Cosmetics

What is the Difference Between a Standard Tummy Tuck and a Mini-Tummy Tuck?

Alvina Won, MD
Board Certified Cosmetic & General Surgeon

Tummy Tuck Options

Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, is one of the most powerful body contouring procedures in cosmetic surgery. It is a great option if you have excess, sagging skin and loose muscle tissue in the abdominal area. A standard tummy tuck will address the entire abdominal area both above and below the belly button. A low incision just above the pubic mound is made from hip to hip, and another incision is usually made around the belly button. In a few candidates with a high belly button, a “float” procedure can be performed so there is no incision around the belly button. The skin and subcutaneous tissue is then lifted all the way up to the breast bone so the skin can be pulled down tight and the excess skin removed. At this time, if there is any looseness of the abdominal muscles, also called diastasis (https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/abdominal-separation-diastasis-recti#1) , the muscles can be tightened to create a flatter contour. A new site and shape for the belly button is then created. Careful liposuction can also be performed during a standard tummy tuck for additional contouring.

The Mini-Tummy Tuck

In contrast, a mini tummy tuck can be offered if you have loose skin only in the lower abdomen below the belly button. A low incision just above the pubic mound still needs to be made, but often it can be a shorter length depending on the extent of excess skin. A wedge of loose skin is then removed. If you also have loose muscle in the lower abdomen, this can be tightened at this time as well. The belly button is not altered during a mini-tummy tuck. Because there is less skin removal and less moving of tissue, a mini tummy tuck generally allows for an easier and faster recovery.

Overall, tummy tuck surgery should be customized to your anatomy and goals. The improvements made from a tummy tuck are meant to last — abdominal muscles will remain firmer and tighter, and the excess skin will not return However, future weight gain or pregnancies can negatively affect your results, causing the muscles or skin to stretch back out and become loose again. If you’re still working on reaching your goal weight, or planning to have more children, it’s best to wait until you have achieved these milestones before having a tummy tuck.

Alvina Won, MD
Board Certified Cosmetic & General Surgeon