University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue 4th Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: (434) 924-1234
Location Hours: Monday–Friday | 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Mini Tummy Tuck vs. Full Tummy Tuck: Which Is Right for You?

woman holding her stomach (model)

At UVA Plastic Surgery, we understand that choosing between a mini tummy tuck and a full tummy tuck is a significant decision. Our goal is to provide comprehensive information to guide you in selecting the procedure that best suits your needs.

This blog post will discuss what each surgery entails, the benefits and considerations, the expected recovery timeline, and how to determine which procedure aligns with your aesthetic goals. By understanding the differences in techniques, recovery, and candidacy requirements, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed choice in consultation with your surgeon.

What Is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

A mini tummy tuck addresses excess skin and minor contour irregularities below the navel. It is a less extensive surgery than a full tummy tuck. It involves a smaller incision, doesn’t involve reshaping the bellybutton, and doesn’t address separated abdominal muscles. It’s best suited to relatively fit patients who want to refine their lower abdominal contours.

How Does a Mini Tummy Tuck Differ From a Full Tummy Tuck?

A full tummy tuck, or standard abdominoplasty, is more comprehensive than a mini abdominoplasty. It targets excess skin and fat above and below the navel for a flatter, firmer abdomen. The incision typically extends from hip to hip, positioned as low as possible so you can easily hide the scar under underwear or swimwear.

During a full tummy tuck, your surgeon will tighten and repair the abdominal muscles and may involve refining or reshaping the bellybutton.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Case 68 Before & After View #1 | Charlottesville & Fishersville, VA | University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
Before & After Full Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Case 35 Before & After View #1 | Charlottesville & Fishersville, VA | University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
Before & After Full Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Case 67 Before & After View #1 | Charlottesville & Fishersville, VA | University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
Before & After Full Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Case 222 Before & After View #1 | Charlottesville & Fishersville, VA | University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
Before & After Full Tummy Tuck Surgery

Tummy Tuck Recovery Time: What Should I Expect?

After a full tummy tuck, expect initial discomfort managed by advanced pain control techniques. Although you’ll need to focus on rest and recovery, gentle walks soon after surgery will promote circulation and healing. Tummy tuck patients are typically ready to return to non-physical work and normal activities within 1 to 3 weeks.

Recovery from a mini tummy tuck is generally shorter and easier. Many patients resume office and desk work after a couple of days. While less invasive, this procedure also requires careful attention to postoperative instructions to ensure the best outcome.

Learn more about tummy tuck recovery in this related blog post.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Mini Tummy Tuck?

Ideal candidates for a mini tummy tuck often want to correct a small “pooch” below the bellybutton. Excess skin is typically confined to the area below the navel. Suitable candidates are at or near their ideal weight and possess good muscle tone in the upper abdomen.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Full Tummy Tuck?

Candidates who benefit most from a full tummy tuck often struggle with loose, sagging skin that doesn’t respond to diet or exercise. They may also have stretched or separated abdominal muscles, a condition known as diastasis recti, which is common after pregnancy and significant weight fluctuations.

An ideal candidate is at a stable weight, leads a relatively healthy lifestyle, and has realistic expectations about the results. A full tummy tuck is a major surgery that requires a commitment to recovery and a willingness to follow postoperative instructions closely.

Schedule a Consultation

The surgeons at UVA Plastic Surgery provide personalized consultations to discuss your aesthetic goals, procedure details, and everything you can expect during recovery to ensure you make the best decision for your body and well-being.

If you’d like to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss which procedure best suits your needs, call our office at (434) 924-1234 or request a consultation online.

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