Do I need a Mini or Full Tummy Tuck?

Do I need a Mini or Full Tummy Tuck?

What is the difference between a full versus mini tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), and which operation provides the best results?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure?  How do I get a flat, tight abdomen? These are some of the most common questions patients, Dr. Andrade, during their consultation at the York Plastic Surgery Centre.

One of the most common misperceptions between the two procedures is that a mini tummy means there a short scar, and a full tummy tuck always results in a long scar on the lower abdomen.   In fact, the scar length depends on the location of the loose skin on the abdomen that must be removed, not on the type of operation.   Most surgeons define a mini tummy tuck as an operation that only removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the lower abdomen (below the belly button), whereas a full tummy tuck tightens the entire abdomen.  Also, Dr. Andrade usually tightens the abdominal muscles (called a rectus plication) during a full tummy tuck, but the muscles are not typically tightened when doing a mini tummy tuck.  If only the lower abdominal muscles are tightened this can have the effect of shifting the abdominal contents upward, making the upper abdominal bulge even worse.

If you have loose skin and excess fatty tissue only on the lower abdomen, a mini tummy tuck might be a good option.  However, if you have loose skin, excess fatty tissue or bulging muscles on the upper abdomen, a full tummy tuck could be the better procedure.  Dr. Andrade always does a full consultation including understanding your goals and medical history.  A proper abdominal examination is then performed, making note of the location of excess skin, stretch marks, fatty deposits, and whether there is any muscle laxity.  It is also important to check for abnormal masses or a hernia.

There are multiple variations of standard tummy tuck surgery.  For example:

  • A “floating umbilicus mini tummy tuck” involves releasing the attachment of the belly button from the abdominal wall and shifting it a little lower on the abdomen, to help tighten the skin in this area. However, if the belly button is moved too low on the abdomen it can look abnormal.
  • An “extended tummy tuck” involves removing tissue not only from the abdomen but from the flank regions as well.
  • A “fleur-de-lys tummy tuck” involves removing even more skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen but results in an additional vertical midline scar.

Furthermore, liposuction is often performed during a tummy tuck to further improve the final contour and help obtain an hourglass figure.  It is important to seek an opinion from an experienced tummy tuck surgeon such as Dr. Andrade to determine the best option for you.

Typically, the recovery after a mini tummy tuck is quicker because the surgery is less extensive and the abdominal muscles are not tightened.  Most people are back to all of their regular activities in about 4 weeks.  With a full tummy tuck, most people avoid strenuous activities for 6 weeks postoperatively.  Each person is unique, so it is important to check with Dr. Andrade before resuming regular physical activities.  The risks and costs of these operations are found elsewhere on this website.  At our clinic, we provide every patient with a binder that is worn for 3 weeks, and we also provide a free tube of medical scar gel to get each patient on the right track with their scar care program.   Most patients also receive postoperative nursing visits at no extra cost, in the comfort of their home, to ensure they are healing properly.

Dr. Andrade has a 5 star rating on RateMDs and and his practice has a specialized focus on breast and body contouring surgeries.

If you have any questions or would like to book a free, detailed consultation with Dr. Andrade, please feel free to contact the office.