procedure is best for you.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 412 reviews

Regular vs mini tummy tuck

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The belly button is either not detached at all or detached at the abdomen wall with a mini tummy tuck.  This will lower the belly button and generally only treats the lower abdomen.  With a regular tummy tuck the belly button is left attached to the abdomen wall and a new opening is made in the abdomen flap which is lifted and advanced over the belly button.  This type of tummy tuck addresses the entire abdomen.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Is the Belly Button Also Involved in a Regular Tummy Tuck?

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A lower or "mini" tummy tuck only tightens the skin below the belly button. If the skin is loose above the BB, then the BB must be detached, since it is tethering the skin to the underlying muscles, and no amount of pulling on  the skin below this will result in any tightening above the BB unless it is release. In a regular or full tummy tuck, you make an incision around the BB, leaving the round disk of BB skin attached in place on its stalk, and the skin, once freed from the BB, can be released up to the ribcage and pulled down, thus tightening the skin of the entire tummy.  If the BB was stretched out with pregnancies, for example, it can be made smaller, an "outy" can be made more of an "inny", and it too can be improved.

Mini vs full TT

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A mini-tummy tuck refers to a procedure in which only the tissues and sometimes the muscle below the BB are treated.  The BB may be pulled down some, but there is no incision made around it.  You BB has a stalk below the skin that passes into the abdomen and thus limits (like a tether) how far you can pull the skin down.  In a full abdominoplasty an incision is made around the umbilicus so the surrounding tissues can be pulled down further and more of it excised.  Then a new incision is made through the tissues that are then covering the BB  and it is pulled up into place and sutured.  It stays in place; everything around it moves.  Sometimes a surgeon will cut the stalk underneath  instead and move the BB down with the tissues then tack it back to the abdominal wall wherever it ends up.  The result is a lower BB which I think usually looks strange.

As for recovery...the BB does not change the recovery time.  The longer muscle tightening of a full abdominoplasty takes longer to recover from pain wise.  Very few women are good candidate for a mini-abdominoplasty and many that have them end up either disappointed or getting a full TT as a secondary procedure.  Don't be one of those.  Get several opinions and go with the procedure that will get you the result you want.  The recovery of a full abdominoplasty is worth doing if that's the procedure you need.  Go for it.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Belly Button Treatment in Tummy Tuck

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The difference between "mini" tummy tuck and "regular" tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a common question to plastic surgeons.  Many patients come in asking for a mini abdominplasty thinking it is best because they will have less down time and save money.  A mini tummy tuck usually does not involve an incision around the umbilicus (belly button).  Most of these patients have a minimal amount of excess lower abdominal skin and a moderate loss of muscle tone of the abdomen (rectus diastasis).  The scar is a little longer than a c-section scar and the belly button is usually lifted and resutured after the muscle it tightened.  Most commonly, patients need much more skin removed, liposuction of the hips and the belly button placed through the tightened skin.  Thus, nearly every patient requires an incision around the belly button as part of their tummy tuck.

Glen Brooks, MD
Springfield Plastic Surgeon

Full tummy tuck, abdominoplasty and mini tummy tucks

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there are many differences between what people call a mini and a standard tummy tuck but.....

the umbilicus is always treated in a standard tummy tuck..  it is usually cut around and relocated. a technique called a slide can be done in a few cases

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Mini vs full tummy tucks

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Minis are rare because they do nothing above the umbilicus so almost all patients need a full TT for their optimal results.  This involved an incision around the umbi while this is not the case in a mini.

Mini or full tummy tuck?

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Unfortunately, I don't really understand your question:  "is the belly button also involved in a regular tummy tuck?"

A few words regarding the differences between the 2 operations may be helpful...

The mini tummy talk, In my opinion, 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.

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.