What’s the Difference Between a Full and Mini Tummy Tuck?

posted on:
August 7th, 2023
posted by:
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

There are many reasons to consider undergoing a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) if you have excess loose skin and fat that are resistant to exercise–whether due to pregnancy or significant weight loss–a tummy tuck may be the best way to achieve tighter, firmer abdominal muscles.

But before you opt for this procedure, it’s important to grasp the differences between a full and mini tummy tuck. Although confusing, knowing which procedure best suits you is essential to achieving desired results.

What Is a Full Abdominoplasty?

A full tummy tuck involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the area between the pubic bone and the navel while also tightening the abdominal muscles both above and below the navel for an overall flatter, firmer appearance. Tummy tuck patients frequently undergo simultaneous liposuction for best results.

What Is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

A mini tummy tuck only removes excess skin and tightens underlying muscles on the lower abdomen and does not include the areas around or above the navel. If you have loose skin that is limited to your lower abdomen, a mini tummy tuck may be for you, but patients who require a full tummy tuck will be unsatisfied with this approach, which is why it’s important to book a consultation before plotting the specifics of your treatment.

What Are the Differences?

1) Incision Size

Tummy tucks typically require a low-lying incision which can be easily hidden by underwear and bathing suits. However, while the incision for a full tummy tuck runs hip to hip, the mini tummy tuck incision tends to be shorter. The exact length of the incision depends on each patient’s specific goals.

2) Correction Goals

While a full tummy tuck pulls the skin between the ribs and pubic bone taut again and repairs the abdominal muscles along the way, a mini tummy tuck tightens only the skin and muscle of the lower belly.

3) Navel Placement

Throughout the course of a full tummy tuck, the belly button is repositioned to maintain a natural appearance after the lax skin has been pulled taut. But with a mini tummy tuck, less skin is removed, and the placement of the belly button isn’t typically affected.

4) Faster Recovery

Due to the smaller incision and surgical area, recovery from a mini tummy tuck usually takes less time than a full tummy tuck. Mini tummy tuck patients often feel ready to return to work and have a moderate activity level about a week post-op, while full tummy tuck patients need closer to 10 days.

5) Expected Results

A traditional abdominoplasty and a mini tummy tuck both have differing results that appear at different times.

With a mini tummy tuck, you will see tighter abdominal muscles and reduced loose skin around the midsection. Once fully healed, you may also see a slight reduction in your stretch marks.

A traditional tummy tuck will strengthen your abdominal wall, giving you a slim and toned appearance in your midsection and beyond. These results are long-lasting so long as your weight doesn’t fluctuate.

Should I Go with a Full or Mini Tummy Tuck?

Whether you should choose a full or mini tummy tuck depends entirely on your concerns, aesthetic goals, and the severity of your concerns. While a traditional tummy tuck can tackle stubborn pockets of fat, it can also reduce a significant amount of skin on your abdomen, so it is ideal for those looking for drastic toning and loose skin reduction.

If you want to avoid larger incisions and don’t have much fat or excess skin, a mini tummy tuck is a great option to tone and slim your midsection. The best candidates for a mini tummy tuck are individuals with minimal amounts of loose skin or muscle tissue that they want to tighten slightly for a toned look they can’t get from exercise.

Schedule a Consultation

If you believe tummy tuck surgery may be right for you, contact Toronto Plastic Surgeons today to schedule a consultation. Our passion is ensuring you receive the safest, most effective treatment for your unique needs and goals!

Tummy Tuck FAQs

Is a mini tummy tuck less painful than a full tummy tuck?

You can expect less pain from a mini tummy tuck than a standard abdominoplasty because a mini tummy tuck procedure is less invasive, involves smaller incisions, and may not require a belly button realignment.

How long does it take to see results from a full tummy tuck?

After a full tummy tuck, you can return to work within 7-10 days and resume strenuous exercise within 4-6 weeks. By the 3-6 month mark, you can enjoy your permanent results and toned figure.

How long does it take to see results from a mini tummy tuck?

After a mini tummy tuck, you will see some toning take effect immediately, but you can enjoy full results once the swelling subsides at the 6-week mark. Your results will be permanent so long as you don’t gain a large amount of weight in a small amount of time or become pregnant.

Posted by:

Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Dr. Thomas Bell has been one of Canada’s most renowned cosmetic surgeons for 35 years. He prides his excellence on the harmonious balance of vision, aesthetic appearance, and patient care.

More on Dr. Bell

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