Which Type of Tummy Tuck is Right for me?

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Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon


Which Type of Tummy Tuck is Right for me?

Many people with loose skin or excess fat on their abdominal region tend to feel conscious particularly when wearing certain outfits or when at the pool or beach. While exercise and regular dieting may help, they are not always enough to address the problem of a protruding or shapeless belly. A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that is designed to alleviate this problem once and for all. Plastic surgeons work to remove the loose skin and excess fat from the abdominal area. They also weaken separated abdominal muscles to result in a firmer and flatter belly profile. If you have considered undergoing this type of plastic surgery treatment, it is important to understand the different options available.

1. Mini Tummy Tuck

This is a less invasive type of tummy tuck that is designed for patients who have mild skin laxity and abdominal protrusion well below the belly button. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will create a horizontal incision above the pubic line that is about 4 to 8 inches long. This is about the same size as a C-section scar. In fact, for women who have already have a C-section before, the plastic surgeon may use the same incision to perform the mini-abdominoplasty. The surgeon will use this incision to remove excess skin and fat in the lower abdominal area. Since this procedure is less invasive, it requires a lower recovery duration compared to a full tummy tuck. 

2. Full Tummy Tuck

A full tummy tuck is also known as traditional or standard abdominoplasty. This type of abdominoplasty is used to contour both the lower and upper abdomen. It is suitable for people with moderate, weakened abdominal muscle or excessive skin. During a full tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will administer anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety. The surgeon will then create a horizontal incision running between the belly button and the pubic hairline. This incision will be used to lift excess abdominal skin and repair weakened abdominal muscles. A second incision is also created around the navel in order to remove excess skin from the upper abdomen area. Since this procedure is more extensive than a mini tummy tuck, it requires a longer recovery duration. 

3. Extended Tummy Tuck

An extended tummy tuck surgery deals with several parts of the body. It is more of a full tummy tuck surgery, except that it recontours the hips, lateral thigh, and flanks. It can work for both men and women who have overall good health but have unwanted excessive skin sagging at the abdomen, hips, and lower backsides. An extended contours the entire midsection by removing hanging skin and excess fat from the upper and lower abdomen, thighs, and flanks. It is done through a horizontal incision that stretches across the lower abdomen and around the hips. A vertical incision may also be required in order to attain the desired results. This type of tummy tuck is usually recommended for massive weight loss patients and entails a prolonged recovery duration compared to other abdominoplasty procedures.

4. Reverse Tummy Tuck

A reverse tummy tuck is a modified technique that focuses on the upper abdominal region. This occurs when you have loose skin on the upper abdomen that drapes over the lower abdomen. It is performed through incisions on the bra line to remove excess fat and skin from the upper abdomen. A reverse tummy tuck is typically performed together with a breast lift procedure. This procedure can also be combined with liposuction surgery to remove any unwanted fat deposits from the entire midsection region. Since it only addresses the upper abdominal section, the recovery period is shorter within a week or a few days.

5. Non-surgical tummy tuck

Non-surgical tummy tuck procedures are recommended for patients who have fairly good skin laxity and a minimal amount of abdominal distortion. This procedure is also ideal for anyone who is afraid to have open surgery. It is much simpler to perform and requires a minimal recovery duration with no risk of scarring or other complications associated with traditional surgery. Plastic surgeons have a number of techniques that they may use to perform this type of abdominoplasty, including BodyTite. If you are interested in this type of procedure, make sure to discuss the options with your selected tummy tuck surgeon. 


Tummy tuck procedures generally aim to improve the body’s shape and contours to bring about the desired results. While most patients undergo a full tummy tuck, (since it is among the most performed surgeries in the U.S), there are other patients who can simply achieve their results through a mini, extended, reverse, or non-surgical procedure. Though they differ in certain ways, all these are professionally proved to work. It, therefore, is upon you to carefully select the best method after serious consideration from your surgeon.  

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