Do i need a full or mini tummy tuck?
Full tummy tuck vs. mini tummy tuck vs. hybrid tummy tuck
There are no longer just two options in tummy tucks, the full and the mini tummy tuck. The full tummy tuck is best for patients who have a lot of looseness in their skin, especially if that looseness is above the belly button. There is no substitute for a full tummy tuck in the right patient with a lot of skin looseness. The results of full tummy tucks in the right patients are spectacular.
The mini tummy tuck is best for patients who have only a skin problem (no fascial problem) just below the belly button. In our practice, this is usually limited to scar revisions of C-sections. It is NOT the best procedure for the vast majority of post-pregnancy women.
The hybrid tummy tuck (TM) is a tummy tuck that uses a short incision, but tightens the “muscles” all the way up to the breast bone, in other words the entire length of the abdomen.
It is best suited for fit moms who did not have large weight gains during their pregnancies, yet they note some loose skin and looseness of the muscles. Often when they do a situp, they see a separation of the muscles.
Or if they “let it out”, they see a bulge in the abdomen. In almost all cases, that bulge extends well above the belly button. Therefore the mini tummy tuck is NOT a satisfactory procedure for them and they will need a hybrid tummy tuck.
The hybrid tummy tuck is more difficult to perform because it must be done through small incisions and often requires endoscopic equipment. There are many in-between procedures between these main categories as well (full tummy tuck with vertical incision in order to get a lower incision; extended hybrid tummy tuck if slightly more skin needs to be removed; flank extensions, hybrid with hernia repair and umbilicoplasty, etc)
The average length of a fully tummy tuck in our practice is 32 cm, or hip to hip. The average length of a mini tummy tuck or a hybrid tummy tuck is 15 cm. In some cases the incision size for a hybrid tummy tuck is less than 8 cm.
The size of the incision is therefore less than half for a mini or a hybrid tummy tuck than it is for a full tummy tuck. Why not just do a full tummy tuck in everybody? Full tummy tucks leave long incisions. In fit women, they also leave high incisions or a vertical incision, usually both. This is especially true of women with high belly buttons or long waists.
These incisions are not to be taken lightly as they can forever prevent the use of a bikini if the final incision is two inches below the belly button. (Brent Moelleken, MD, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon)
Choosing between full and mini tummy tuck
In my professional opinion, there is NO physical way any human your size could have carried 3 healthy babies to term without having PERMANENTLY disrupted her anterior abdominal musculature. Once your rectus muscles have been displaced sideways – no matter of exercise and quantity thereof can and would pull these muscles together.
(Imagine if I borrowed your favorite blouse and wore it for a few weeks – then returned it back to you. I would bet it would be much “roomier” than before and no wishful thinking would shrink wrap it to you.)
A mini tummy tuck is an operation which ONLY addresses the tummy and muscles BELOW the belly button. The vast majority of women presenting for an abdominoplasty have separation of the muscles AND looseness of tummy skin BOTH above and below the belly button. Because you are so thin – you should have a fantastic result with a standard abdominoplasty. (Peter A. Aldea, MD, Memphis Plastic Surgeon)
Full or mini tummy tuck
The main positive aspect of a mini is that the incision is shorter, that is all. The length of the incision will determine how much skin you can remove in an up and down direction.
So if you have a fair amount of excess skin keeping the scar short will not allow you to remove as much skin and most patients will not be happy with the final result. The ideal candidate for a mini is someone with mild muscle separation with a very small amount of skin in the lower belly and not much fat. If that describes you then go for it! (John P. Stratis, MD, Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon)
How to know if you need a full or mini tummy tuck.
In my expereince the easiest and quickest method of determining whether you need a full or a mini tummy tuck is to determine if you have loose skin above your belly button.
If you do, you will most likely benefit from a full. There are many other facots such as muscle laxity but this is harder for you to evaluate. (Otto Joseph Placik, MD, Chicago Plastic Surgeon)
There are many factors that go into the decision whether a full or mini TT may be best for you. Only after a physical examination can a specific opinion be given. In general, though, most women of your size , that have had 3 pregnancies, would benefit from a full abdominoplasty. (John E. Gross, MD, Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon)
Full or mini tummy tuck depends on the amount of skin
The difference between and mini tummy tuck and a full or standard tummy tuck depends on how much skin you have. Most patients after having children will need a full abdominoplasty. The mini does not address the upper abdomen.
Sometimes I will do a combination which is a mini with upper abdominal liposculpture. Just depends on how much skin there is to remove. Talk to a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who does many of these. Good Luck! (Andrew T. Cohen, MD, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon)