Full, Extended & Mini Tummy Tuck: What’s the Difference & Which Is Right for You?

Gilbert, AZ Tummy Tuck

I can honestly say that none of the patients I’ve consulted with who were considering a tummy tuck at my Gilbert or Scottsdale, AZ practices ever preferred a more invasive option if they had a choice between a full or mini tummy tuck. That’s just human nature. But my job as a plastic surgeon is to recommend the procedure that will produce the best results.

That a mini tummy tuck is a tempting option is no surprise, but it’s not the right choice for everyone. I perform abdominoplasty—the clinical name for a tummy tuck—using the technique that is correct for each patient. In most cases, a full tummy tuck is the appropriate path. But some patients may need an extended tummy tuck or circumferential abdominoplasty.

In this blog post, I’ll briefly describe how each of these procedures is performed and explain why I’ll recommend one approach versus another depending on the patient’s physical condition. My goal is always to minimize the length and number of incisions while still removing the amount of skin necessary to create results my patients will love.

Josh Olson MD - Before and After - Tummy Tuck

The women and men who get tummy tuck surgery using any of these techniques are almost universally willing to trade having an incision for removing unsightly excess skin that makes them self-conscious about their appearances.

What Tummy Tuck Surgery Is Right for You?

A tummy tuck’s goal is to create a flatter abdominal area by removing excess skin and, in some cases, repairing separated abdominal muscles that can cause a “belly pooch” even if the skin is tight. The correct surgical technique to achieve this goal, as you might expect, depends on the amount of excess skin and if it extends beyond the abdominal area. You can see more of my patients’ tummy tuck before-and-after photos in our photo gallery.

Here are the different options:

Mini Tummy Tuck

Even though some patients can benefit from a mini tummy tuck, it’s fairly uncommon. That’s because the procedure is limited to patients concerned only about the area below the umbilicus—the bellybutton. The advantage of a mini tummy tuck is that it requires a much shorter incision than a traditional tummy tuck, and no incision is made around the belly button. Because it’s less invasive, the recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is also shorter.

Full Tummy Tuck

This is what’s considered the traditional tummy tuck. It’s often combined with liposuction and a breast lift as part of a Mommy Makeover for women who aren’t planning to have any more children. During a full tummy tuck, I make a horizontal incision that stretches from hip to hip just above the pubic area, where bikini briefs can conceal it. Another incision around the bellybutton is necessary. After removing the excess skin and pulling the remaining skin down, I create a new, natural-looking umbilicus. This is a popular procedure not only for moms but also for men and women whose abdominal skin has lost its elasticity due to age or weight loss.

Extended Tummy Tuck

This procedure may be called different things by different plastic surgeons, such as a belt lipectomy, body lift, or as I mentioned earlier, a circumferential abdominoplasty. What these procedures all have in common is that the incision extends along the back—circumferentially—above the buttocks to remove excess skin on the outer hips and buttocks. Patients who are good candidates for this type of tummy tuck have typically lost a significant amount of weight either through lifestyle changes or bariatric surgery. They may have other post weight-loss plastic surgery procedures performed, too, such as an arm lift or body lift.

If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon in Gilbert, AZ, to perform a tummy tuck, use our online contact form to request a consultation or call our office at (480) 466-7355 (Gilbert, AZ) to schedule an appointment.


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