Patients who are seeking a tighter, flatter abdomen might consider a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty. A tummy tuck involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, as well as a tightening of the abdominal muscles.
A mini tummy tuck, also known as a partial abdominoplasty, is a less invasive version of the full abdominoplasty. It involves the removal of excess skin and fat in the area between the navel and the pubic bone. With some patients, there is no need for an alteration of the underlying muscles.
So which procedure is more appropriate for you? Your plastic surgeon will be the best resource for helping you determine if a full or partial abdominoplasty will help you better achieve the results you want. However, there are a few general differences between the procedures that you will want to consider.
The state of your abdominal muscles will help determine what procedure you would prefer. If your abs are already tight but you just have some excess skin or fat (perhaps from dramatic weight loss) between your hips, the mini tummy tuck would probably correct that. But, if you have permanent stretching of the abdominal muscles, or separation of the muscles (often due to pregnancy) that cannot be corrected with exercise, a full tummy tuck might be more appropriate.
The full tummy tuck is more invasive and will give you more dramatic results- but not every patient needs dramatic results. A full tummy tuck can often involve a scar that reaches horizontally from hip bone to hip bone, with an additional incision made around the belly button, if it needs to be repositioned. The surgeon can sometimes hide the scar low enough that it is covered by bikini bottoms.
A mini tummy tuck scar is generally smaller than that of a full tummy tuck. The smaller procedure also doesnt involve naval repositioning, so there is no secondary scar. The drawback of a mini tummy tuck is that is will not tighten the muscles above the navel, will not tighten the skin as much as a full tummy tuck, and it can leave some stretch marks behind.
In short, the full tummy tuck will give you more dramatic results, and has a correspondingly larger scar and longer recovery time (for a visual of the results, visit our before and after page for tummy tucks). It is appropriate for patients who want to reshape their midsection, both above and below the navel. A mini tummy tuck is less invasive, has a smaller scar, and affects a more localized area of the belly.