A tummy tuck, also known as a abdominoplasty, is a form of plastic surgery focused on the midsection — the tummy. This procedure can accomplish a lot: tightening loose skin, reducing fat, managing bloating, and minimizing stretch marks on the stomach.
The abdominoplasty procedure can be performed in two different ways, known colloquially as the tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. Though the regular vs mini tummy tuck are similar in many ways, there are notable differences. For potential patients, it’s helpful to know the difference between full and mini tummy tuck procedures so you can have an informed consultation with your surgeon.
So, What’s the Difference Between a Mini Tummy Tuck and a Full Tummy Tuck?
Both kinds of tummy tuck procedure promise a slimmer, flatter stomach, but how that is accomplished differs. Along with technique, the procedure recovery and expected results may look different as well. Here, we’ll explore the key differences between each type of tummy tuck and answer common questions. If you are unsure what type of tummy tuck is right for you, speak with an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Lapuerta to understand your options.
What is a “Standard” Tummy Tuck?
A standard (or full) abdominoplasty is a form of permanent plastic surgery on the stomach. The full tummy tuck procedure generally involves both liposuction and incision-based surgery, and is commonly chosen by patients who have recently been pregnant, or have a fair amount of excess skin around their stomach.This procedure reduces excess tissue, fat, and skin. It is unique from a mini-tuck in that it surgically tightens the muscles of the patient’s abdominal wall with permanent sutures. The belly button is also repositioned to ensure a natural looking midsection — another major difference between a full and mini tummy tuck. This combination of surgical techniques makes up the standard tummy tuck, resulting in a dramatically slimmer belly and overall improved body contour.
Following a full tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will inject a local anaesthetic into the treated area. This will provide pain relief for three days following your procedure. Abdominoplasty patients can expect scarring following their surgery, but a good surgeon will take care to minimize this, as well as pay attention to positioning, so the marks can be covered by garments like bathing suit bottoms.
What is a Mini Tummy Tuck?
A mini tummy tuck is generally favored by those who are already slender, but would like to reduce the size of their belly. Patients with loose or excess skin, a “belly pooch,” unwanted stretch marks, or other forms of scarring on their stomach might also opt for a mini tummy tuck procedure.
A mini tummy tuck differs from its counterpart in a number of ways, the most significant being:
- It focuses only on the lower belly
- It involves shorter incisions
- The belly button is not repositioned
- It removes smaller amounts of fat, tissue, and skin
- It does not not tighten the full abdominal wall with permanent sutures
- It involves a slightly shorter recovery period (4-6 weeks before resuming strenuous activity)
- It will often result in lighter scarring
A mini tummy tuck also tends to be the preferred procedure for certain candidates. It’s best to consult with your surgeon to identify which treatment is the better choice for you, depending on both your aesthetic goals and unique medical history.
Do I Need a Full Tummy Tuck or Mini Tummy Tuck?
If you are unsure or which type of tummy tuck is best for you, here are a few examples of the ideal candidates for each procedure. Be sure to follow up with your surgeon to have a conversation about which type of tuck is best for you.
The Ideal Traditional Tummy Tuck Candidates:
- Desire to remove a larger amount of fat and/or skin than those who just want a mini tummy tuck
- Have a fair amount of excess or loose skin around their stomach
- Sometimes, have seen changes in their physique post-pregnancy
- Are wishing to reduce stretch marks across their full stomach (not just the lower area)
- Are looking to reduce the shape of their entire belly, rather than just the lower abdomen
- Experience significant bloating or distention after eating
The Ideal Mini Tummy Tuck Candidates:
- Have a slender frame, but would like to reduce the size of their tummy
- Have excess skin in the lower belly area (between the belly button and pubic bone)
- Possess healthy skin with good tone — this can aid in the healing process
- Are not planning to become pregnant in the future
- Intend to maintain their current weight
Whichever tummy tuck is chosen, it is important that the patient is in good health, and has reasonable expectations about what this surgery will deliver. This is true with any form of plastic surgery or aesthetic procedure.
I Want a Tummy Tuck! Can I do That in Houston?
You absolutely can. At Look Younger, we provide tummy tucks (standard and mini) to patients in the Houstin, Katy, Pearland, and Piney Point areas. Our own Dr. Leo Lapuerta is triple-board certified, and has been working as a plastic surgeon for over 20 years performing over 20,000 procedures.
Ready to join our growing list of happy clients? Sign up for your free consultation with Dr. Lapuerta by calling us at (713) 489-0169, or drop us a line at our website. We look forward to meeting you and helping you reach your goals!