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.
- 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
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
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
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