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What is the Difference Between a Full and Mini Tummy Tuck?

The difference between a mini tummy tuck and a full tummy tuck can be confusing. While most people think the term “mini” simply implies a shorter incision, the actual medical definition of a mini tummy tuck refers to removing some skin in the lower abdomen without incising around the belly button or tightening the muscles above the belly button. In reality, very few patients are “true” candidates for this approach, and when a mini tummy tuck is utilized for unqualified individuals, unsatisfactory outcomes that include bulging in the upper abdomen and an odd-looking navel (sometimes appearing pulled down) often result.

In contrast, a full (or standard) tummy tuck involves the removal of excess skin (and fat) from approximately the pubic bone to the navel, as well as tightening of abdominal muscles both above and below the belly button (from the top of the abdomen) to achieve a flatter, firmer look. This technique is generally performed using a low-lying incision that can be concealed by the majority of underwear and bathing suit varieties. The length of this incision will depend on the unique needs of the patient, but I typically employ a shorter scar than most “traditional” abdominoplasty techniques. I also complement tummy tuck surgery with some “lipoplasty” (or liposuction) throughout the hips. This provides “360 degree” torso rejuvenation while helping to define the natural curves of the hips.

Ultimately, understanding the difference between a mini and full tummy tuck is essential to achieving results that meet – or even exceed – your expectations. To view educational videos further explaining the two procedures, visit our cosmetic enhancement videos page and click on the “body” category. If you believe tummy tuck surgery may be right for you, be sure to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure you receive the safest, most effective treatment for your unique needs and goals.

Dr. James F. Boynton

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To learn more about the differences between full and mini tummy tuck surgery, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boynton, please contact us today.