What Type Of Tummy Tuck Surgery Is Right For You?

Tummy Tuck Surgery

Are you thinking about getting a tummy tuck to reduce that tummy bulge you haven’t been able to exercise away?  A tummy tuck is a wonderful way to tighten your midsection and restore your figure.  However, it’s important to find out what type of tummy tuck is right for you, because there are several options to choose from. 

What Exactly Is A Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that firms and flattens the abdomen by removing loose, sagging skin and excess fat.  The procedure also repairs weak or separated abdominal muscles to give the abdomen a sculpted look. 

Tummy tuck surgery is common among women that have had one or multiple children.  Pregnancy and childbirth often cause extra skin and fat to accumulate in the abdominal area, and can also lead to a condition known as diastasis recti, which is the separation of the abdominal muscles.   When the muscles separate it creates a belly bulge which unfortunately does not respond to diet and exercise, and can only be fixed with a tummy tuck.  

Tummy Tuck Techniques

There are three main types of tummy tuck surgery, the mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, and extended tummy tuck.   Let’s take a closer look at the options.

Full Tummy Tuck

A full or classic tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that involves removing excess skin from the abdominal area and tightening the underlying muscles.  Liposuction may also be done to remove surplus fat.

Tummy Tuck Surgery

A full tummy tuck is typically done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation.

The incision for the procedure is made just above the pubic area and usually extends from one hip to the other, to facilitate optimal removal of excess skin and subcutaneous fat.  A second incision may be made around the navel, to remove loose skin in the region of the upper abdomen.   The length of the incisions varies depending on the amount of skin and fat that needs to be removed.  Stretched abdominal muscles are also tightened during the procedure, to get rid of the bulge below the abdomen.


It usually takes 1-2 weeks to recover from a full tummy tuck.  After surgery patients may experience swelling and bruising that can last for up to 2 weeks.  A compression garment is worn to help minimize swelling, and support the abdomen during the healing process.   The abdominal area will feel tight in the first few days after surgery, so patients may find walking difficult during this time.

Mini Tummy Tuck

The mini tummy tuck is less extensive than the full tummy tuck because it focuses on the lower abdominal area below the navel.  The incision for the mini tummy tuck is shorter, but is also made just above the bikini line.  The surgeon will then repair the abdominal muscles, and tighten the skin and trim away any loose skin below the belly button.   However, the navel is not disturbed.  


The recovery time for a mini tummy tuck may be less than the downtime required for a full tummy tuck.  There may be mild bruising and swelling in the lower belly after surgery, but these symptoms usually subside within 1-2 weeks.  Most patients can return to work about one week after a mini tummy tuck.

The Extended Tummy Tuck

The extended tummy tuck is very similar to the full tummy tuck, but the incisions extend further as they wrap around the abdomen and go down to the hips.  This allows the surgeon to remove more skin from the abdomen and hips.  The incision for the extended tummy tuck is longer, so the resulting scar will be more visible.

Recovery from an extended tummy tuck can take several weeks.

What Type Of Tummy Tuck Surgery Is Right For Me?

The tummy tuck that’s the right fit for you will depend on the amount of skin and fat that you need removed from the abdominal area, as well as your desired goals.

A mini tummy tuck is usually recommended for patients that are at or near their ideal weight, and have minimal excess skin and fat in the area below the navel.   However, this procedure does not address the upper abdominal contour.   So, if you are already in good shape but have a stubborn belly pooch that can’t be reduced with diet and exercise, a mini tummy tuck may be the appropriate option for you.  

A full tummy tuck is ideal for people that have excess skin and fatty tissue above and below the belly button.  The procedure tones the entire midsection, and therefore provides satisfying results for men and women wanting a smoother, flatter abdomen.  

The full tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that is frequently performed, because many people with loose abdominal skin can’t achieve the results they desire with a mini tummy tuck.  The tummy tuck can therefore be customized depending on what you need corrected. 

An extended tummy tuck is appropriate for people that have undergone significant weight loss, and are looking to create a firmer midsection.  The procedure gets rid of the loose skin that may extend along the sides and flanks after weight loss. 

In order to determine which tummy tuck surgery is right for you, its best to visit a plastic surgeon for an evaluation.  The plastic surgeon will decide which tummy tuck technique would be most effective, based on your specific goals.  Before undergoing tummy tuck surgery it’s important to make sure you understand which approach your surgeon is going to use and why.

A tummy tuck is not ideal for everyone, doctors typically advise women not to have a tummy tuck until they have finished having children.

Would you like to learn more about tummy tuck surgery?  Search our directory to find a practice.

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