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Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck – Which is right for you?

I attended a wellness event at The Bar Method in Baton Rouge yesterday to discuss cosmetic medicine and cosmetic surgery.  As a plastic surgeon, this is obviously a topic of interest to me.  It was nice to see and meet women that are concerned about their health and not looking for an “easy out”.  They work out, eat right and are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle, but even still, they have concerns associated with a changing body due to pregnancy and the wear and tear of life in general.  One attendee asked me about excess abdominal skin after having a baby but wasn’t sure what she needed. Thus, the topic for my blog today – tummy tuck vs a mini tummy tuck!


There are variations in technique between a tummy tuck and mini tummy tuck and each plastic surgeon you ask may have a slightly different opinion, but here are some basics. A tummy tuck includes removal of excess skin, liposuction of the flanks and tightening of the muscles of the abdomen to flatten the tummy. A mini tummy tuck removes excess skin and that’s about it. Some plastic surgeons may include liposuction with the mini tummy tuck and maybe tightening of just the lower portion of the abdomen, but this depends on the plastic surgeon and the patient’s body characteristics.


To help visualize these differences, here are some examples of my patients that show an appropriate patient for a mini tummy tuck vs a traditional tummy tuck.


Mini Tummy Tuck
Mini Tummy Tuck
In the photo on the left, you can see a small sliver of lower abdominal skin and no abdominal bulge. In the photo on the right, the postop view shows that the sliver of skin is gone.
Courtesy Dr. Jonathan Kaplan
Trad Tummy Tuck
Traditional Tummy Tuck
In the photo on the left, you can see excess skin, cellulite, stretch marks and fat in the flanks. In the photo on the right, the postop view shows skin and stretch marks removed. The scar, while long, is low enough that it will be hidden by underwear and clothing.
Courtesy Dr. Jonathan Kaplan


One of the most important things to recognize is that a tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck is NOT a choice of the patient or the doctor. It’s not like choosing between a facelift or a necklift. Having a tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck is determined by the patient’s body shape and what is appropriate for them. For example, if you haven’t had kids, still have firm abdominal muscles but have a small strip of excess lower abdominal skin, then you are a candidate for a mini tummy tuck. But if you’ve had children and your abdominal muscles have stretched from pregnancy, resulting in more than just a little excess skin, then a tummy tuck will be the right procedure for you. Below is a graphic from a friend of mine, Dr. Kenneth Odinet’s website, that demonstrates the differences between the two procedures. His graphic suggests that even in his mini tummy tuck, he also tightens the lower part of the abdomen. This really depends on the patient.




Regardless of whether your plastic surgeon tightens any part of the abdominal muscles in a mini tummy tuck, the bottom line is that if they are a board certified plastic surgeon, rest assured they will do what’s best for your particular situation based on your particular concerns.  If you don’t really have a great deal of excess abdominal skin or a bulge in your abdomen that would benefit from tightening of the abdominal muscles, you may only need liposuction if excess fat is the problem. Again, if you have questions regarding what’s best for you, check out the website and find a plastic surgeon to start your discussion. And if you’re curious about the cost of these procedures before you go in for your consultation, click here.
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4 Responses

  1. Thank you for your article that explained the difference between mini and traditional tummy tuck
    It was very helpful.
    Thank you
    Mrs. Mbadiwe

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