Should I Get A Mini- Or A Full Tummy Tuck?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I can’t figure out whether I need a full or a mini-tummy tuck. After having two children what bothers me most about my stomach is the little bit of loose skin and the stretch marks between my belly button and my mons. Interestingly, there is no loose skin when I am standing straight but it appears when I am bending over. I am 32 years old and in very good physical shape at 5’ 2” and 106 lbs. My abdominal muscles feel very taut and I don’t think they are separated at all.  I also have a hole on the upper part of my belly button from a prior piercing that I would like removed.

A:  Your description of your abdominal concerns is a common one and you are what I call a plastic surgery ‘tweener’. This means one is stuck between two procedures and can go either way. Either type of tummy tuck can be done on you.l Understanding which way to go requires an understanding of the trade-offs of making either choice. A full tummy tuck, removing an ellipse of skin from above the belly button down to the pubis, will eliminate all loose skin and will avoid the sag you now see when you bend over. But the final scar will be horizontally long and will end up high, about halfway between the new belly button and the pubic region. A mini-tummy tuck will result in a smaller scar that can be kept down quite low but will result in less skin removed and there will remain some small sag when you bend over. The decision comes down to whether you value the most amount of skin tightening or the best scar location and size.  

Dr.  Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana