Full Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck

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Did you know?

The first tummy tuck procedure was performed in France about 120 years ago. The aim of this procedure was to remove the enormous skin and underlying tissues sac containing intestines (the umbilical hernia). Later this procedure was adapted to remove the abdominal pannus. The abdominal pannus is a hanging tuck of the skin in the abdominal area (in latin pannus means rag, patch, garment). Unfortunately, these operations caused the patients to lose their navels.

What is a tummy tuck today?

You may also find a medical term for the tummy tuck which is abdominoplasty.
It is a surgical procedure designed to correct the abdomen area. This procedure is recommended for people who are concerned about the saggy abdominal skin or excessive fat deposit in the abdomen area but are in relatively good shape. It may occur after pregnancies as a result of severe stretch of the tummy. Furthermore,  quite often saggy skin of the tummy  develops after dramatic weight loss. The result of a tummy tuck surgery is a flattened tummy and reduced waist measurement.

What are the types of tummy tuck?

There  are two main types of the tummy tuck: mini tummy tuck (also known as partial) and full tummy tuck (also known as complete). There are some differences and similarities between these two types (Tab.1).

How to choose the right one?

The type of the procedure mostly depends on the abdominal area which bothers you. If the lower abdominal area requires correction, then mini tummy tuck is a proper choice. However, if the problematic area is above the navel, then full tummy tuck is indicated. In any case, your doctor will recommend a technique which suits you best.

Full tummy tuck versus mini tummy tuck

Further we discuss the nuances of the different types of the tummy tuck in order to help you to understand it better


The duration of a full tummy tuck procedure is about 2 to 5 hours, whereas the mini tummy tuck usually takes half the length of it.


During the full tummy tuck surgery, the incision is made from one hip to the other. After that, the surgeon separates the skin-fat flap from the underlying muscles. The whole flap has to be separated and lifted as far as the ribs. Additionally, the doctor makes an incision around the navel. Once this is done, the doctor sews the abdominal muscles together in order to make your tummy tighter and flatter. Then, he pulls down the skin-fat flap and removes the excess of these tissues. A new navel is formed. Finally, the incision is closed.

During the mini tummy tuck procedure, the incision is made in the pubic area and it is shorter than the incision of the full tummy tuck. The surgeon separates the skin-fat flap from the underlying muscles. The flap is lifted to the navel. After that, the surgeon may  fasten the lower abdominal muscles if it is necessary. Then, he removes the excess skin and fat and closes the incision.

Operative site

The skin-fat flap is smaller in the mini tummy tuck compared to the full surgery. It includes the area between the pubis and the umbilicus.

The navel

In the full tummy tuck procedure a new navel is formed while the mini tummy tuck does not require doing this.

The scar

Scarring is inescapable in both mini and full tummy tuck procedures. However,  the scar after the full tummy tuck is longer  than the scar after the mini tummy tuck.

Postoperative pain

Both procedures are equally painfull but after the mini tummy tuck the painfull area is noticeably smaller as compared to the full tummy tuck.

 Full tummy tuckMini tummy tuck
Corrective areaAbove and below the navelLower abdomen (below the navel)
Types of anaesthesia

Requires general
anaesthesia                  Usually regional, can be general

Duration2-5 hours1-2 hours
Operative site

The area from the hips to the ribs

Fullbuklastik utomlands

The area between the hips and the navel

Minibukplastik utomlands

 Muscle tighteningAlways doneSometimes can be done. Includes tightening of lower abdominal muscles only
New navel formationYesNo
LiposuctionBoth procedures may include liposuction
Hospitalization2 daysNot necessary
Painful areaFrom the hips to the ribsThe lower part of the tummy
Recovery time2-4 weeks1-2 weeks
The scarLongerShorter

Tab.1. Differences and similarities between the full tummy tuck and mini tummy tuck.