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Michael C. Fasching, M.D.

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Full vs. Mini Tummy Tuck – Knowing the Difference

Submitted by Dr. Fasching on Tue 04/03/2018 - 15:44

Spring is upon us and the reality of a summer wardrobe is fast approaching. Unfortunately, for many, the thought of wearing clothes which accentuate their abdominal contour is not pleasant. They are looking for a way to correct what diet and exercise cannot.

Stubborn fat or hanging skin (or both) eliminates clothing selections which cling tightly to the skin. Bathing suits are chosen more for hiding a tummy bulge than revealing a sleek contour. And the limited summer dress selection is not at all appealing.

Fortunately, there are multiple body contouring procedure options to help you achieve the summer body you deserve. Two popular choices are a mini and full abdominoplasty.

Desired Results

Warmer temperatures call for lighter clothing and fewer layers. However, if weight fluctuations and pregnancy have changed your once youthful body composition, summer attire may not be something you are excited for.

When your plastic surgeon removes excess skin and stubborn fat tissue, self-esteem and confidence can experience a massive boost. Clothing choices will increase as well as social activities. The parties you once avoided will be on your calendar because you will look great in the appropriate apparel.

Your tummy will be taut and slender, allowing for you to walk into a room with self-confidence and perhaps turn a head or two.

What is Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

A tummy tuck is an aesthetic surgical procedure which is designed to make the abdomen firmer and sleeker. The procedure involves removing excess skin and fat from the mid to lower abdominal region to tighten the fascia and muscle of the abdominal wall. The surgery is sought by patients who struggle with sagging tissues after childbearing or losing considerable weight.

A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure so patients considering the procedure should have all the necessary information available. An abdominoplasty consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon will answer many patient questions and concerns.

There are many factors to consider including candidature, overall health, recovery, realistic expectations, potential complications, and risks. These considerations are why choosing your plastic surgeon wisely is so important.

Mini-Tummy Tuck

The mini-tummy tuck uses a short incision at or above the pubic area. It is a modified abdominoplasty designed to remove excess skin and tighten the tummy below the belly button. The ideal candidate is in good physical condition and has aesthetic issues in the lower abdominal area and are not experiencing excess fat and skin in the mid to upper abdominal region.

The incisions are smaller and less noticeable than those used for a full abdominoplasty. Often, the scarring is limited to below the bikini line. Although the risks and scarring are much less than those of a full tummy tuck, it does not address the aesthetic issues of patients who require more attention to the mid and upper abdomen.

Mini-Tummy Tuck Candidates

The ideal candidates are patients with localized excess fat or skin in the lower abdominal area. Their abdominal muscles are also in good shape and don’t require surgery to correct the abdominal wall. Best candidates for this modified technique are in good shape but plateau with diet and exercise before achieving their aesthetic goals.

Mini-Tummy Tuck Expectations

Patients must understand that with surgery comes scarring. The same is true with a tummy tuck – mini or full. However, scarring is more concealable with a mini-tummy tuck than with a full abdominoplasty and can be hidden beneath a bathing suit or low riding pants.

The procedure will also help diminish or remove stretch marks below the belly button while improving the shape and definition in the lower abdomen. A tight, taut belly looks and feels better and helps the patient achieve their body contouring goals.

The surgery is often done concurrently with liposuction to remove excess fat pads that don’t respond to exercise and diet. Because the surgery involves a shorter incision, healing and recovery are shorter as well, and with time, the scar will soften and diminish into a fine line.

After Care and Recovery

Although a mini-abdominoplasty requires a shorter incision, the procedure is still surgery and recovery should be addressed with attention and care. You will receive specific recovery instructions which should be followed to the letter to ensure proper healing. The recovery period is shorter than a full abdominoplasty, and the results should be visible once the swelling subsides. This should be within two to four weeks.

Full Tummy Tuck

For patients who require more correction in the mid-abdominal area, a full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is best suited. Here the surgeon makes an incision from hip bone to hip bone and then up to the belly button.

They then peel back the skin, remove any excess fat and pull the abdominal muscles tight and suture them together. The surgeon then removes any excess skin, leaving a tighter and smoother abdomen.

Although there are longer incisions than with the mini-tummy tuck, there is a more extensive correction. Patients who deal with hanging skin and fat tissue look to this surgery to improve body contour.

Full Tummy Tuck Candidates

Patients who seek to improve their abdominal shape from the mid-abdomen down to the pubic area should consider a full abdominoplasty. These patients usually have lost considerable weight or have had multiple pregnancies which have stretched their abdominal muscles to the point where they cannot return to their normal shape.

Excess skin also results along with fat pads that are resistant to diet and exercise. A full tummy tuck will improve these aesthetic issues and help the patient achieve their body contouring goals.

Full Tummy Tuck Expectations

Because there is more correction with a full tummy tuck, a longer recovery is necessary. After surgery, you will wear a surgical garment which will support your incisions and help them heal. You should also plan to have someone to help you with your daily responsibilities because you will be unable to perform them completely for the first couple of weeks.

Results will not be visible until the swelling subsides. This may take several weeks depending on how well you heal. You can manage your pain and discomfort if you follow your surgeons after-surgery care instructions. Expect to be away from your normal routine for at least three weeks with extensive exercise not resuming for a month or longer.

When the swelling subsides, you should see a tighter and smoother tummy. Your incisions will scar but should fade to a thin line over time.

After Care and Recovery

You will receive detailed instruction on how to manage your recovery and heal properly. These instructions may change when you come in for follow up visits, to address any issues that may arise. So, to achieve the best results with the least risk for potential complications, it is well advised to follow your after-care instructions religiously.

These instructions include how to manage your incision care and refrain from heavy lifting and elevating your heart rate.


When deciding on which procedure is best for you, think about what you want the surgery to achieve. If you need extensive work because of hanging skin and tissue from the mid-abdominal area on down, a full tummy tuck is advisable. But, if you require an abbreviated version which addresses the lower abdomen and your abdominal muscles are in good shape, a mini-tummy tuck is probably best suited for you.

Whichever the case, the decision will become clearer when you meet with your surgeon for a tummy tuck consultation. Here you will be able to see what can and cannot be accomplished with your unique situation.

Abdominoplasty Consultation

An abdominoplasty consultation with Dr. Fasching is an opportunity to explore your options and expectations for the body contouring surgery. Also, it is a time to gather enough information to make an informed decision regarding this procedure.

Dr. Fasching will provide years of insight and experience to provide a stress-free consultation and develop a surgical plan which will deliver your desired outcome safely and efficiently. He will ask questions about your medical history and why you want the procedure. He will also take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Making Tummy Tuck a Success

After deciding on abdominoplasty, Dr. Fasching will set guidelines for you to follow and contribute to your tummy tuck success. He will detail preparation for the surgery designed to maintain your safety and health. He will also fully apprise you of what to expect on the day of surgery and the recovery which follows.

Preparation is as important as the surgical procedure itself. Come to the consultation with your questions written down and be keen on contributing to the surgical plan. These details are where proper preparation starts.

Why Dr. Fasching?

Minnesota native, Dr. Michael Fasching is a dual board-certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He also completed his Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and has been in private practice since 1989. He has been rated a Top Doctor since 1993 and included in the list of Top Doctors in America.

He has helped several Minnesota patients achieve improved body contours and facial beauty with procedures like tummy tuck, rhinoplasty, facelift, liposuction and breast augmentation.

To learn more about abdominoplasty and whether a mini or full tummy tuck is best for you, call Dr. Fasching at (763) 577-7500 or schedule a consultation today.