What is the Difference Between a Full Tummy Tuck and a Mini?

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Whether it is caused by pregnancy, rapid weight gain and loss, or just genetics, many women (and men) choose to undergo a tummy tuck to achieve a flat, washboard tummy. A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a popular procedure that removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal area, and for many patients, tightens and restores the stomach muscles to their former shape and positioning. The benefits of a tummy tuck include a smoother, firmer midsection with improved overall contour.

There are variations of the tummy tuck procedure, allowing your plastic surgeon to customize the procedure and your unique surgery plan to suit your anatomy and body goals. One of the variations available for this procedure is the ability to choose between a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck. While each procedure is performed differently and entails different results, many patients are unsure of which procedure would work best for their body. Below we go over the differences between a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck:

Full Tummy Tuck Details:
One of the most noticeable differences between a full and mini tummy tuck is the length of the initial incision. A full tummy tuck incision typically runs all the way from hip to hip. Another differentiating factor between the full tummy tuck and the mini tummy tuck is the possible correction level. A full tummy tuck pulls the skin firmly and repairs the abdominal muscles from the ribs all the way down to the pubic area. For this reason, patients who have skin or muscle looseness through the upper part of the abdomen will see better results with traditional tummy tuck surgery in almost all cases. Additionally, in a full tummy tuck, the existing belly button is removed and relocated. Sometimes, this can result in scarring around the belly button that is not seen with a mini tummy tuck. You and your doctor can decide what procedure will produce the best results for you.

Mini Tummy Tuck Details:
Unlike a full tummy tuck, the incision created during a mini tummy tuck is shorter in length. The placement on the abdomen is about the same, however, to allow for the patient to wear a bikini without the incision showing. A mini tuck is also a less extensive procedure than the full tummy tuck, meaning results may not necessarily be as drastic. Unlike a full tummy tuck, a mini tummy tuck tightens only the skin and muscle of the lower belly. Corrections begin just below the existing belly button. For any appearance concerns above the belly button, the mini tuck simply isn’t a comprehensive enough procedure. However, patients whose skin and muscle laxity are limited to just the lower abdomen may be very happy with a mini tummy tuck, especially if their upper abdominal muscles are already in reasonably good shape.

Similarities Between Both Procedures:
Regardless of whether you and your doctor choose a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck, the basics of the procedures are similar. Both procedures are typically performed under general anesthesia, allowing patients to return home the same day. In both procedures, once the incision is made, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is tightened.

Recovery time after a mini tummy tuck is usually easier than after a full tummy tuck because the procedure is less extensive. Many patients feel ready to return to work in about a week following a mini tuck, compared to 10 days or so for a full tummy tuck. Mini tummy tuck patients may also show more interest in resuming a moderate activity level and exercise sooner in the healing process compared to full tummy tuck patients.

Even though the recovery time is typically quicker after a mini tummy tuck than after a full tummy tuck, patients in both procedures have additional pain relief options if they would like to be more comfortable upon waking up from surgery. Exparel (bupivacaine) is an anesthetic (numbing medicine) that blocks nerve impulses in your body and is the most surefire way to reduce your pain after either a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. The narcotic is used as a nerve block after surgery and provides pain relief to the area by numbing it for up to 72 hours. While the sensation of being numb might feel strange, you will very thankful not to have any pain or discomfort from your procedure! At Mia Aesthetics, Exparel is offered with certain procedures and costs $600 to add on. The narcotic is delivered in a single dose.

In Conclusion:
In conclusion, both a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck can give you the flat tummy you’ve been wanting, but you must choose your procedure based on your unique anatomy. Patients with more extensive skin sagging may need to have a full tummy tuck, as it is able to pull more skin with an incision that runs from hip to hip. The incision created during a mini tummy tuck is much shorter in length and only addresses problem areas below the belly button. The mini tummy tuck has a slightly slower recovery time and quicker return to exercise and daily activities. There are pain relief options for both procedures to guarantee the most comfortable recovery experience possible. If you are curious as to whether you should have a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck, schedule a free online consultation with Mia Aesthetics today and receive an expert opinion from one of our top surgeons.