Only about 20 percent of abdominoplasty patients make good candidates for a mini-tummy tuck. But this procedure has many benefits for the right people. Much misunderstood by the general public, the term "mini" does not mean the surgery leads to less optimum muscle tightening or skin removal than the standard method. In fact, the results are pretty similar.

How does a full tummy tuck compare to a mini-tummy tuck? Who makes a good candidate for this procedure? We explore these questions and provide some answers, below. Of course, for the method to suit your needs, schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Zenn, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Raleigh, NC.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

Before examining the differences between types of tummy tucks and what a mini-tummy tuck offers, let's first discuss abdominoplasty's overall expectations and benefits. When you talk to a plastic surgeon about this procedure, you likely seek a more attractive, streamlined, and slimmer abdomen. Maybe you want your clothing to fit better, too. Overall, patients want to feel more comfortable in their bodies and confident in their appearance.

A tummy tuck can help you achieve these goals. As part of the procedure, your plastic surgeon eliminates sagging skin and may tighten your abdominal muscles. This procedure does not eliminate fat. 

After surgery and as swelling subsides, you will have a flatter midsection that appears more toned. You will also notice better results from healthy weight control and exercise.


Both men and women benefit from abdominoplasty, especially those who have experienced dramatic weight loss or pregnancy. An ideal candidate is a non-smoker in good health who maintains a healthy weight range. Understanding the procedure, what to expect during and after surgery, and how your body will heal is essential. You need to understand capabilities and limitations of your surgery, too.

Typical candidates include those for whom one or more of the following statements are true:

  • You have lost weight from diet and exercise but still have a protruding, untoned abdomen. 
  • After pregnancy, you have sagging, stretched skin and lax abdominal muscles. 
  • After significant weight loss, your skin hangs loosely around your midsection. 
  • You have always had a "pot belly" despite being in good shape

Thanks to the skill and experience of your board-certified plastic surgeon, you can achieve a flatter and firmer abdomen. To better understand what to expect from the procedure, ask your plastic surgeon's office to review before-and-after pictures of past patients. You can also check these before-and-after images out on their website.

Types 0f Abdominoplasty Surgeries

There are several types of abdominoplasty surgeries. These include:

  • Classic tummy tuck 
  • Mini-tummy tuck 
  • Extended tummy tuck

Because no two patients' bodies or surgical goals are identical, abdominoplasty is individualized. In a consultation appointment, your plastic surgeon provides a physical examination to determine whether the surgery may work for you. They also review your health, medical history, and personal goals before discussing your options. For some, the best outcome can come from a classic procedure. Others will receive better results from a mini- or extended method.

Classic Tummy Tuck For The Upper and Lower Abdomen

A classic tummy tuck typically works best for patients with excess skin or bulk above and below their belly button. This surgical correction improves the appearance of the entire length of the abdominal wall. It typically requires a U-shaped or horizontal incision above the pubic mound, typically from one hip to the other. The resulting scar is still within the discreet area of a swimsuit bottom. This surgery sometimes involves a second incision around the navel to achieve the best results.

Benefits of this method include:

  • Flatter abdomen     
  • Smoother appearance of the tummy 
  • Less visible stretch marks 
  • Greater comfort in clothing 
  • More flattering clothing fit

Mini-Tummy Tuck for Lower Belly Improvement

A mini-tummy tuck involves less extensive surgery, as its name implies. The primary focus of this procedure is on the protruding lower belly, loose skin, and stretch marks beneath your belly button. For this technique, your plastic surgeon makes a single incision above the pubic mound, resulting in a thin linear scar six to eight inches long. They tighten your loose muscles (if necessary) and remove excess skin through this smaller opening.

Benefits of a mini-tummy tuck include:

  • Smoother, flatter abdomen 
  • Shorter surgery vs. full method 
  • Quicker recovery 
  • Thin, horizontal scar only six to eight inches in length 
  • A slimmer physique that looks better in swimsuits and clothing

Extended Tummy Tuck for The Full Abdomen and Flanks

For patients who have lost a lot of weight, this physical change leaves excess skin sagging or hanging around their whole mid-section. The same is true for many women after multiple pregnancies, along with significant abdominal muscle laxity. An extended abdominoplasty may provide the best outcome if these problems affect your appearance and self-confidence.

With this method, you can expect a longer incision. Still, most people can cover their scar with underwear, swimsuits, or clothing. The scar becomes less visible over time, and most people find the results are worth the scar.

Benefits of the extended method include:

  • Improved body shape 
  • Smoother, flatter abdomen 
  • Slimmer physique 
  • Better fit and comfort in clothing 
  • More visible results from physical exercise 

Other procedures we sometimes perform in conjunction with abdominoplasty include:
Facial fat grafting, Gynecomastia (breast reduction for men), Liposuction, and Mommy Makeover 
Schedule a Consultation with a Raleigh Plastic Surgery Expert

To learn whether one of these procedures will provide the results you seek, schedule a consultation with your Raleigh, NC Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Michael Zenn of Zenn Plastic Surgery. This consultation and review of our exceptional results shown in actual patients' before-and-after pictures can provide many of the answers you seek.

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