WE get many patients who come in requesting a Tummy Tuck. They will get a much flatter tummy, and if they get liposuction around the love handle area, a drastic reshaping of the entire midsection. The drawback is the scar. It generally goes from hipbone to hipbone. Invariably, we get the question “Can we do a Mini Tummy Tuck?” The patient is hoping to get most of what he/she needs with a smaller scar and a less involved surgery. Can that be done?

The first thing for the patient to realize is that although the two procedures, full tummy tuck and mini tummy tuck, have a similar name, they treat different conditions. Please view our illustration above to see the difference between the two procedures. Our graphic shows the amount of skin removed, the amount of muscle work performed, and the final incisional scar in each procedure.


The Mini Tummy Tuck treats the minor pouching out of the lower belly caused by stretching of the lower abdominal muscles. It is primarily a muscle tightening procedure.

Full Tummy Tuck

You cut out enough skin to take out the slack created by tightening the muscle and defatting the skin, and the scar just goes from one side of the pubic mound to the other. It is a very well disguised scar, and very thin because not much tension is used to close the scar.

These are the conditions and limitations for the Mini Tummy Tuck:

  • The procedure is not a good skin tightening procedure.
  • It can only tighten a limited area directly above the pubic mound. If you try to tighten more, you end up extending the scar sideways, and you get a longer scar that is no longer well hidden and still not the amount of tightening that will make you happy.
  • It really doesn’t take care of stretch marks.
  • It does not take care of any muscle wall separation above the belly button.


The Full Tummy Tuck treats two conditions:

  • a muscle separation above and below the belly button
  • excessive or loose skin in the belly

It is really two operations, a muscle repair and a skin excision. The skin excision part is called a Dermolipectomy. All the skin between the belly button and pubic mound is taken out. Thus it can take care of all the stretch marks below the belly button. The skin above the belly button is stretched to reach the top of the pubic mound. Any stretch marks above the belly button will come to lie just above the pubic mound.

The scar from a Tummy Tuck usually goes from hip bone to hip bone, but this is not an absolute. If there is a lot of loose skin, or a fold of abdominal skin, the scar may extend beyond the hipbones.

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