Different Types of Tummy Tucks

Q :  I have a stomach pouch that I just can’t stand. After my third child, I just could not get rid of this loose skin and fat that hangs below my belly button. Despite really watching what I eat and trying to exercise more, it won’t come off. It hasn’t budged at all in the past year. I think I may need some type of a tummy tuck. What is the difference between a mini- and a full tummy tuck?

A: Any form of a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, removes skin and fat as well as tightens the rectus muscles. The removal of skin and the muscle tightening is what separates it from a liposuction procedure.

Most types of tummy tucks are horizontal full-thickness excisions of skin and fat down to the abdominal muscle wall. The difference between a mini- and a full tummy tuck is in the amount and location of this cut out. A mini-tummy tuck performs it below the belly button while a full  tummy tuck goes above the belly button. As a result, the full tummy tuck has a longer final scar as well as a circumferential scar around the ‘new’ belly button. The mini-tummy tuck just has a less long low horizontal scar only.

A patient’s decision between a mini- and full tummy tuck must consider a variety of factors. How long a scar can one tolerate? How much loose skin and fat does one have? Is there loose and creapy skin around the belly button? Are there any rolls of skin above the belly button? How flat does one want the stomach area to be?

The simplistic answer to deciding between a mini- and full tummy tuck is what the stomach looks like above the belly button. Only a full tummy tuck can smooth out loose skin and fat above that central abdominal marker.

Dr. Barry Eppley