When is a Mini Tummy Tuck Worth it?

“Differences Between Mini Tummy Tucks And Traditional Tummy Tucks”

Full Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck

As deceiving as it might be, a mini tummy tuck doesn’t actually differ much from a traditional/ full tummy tuck. The main difference between the two is the fact that the full tummy tuck works with the entire abdominal area where the mini works solely with the lower abdominal area.

Only about 1 out of every 5 patients are eligible for a mini tummy tuck because of the elasticity of their skin and the condition of their fat, skin, and muscles. The reason for this is because most of the patients who are looking into a tummy tuck require a more aggressive approach to achieve their desired results. A mini tummy tuck wouldn’t be able to offer the full benefits the patient would need.

Which is better?

Since tummy tucks and mini tummy tucks have a fundamental difference in how much area is treated. Depending on how large or small the area a patient wants to treat, a surgeon will recommend one procedure over the other.

If a person wants to remove excess fat and skin from the entire abdominal region and tighten the abdominal muscles after they’ve been separated (diastasis recti), then a full tummy tuck will suit them best. If a person only wants to remove excess fat and skin from the lower abdominal region (belly button and lower) then a mini tummy tuck will be sufficient in treating that area. Mini tummy tucks are often reserved for those who want to address a “pooch” or a “muffin top”.

As a visual learner myself, I’ve put together a chart that highlights the differences between mini tummy tucks and traditional tummy tucks for easier comparison.

Visual Differential Breakdown

Mini Tummy Tuck FullTraditional Tummy Tuck
AnesthesiaGeneralGeneral
Incision
  • Similar to C-section incisions.
  • Usually have a smaller incision; about ⅔ to ½ the size of a traditional tummy tuck incision.
  • No upper incision.
  • Similar to C-section incisions.
  • Incision is made from hipbone to hipbone.
  • Incision made around the navel to position the belly button.
Areas TreatedLower abdominal area.Full abdominal area.
Excess skin and Fat Removed
  • Usually less excess fat and skin are available so less will be removed overall in comparison.
  • As much excess skin and fat is removed as possible.
  • If stretch marks are on the skin that is being removed, then they’ll be removed as well.
Repairing of Abdominal Muscles
  • If needed but can be done without.
  • If done, usually it is minimally/ partially prepared.
  • Abdominal muscles are completely repaired.
  • Surgeons are able to correct cases of diastasis recti.
Candidates
  • Those who have excess skin and fat in their lower abdominal region
  • Those who have decided that they won’t become pregnant again.
  • Those who have significant amounts of excess skin and fat.
  • Those who have diastasis recti.
  • Those who have decided that they won’t become pregnant again.
Results
  • More natural-looking results. The lower abdominal region will be flatter.
  • Partial results can be seen immediately.
  • Full results can be seen after all swelling has gone down after 2-3 months after the procedure.
  • Results are more dramatic/ intensive affecting the entire abdominal area.
  • Partial results can be seen immediately.
  • Full results can be seen after all swelling has gone down after 2-3 months after the procedure.
Recovery Recovery is virtually the same for both. -Antibiotics will be prescribed to avoid infections. -Drains are placed for a couple of days for 5-7 days. -Overnight hospital stay post-procedure. -Avoid heavy lifting for 8 weeks. -Avoid excess sunlight on incision sites, pools, and beaches for 2-3 weeks. -Shower 48 hours after the procedure. -Full recovery can take 2-3 months.

Looking at the table, the differences between mini and traditional tummy tucks are. Scaring, incisions, fat, and skin removal are all more intense for a traditional tummy tuck. Both the mini and traditional tummy tucks can be combined with liposuction and mommy makeover procedures as well. At the end of the day, speaking with your surgeon is the best way to determine which procedure will help get you to your desired body goals.

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