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Mini-Tummy Tuck vs. Full Tummy Tuck: What’s the Difference?

Childbearing and massive weight loss often leave stubborn fat deposits and excess skin in their wake. Diet and exercise do their part, but for the last stretch, surgical help may be needed. Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery can provide that help.

Depending on the extent of fat and excess skin, full tummy tuck or mini-tummy tuck (partial abdominoplasty) will be recommended by your plastic surgeon. These procedures are explained below.

Mini-Tummy Tuck

The mini-tummy tuck is for patients who do not require abdominal muscle repair and have a small degree of laxity below the belly button. These patients must also have good upper abdominal skin tone.

Candidates for Full Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Full or traditional abdominoplasty is for patients who require abdominal muscle repair, fat deposit and excess skin removal. This is the more commonly performed of the two procedures.

Both mini-tummy tuck candidates and full tummy tuck candidates must:

  • Be physically healthy and at a stable and safe weight
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Be non-smokers

Tummy Tuck Procedure

Tummy tuck surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia.

Most tummy tuck procedures begin with liposuction to reduce excess fat accumulations. The waist, hips and pubic area are commonly suctioned. This is followed by the creation of a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen. This incision passes low over the pubic area and angles up toward the hips. The shape and length of the incision are determined by the aesthetic needs of the patient.

The skin is lifted off the abdomen toward the ribs. The separated abdominal muscles are sutured together. Then the excess skin and fat are removed from the lower abdomen. Typically, all the skin and underlying fat from the navel to the pubic area are removed. An opening is made for the navel; the umbilicus is then sutured into position. A temporary drain may be required for excess fluid to be removed during recovery. All incisions are sutured and bandaged.

Mini Tummy Tuck Procedure

This tummy tuck procedure is for patients in whom excess skin and fat are confined to the areas below the navel. The muscle wall is not tightened; a short incision is made just over the pubic hairline, and excess skin is cut away. The incision is then closed with sutures. The navel is not repositioned.

In fact few women are candidates for the mini-abdominoplasty, as nearly every mom has separated rectus muscles and problems with skin and fat above the umbilicus as well as below.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Abdominoplasty recovery depends on the patient and the technique. Patients who undergo a full abdominoplasty generally take a month off from work. Others with physically demanding jobs may need to take longer. Dr. Pugash will give you an assessment of the time you will need based on your surgical plan.

You will experience some bruising, swelling, and tenderness for several weeks after your surgery. Dr Pugash prescribes appropriate pain medication to allow his patients to have the easiest possible recovery.


If you are struggling with excess skin and fatty tissue in the abdominal area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pugash to explore your tummy tuck options. During your consultation, Dr. Pugash will also discuss other body contouring treatments, such as liposuction and mommy makeover in Vancouver. To book an appointment and begin your aesthetic transformation, call Dr. Pugash’s plastic surgery Vancouver offices at (604) 522-5199.