Can I get by with a Mini Tuck? Or do I need an Extended Tummy Tuck?

mini-tummy-tuck-cost-and-recovery Melbourne average prices of a mini tummy tuck

What’s the difference between a Mini Tummy Tuck, a standard Tummy Tuck or an extended Tummy Tuck?

Many patients ask us about what the difference is between a mini-tummy tuck and an extended abdominoplasty procedure.

The answer is: A LOT. One will give you better body contouring but leave a longer scar. This is known as the extended abdominoplasty vs a mini-tummy tuck.

It is a more intensive surgical procedure AND has a longer recovery process, explained below. But the mini tummy tuck DOES suit some patients who have concerns ONLY with excess skin (loose skin) on their lower torso.

  • For mild skin sagging on your lower abdomen – if that’s truly your ONLY concern – the Mini Tummy Tuck procedure may be your best option.
  • Most patients will get better results from an extended Tummy Tuck. The only way to tell for sure is to ask a Plastic Surgeon which surgery type will suit you best.

First, the MINI TUMMY TUCK option. Is it right for you?

  • A mini tummy tuck may suit patients with very minor skin ptosis (stretched, droopy skin) on the lower torso
  • It is designed to remove redundant SKIN around the lower waist (the skin apron)
  • The image below shows a woman with loose belly skin but no excess fat or uneven tissue distribution
  • There is also NO noticeable separation of the abdominus recti muscles
  • She has already focused on exercise and nutrition and has a LOW BMI.
  • She would be an ideal candidate for a MINI tummy tuck

PHOTOGRAPH: The excess skin condition in this photo reveals mild ptosis. There is no excess body fat and no visible muscle separation. This patient is a candidate for a MINI TUMMY TUCK procedure.


Skin Condition and Fat Distribution Analysis

  • Likely diagnosis: skin condition resembles MILD skin ptosis (lax skin)
  • The level of redundant skin is also MINIMAL
  • However, exercise and dieting alone will NOT improve the skin condition
  • Hence, she may benefit from surgical skin reduction in this area (a mini tummy tuck)
  • Non-surgical methods might be an alternative
  • However, cooling of the skin is NOT likely to result in sufficient skin tightening to satisfy her concerns

Compare this to the needs of someone with more protrusions or bulges.

The example in the photo above shows likely separation of the abdominal muscles as well as uneven fat distribution. Skin reduction alone would be insufficient for this patient’s shaping goals. This patient would likely benefit more from combined Tummy Tuck with Liposuction shaping.
  • An extended tummy tuck corrects for numerous physique changes, tissue deformities and/or contour concerns (not just draping skin)
  • A FULL Abdominoplasty, and extended tummy tucks, both involve more comprehensive shaping and waistline contouring
  • This option reduces fat deposits and bulges as well as lax skin folds and involves additional liposuction (sculpting) of the torso and mons pubis
  • It corrects for muscle separation issues / abdominal hernia conditions


cost of mini tummy tuck vs extended tummy tuck in Melbourne
Example of a full Abdominoplasty procedure. A “mini” tummy tuck surgery (skin reduction only) would NOT have given the flatter, firmer torso shaping visible in the AFTER photo.

A full or extended Tummy Tuck involves more extensive reshaping and contouring of the torso, including above the navel.

  • The aim of a full tummy tuck is to create a smoother, flatter contour to the overall torso area
  • It usually involves re-positioning and reshaping the belly button for an improved overall appearance
  • Compare this to a mini-tummy tuck, which is simply removing droopy-looking skin or a draping ‘skin apron’ on the lower torso
  • BOTH the mini and the extended tummy tuck leave scars
  • Scars are longer but body contouring is often more satisfying to the patient

The extended procedure adjusts the underlying tissues for body contouring. The mini tummy tuck does not – it merely reduces a bit of skin.

  • Remember, all surgery has risks While it may be called a MINI Tummy Tuck, that doesn’t mean it’s NOT serious
  • However, the “mini” version is likely to involve a faster recovery time frame AND a shorter scar
  • Patient results vary so be sure you choose a highly-skilled Surgeon

Extended vs Mini Abdominoplasty: Body Contouring Surgery Terminology

Within these classifications of Abdominoplasty surgery, there are many variations in surgical approach. These procedures also go by different names.

  • A mini-tummy tuck might also be called an Apronectomy or Panniculectomy
  • A standard tummy tuck may be known as a ‘full’ Abdominoplasty or an ‘extended Tummy Tuck’ including liposuction
  • An extended Abdominoplasty may also be called a Belt Lipectomy (lower body lift) or Trunkal Body Lift
  • The surgical descriptions depend on the torso region(s) being treated
  • Scar differences: the more extensive the contouring the larger or longer the scar(s)
    • longer horizontal scars, but ‘hidden’ beneath beltline area
    • multiple incision lines may also leave a vertical scar
    • navel adjustments (position and shape) where the scar is INSIDE the belly button when possible

Mini Tummy Tuck – Explained

  • Excess skin excision (removal)
  • Focuses on skin below the belly button and above the mons pubis
  • Does NOT typically include lipo-shaping or liposuction contouring
  • No readjustment of the misshapen navel area
  • No repair of diastasis recti

Extended Tummy Tuck compared to a Mini Tummy Tuck

  • A full or extended tummy tuck is a more holistic approach to torso reshaping and skin removal around your abdomen or waistline
  • This procedure involves more extensive body contouring surgery
    • skin reduction (excisions and removal)
    • liposuction shaping (contouring above and below the navel)
    • bulge reduction and adipose cell removal (reducing body fat which can help with your metabolism)
  • Scar(s) may extend from hip to hip, or around the hips onto the back of the torso; usually near the “belt line” / below the waistline
  • Suits patients who have bulges in the abdominal area and/or muscle separation as well as uneven distribution of fat
  • Attains a more shapely, harmonious result (flatter abdomen vs more rounded)

Ways an extended Tummy Tuck is different to a Mini Tummy Tuck

  • A complete Tummy Tuck redefines your waist or waist-hip ratio by removing bulges (not just skin)
  • Removes loose, baggy skin folds and smooths contours on a broader area of the abdomen
  • Reduces the overall amount of stretch-marked skin (but does not correct for stretch marks)
  • Repairs Abdominal muscles (corrects abdominal muscle separation)
  • Re-positions and reshapes the belly button (navel area) – repairs an overstretched navel or ‘collapsed’ looking belly button after having children
  • May reduce bulges above and below the navel (ask your Surgeon)

TIP: Ask you Surgeon about mons pubis area, waistline and upper-torso liposuction options

Main benefits of extended Tummy Tuck techniques for Body Contouring

  • Restores a flatter, firmer appearance to your overall torso
  • Reduces abdominal bulges and/or enlarged mons pubis occurring after pregnancy 
  • Gives more definition to the waistline through liposuction/lipo-sculpting as well as skin reduction
  • Attains a more attractive contour 
  • Extensive skin reduction ‘tightening’ and lipo attains smoother, flatter contours
  • Reduces a rounded looking abdomen

Extended Tummy Tuck vs Full Tummy Tuck vs Mini Tummy Tuck

Trunkal Body Lift – the Belt Lipectomy (Extended Abdominoplasty)

  • The most extensive type of Abdominoplasty surgery is called an extended Tummy Tuck or Belt Lipectomy/Body Lift
  • These techniques reshape waistline contours AND reduces body bulges on the SIDES and/or BACK of your torso (not just the front)
  • Reduces skin and fat that accumulates around the waist AND upper hips/back/flank areas
  • The benefits of the Trunkal Body Lift “skin reduction/pull up” include reshaping of the abdomen/torso, waistline, hips AND buttocks (results can vary)

Similar to a full abdominoplasty, a body lift surgery involves:

  • Abdominal muscle repair (correction of abdominal muscle separation)
  • Reshapes and re-positions an overstretched navel or ‘collapsed’ looking belly button after having children or overcoming obesity
  • Removes loose, baggy skin folds and lipo-sculpts body bulges above the torso (often involves a vertical scar as well as a horizontal scar)
  • Gives a smoother, flatter or firmer skin contour versus a rounded looking abdomen or a hanging ‘skin apron
  • Selective incision line placement and especially tight suturing give a pleasing result, but initial recovery is initially far less comfortable
  • Suits post-bariatric surgery patients and other patients who have overcome obesity but are left with sagging skin

How long does Recovery take after a Mini Tummy Tuck or Extended one?

Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery (Overview only – follow your Surgeon’s specific advice)

  • Avoid driving until cleared by your Surgeon (usually about 1-2 weeks)
  • Allow 1 to 2 weeks for early recovery and up to 3 to 4 months before resuming impact sports or heavy lifting
  • Similar to a full Abdominoplasty, you will need to wear a compression garment for up to several months
  • Follow you Surgeons recommendations and remember, every patient’s different

On average, recovery after a mini-Tummy Tuck can last from at few weeks to up to 16 weeks or longer. You’ll need to wear compression garments and avoid heavy lifting and high-impact sports for several months or as advised.

  • Some activities/some patients may need to wait 4 to 6 months.
  • Extended Tummy Tuck Recovery (Overview only – follow your Surgeon’s specific advice)
  • Initial recovery after an extended Tummy Tuck or Belt Lipectomy can take several weeks longer.
  • Swelling, bruising and tenderness in treated areas may persist up to 4 months or longer for some patients.
  • Avoid heavy lifting as your Surgeon advises. Follow instructions for post-op care.

Remember, wearing your compression garments is crucial for your results.

How much does it cost for a mini tummy tuck vs a full one?

COST: A mini tummy tuck by an experienced Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne will typically average $9,000 to $12,000 in price. Compare this to the price of a full tummy tuck including liposuction which costs from $12,500 to $17,000. Expect to pay $15,000 to $22,000 for more advanced sculpting techniques to $25,000 or higher for a comprehensive body lift.

Additional techniques and/or high levels of expertise and after-care will impact most average surgery prices.

Download the Tummy Tuck Surgery Guide

Tummy Tuck Guide Download

Visit the Abdominoplasty surgery page.

What’s involved in having a Mini or Extended Tummy Tuck?

  • Make an enquiry with the Patient Care Team (0388491444)
  • Download and read the Guide
  • Attend your initial consultation with a Plastic Surgeon
  • Get assessed for Abdominal area damage, hernias and/or muscle separation
  • Discuss the assessment of your skin, fat distribution and navel appearance and your skin reduction / contouring goals
  • Discuss Medical vs cosmetic assessments based on health conditions
  • Consider the risks, recovery time frames and costs involved and make an informed, thoughtful decision (never rush)
  • If warranted, second opinions by other Plastic Surgeons may help you understand the procedure or choose your Surgeon (it’s best to see a genuine Plastic Surgeon vs a cosmetic doctor)
  • Want to learn more about an extended tummy tuck? Click here.

SUMMARY: If you have abdominal damage, mid-torso bulges or split abs, then a mini-tummy tuck is unlikely to suit your needs. That’s because it only involves skin excision but no underlying muscle repair or tissue contouring.

  • A mini-tummy tuck is unlikely to suit your needs if you have uneven fat distribution as well as lax skin
  • Patients with Abdominal damage (separated abs) or torso bulges usually need a more extended tummy tuck
  • A consultation will help you assess your best options for a flatter belly or reduced skin sagging


Want to see more photos of Tummy Tuck surgery? VISIT our BEFORE & AFTER Surgery Pages.

Or phone us on 0388491444 to see one of our top Surgeons in Melbourne.


Reference article: Abdominoplasty Improves Low Back Pain and Urinary Incontinence

Taylor, D. Alastair, F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Merten, Steven L., F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Sandercoe, Gavin D., F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Gahankari, Dilip, F.R.C.S.(Ed.), F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Ingram, Scott B., F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Moncrieff, Nicholas J., F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Ho, Kevin, F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Sellars, Graham D., F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.); Magnusson, Mark R., F.R.A.C.S.(Plast.)Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 2018 – Volume 141 – Issue 3 – p 637–645

Doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004100

Last updated: 19/02/2019
Author profile image
Dr Craig Rubinstein - MBBS, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Craig Rubinstein MBBS, FRACS (Plast), a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, is one of Australia's most respected Melbourne Surgeons for Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift (Mastopexy), Breast Reduction surgery and Abdominoplasty procedures. Using advanced surgical techniques to gain better body contouring and natural-looking surgical results, Dr Rubinstein is highly regarded by peers and patients for best-practice Clinic Patient-care and patient education strategies. He published a chapter on corrective surgery for Breast Asymmetry (see: Dr Rubinstein, a Melbourne University medical graduate and current FRACS Specialist Plastic Surgeon, is renowned for his skill and precision with breast enhancement procedures. With over 20 years experience in female cosmetic procedures, he has performed over 7,000 breast enhancement surgery procedures including breast augmentation, breast lift and breast reduction, and thousands of Abdominoplasty procedures for women after pregnancy or weight changes (post-obesity/post-bariatric surgery).Qualifications/Training Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) The Australian Medical Association (AMA) American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS)Founder: Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men - Plastic Surgeons Group Bio Page: