Should I get a tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck? (photo)

I've been looking at pics of tummy tucks and mini tummy tucks and feel as if I'm somewhere in between the two extremes. I have been pregnant, but no matter how much I watch what I eat or exercise, nothing seems to change. I'm 23 currently and hate that I can't feel attractive solely because of my stomach.

Doctor Answers 15

Mini vs full

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It is difficult to give a complete consultation with out an examination. It appears that you may have an umbilical hernia as well. A complete tummy tuck will correct the laxity and give you the smoothest contour. However the scars are the biggest. A mini I believe will not make you very happy because of the laxity above you navel. A compromise would be a procedure called an umbilical float. Your belly button can be released from the abdominal wall and moved slightly lower. It is restiched to the muscle the hernia can be repaired and the excess skin removed in the bikini line. Good luck. 

Vero Beach Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck or less?

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You're in pretty good shape and present like many Moms with a relaxed abdominal wall and loose skin after one or more pregnancies.  Exercise can strengthen muscles, improve endurance, and increase flexibility, but will not tighten connective tissue or skin.  Because the narrowest part of your waist is above the belly button and mini-abdominoplasty only tightens below the belly button, strictly speaking, the full tummy tuck is better for you.  That being said, you are what I consider a "special situation," nice enough going in that your procedure must be adapted to maximize benefit and minimize downside.  Scar must be low, short, and fine.  I've plicated above the belly button to narrow the waist through a short scar (about 8" long) without umbilical transposition of full tummy tuck and believe that approach good for you because of your relatively high belly button, only moderate skin excess, and most bulging from side view in lower abdomen.

"Mini versus regular tummy tuck"

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Thank you for your question and for submitting photos. Typically an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) tightens the abdominal skin from the rib cage down to the pubic area. The loose abdominal muscle is tightened from the the breastbone to the pubic area. For women who have loose skin and/or stretch marks above the umbilicus (belly button), and who have bulging above the umbilicus due to the loose muscle; a regular abdominoplasty is required to get the optimal result. 

A limited abdominoplasty commonly called a Mini-tummy tuck improves only the area beneath the umbilicus. The limited abdominoplasty leaves a shorter scar and no scarring around the umbilicus. The cost is usually less and the recovery a bit quicker. Since most women after pregnancy have skin and muscle laxity extending up to the rib cage. A limited abdominoplasty would give them an unsatisfactory result.

You have minimal skin and muscle laxity above the umbilicus so your surgeon could offer you the option of a limited (mini) abdominoplasty. Please make sure your plastic surgeon is board certified and has an expertise in abdominoplasty. Also ask to see before and after pictures.

William McClure, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Mini Tummy Tuck + Mild Lipo above the umbilicus

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Thanks for your question. 

Based on your photos, I'd have to ask what do you hate more about your abdomen: your stretch marks or the laxity. See I ask you, because your case seems to be restricted to the infraumbilical region (below your umbilicus). You muscle distention and/or fat accumulation are not bad above your umbilicus, so in cases like yours (if the patient is willing to stay with some of her stretch marks) I do a mini tummy tuck with muscle reinforcement (just the portion below the umbilicus) and a mild liposuction above the umbilicus. As you can see from your profile picture, below your umbilicus is where your belly protrudes more.

A complete tummy tuck would be an option to try and eliminate as much skin and stretch marks as possible, but only with a personal examination could I determine if your skin has enough flaccidity to pull your skin without your umbilical scar ending half way between your tummy tuck scar and your new umbilical scar (created on a complete tummy tuck). 

Another point in favor of the mini tummy tuck, is that (taking into account that you're 23 y/o) you could be able to get pregnant and have a complete tummy tuck in the future the same way someone without tummy tuck would. With a complete tummy tuck, is not recommended to have any more children. 

Hope this cleared your head a little. 

Take good care of yourself,

Dr. Fernandez Goico

Between the extremes

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You are absolutely correct.  This is a case that could potentially go either way but a physical exam would be necessary in order to make the appropriate recommendation.  See several plastic surgeons for evaluation before reaching any conclusions.  If you are planning more children, then I recommend that you wait until childbearing has been completed.

Tummy tuck vs Mini Tummy tuck

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I think you could have either.  The benefit of just the mini is a faster recovery and presumably less cost.  It would tighten the lower skin and remove some of the stretch marks.  It does not tighten the muscle separation or the skin laxity above the belly button.  From the photos I see that may not be an issue.  However a proper examination with a qualified PS is the best way to know.

You need to discuss with your surgeon what will be done with your belly button as well.  It can be left alone or released and moved down.  Neither of these leave scars. (Some patients do not like having their belly button moved, even if there are no scars.)  With a full tummy tuck it is likely that you would not have enough redundant skin to leave a really low horizontal scar without having a small 1 inch vertical scar from your "old" belly button.  Again your surgeon should go over these options.  There is no right or wrong answer.  Rather there are pros and cons of different things and you have to decide what is most important to you.

Dr. Duncan Miles

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It can be a vexing question for young women who are thin. The key question is how much skin do you have above your umbilicus?. From the photos you have shared it appears that you have little loose skin above the umbilicus, which would make you a candidate for a mini..The best photo to assess skin laxity is in a "diver's position", standing but bent over at the waste. This is very helpful in assessing the excess skin. 
Your surgeon will also get a sense of the elasticity of your skin by look and feel.

As an aside, I always caution women about considering liposuction alone in the abdomen. For most women who have had kids, the skin elasticity is poor and they trade a "poochy" abdomen for a "wrinkly" abdomen. Certainly liposuction can be very helpful, but most women need a skin reduction.


Should I get a tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck?

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Good question and you are right that you are kind of in between. So the answer depends on what result you want. If you want a little tighter skin from the navel down, do the mini. But if you want maximum tightness and removal of the maximum amount of stretch marks you will need the full TT.

Should I get a tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck?

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There are a variety of surgical procedures or combinations that can produce good results in patients with abdominal laxity, depending on multiple factors including their anatomy and degree of desired improvement: A mini tummy tuck, an umbilical float modified tummy tuck, a full abdominoplasty. Each of these can be performed with or without liposuction. They produce different degrees of improvement.

Most plastic surgeons would suggest that you finish having children before undergoing a full abdominoplasty with repair of the stretched out abdominal muscles.

Following the advise of anyone who would presume to tell you what to do based on two dimensional photos without taking a full medical history, examining you, feeling and assessing your tissue tone, discussing your desired outcome and fully informing you about the pros and cons of each option would not be in your best interest. Find a plastic surgeon that you are comfortable with and one that you trust and listen to his or her advice. The surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

A full tummy tuck is a better choice than a mini tummy tuck

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thank you for your question. A mini tummy tuck will not tighten the skin around your belly button and the upper abdomen and a mini will tighten the lower abdomen but the laxity of the upper abdomen and umbilicus will look sub-optimal.  The benefit of full tummy tuck is that the entire abdominal skin can be tightened as well as the umbilicus can be improved.  In addition if the muscles are split after pregnancy they can be repaired as well.  Please consult a board certified plastic surgeon with an excellent reputation in your community.

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.