Mini or Full Tummy Tuck: What’s the Difference?

Columbia, MO, full tummy tuck and mini tummy tuck blog post.

One of the most important jobs I have as a plastic surgeon is providing patients with honest recommendations about the procedure that would be best-suited for them, based on their aesthetic goals. When patients come to my Columbia practice to discuss getting tummy tuck surgery, they often ask if they would be good candidates for a mini tummy tuck.

It’s understandable that patients would prefer a mini tummy tuck, but the reality is that in most cases a full tummy tuck is needed to produce the desired results. A mini tummy tuck is the appropriate approach under some circumstances, though, so I’ll explain the differences between the 2 procedures and why a full tummy tuck is typically the better choice.

What Is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

As the name suggests, a mini tummy tuck is less extensive than a full tummy tuck because it only addresses concerns below the belly button. The main advantage is that it requires a much shorter incision — similar to the incision used for a C-section.  A full tummy tuck, on the other hand, involves making an incision that stretches from hip to hip. In both cases, the incisions are made just above the pubic area and can be concealed by bikini bottoms.

As with a traditional tummy tuck, liposuction targeting small pockets of fat can also be combined with a mini tummy tuck.

Mini Tummy Tuck Candidates

Some of the best candidates for a mini tummy tuck are patients who have always been in pretty good shape and have minimal excess skin. Typically, this might be a patient with a small belly pooch following pregnancy who needs surgery to repair stretched abdominal muscles. The only way to know for sure if someone is a candidate for a mini tummy tuck is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

All About Results

Again, if there’s excess skin above the belly button, or the abdominal muscles need significant repair, a full tummy tuck is the appropriate surgical path. Even though there is a longer incision, tummy tuck patients are usually quite happy with the dramatic results the procedure provides. Before getting a tummy tuck, women are usually reluctant to wear a bikini and men are self-conscious about taking off their shirts.

A tummy tuck flattens the tummy and creates a contoured midsection that patients don’t mind showing off, and the scar is low enough that it isn’t visible.

You can see for yourself in our photo gallery of tummy tuck patients I have treated.

Columbia Tummy Tuck Before-and-After Photos

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John J. Seaberg, MD, FACS