Difference Between Full and Mini Abdominoplasty

You’ve more than likely heard the term “tummy tuck.” This is the layman’s term for an abdominoplasty.

But did you know that there is both a full and a mini version? Which, of course, may leave you wondering about the difference between full and mini abdominoplasty procedures.

Many people take advantage of these surgical procedures for a variety of reasons.

The Role of An Abdominoplasty Procedure

There’s no arguing that a tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat to give patients a smoother and flatter abdomen. For many people, this is motivation enough.

Yet the procedure also involves the reconstruction of the abdominal wall musculature to tighten weak or distended muscles. This is especially helpful for women post-pregnancy who experience diastasis recti – a condition where the abdominal muscles stretch and separate to accommodate the expanding uterus. The result is a distended abdomen that no amount of diet or exercise can alleviate.

Removing excess fat and skin while tightening and toning abdominal muscles improves posture and can also help those who struggle with chronic back pain.

And while an abdominoplasty procedure is not meant to be a weight loss plan, bariatric patients who undergo abdominoplasty to reduce the size of their stomach are more likely to keep the weight off. This is an important factor in managing diabetes and fending off insulin resistance.

So then when do you need a full abdominoplasty, and when will a mini be sufficient?

The Difference Between Full and Mini Abdominoplasty




Without getting too technical, a mini abdominoplasty procedure only addresses issues from the belly button down.

That means when the issue is diastasis, as mentioned above, or other upper abdomen laxity, this calls for a full abdominoplasty. This procedure lifts the flap up to the xiphoid process and costal margin (rib cage and sternum) to repair diastasis from top to bottom. Umbilical hernias can also be repaired during this procedure.

On the other hand, if there is no laxity above the belly button and only skin excess and ptosis of the mons (extra weight/skin and bulging in the pubic area) below it, a mini can be performed. In the case of this procedure, the upper abdomen can also be suctioned, provided there is no laxity or diastasis.


How Are the Two Procedures Alike?

Both the full and mini abdominoplasty procedures are drainless. In the earlier days of tummy tucks, cumbersome drains were part of recovery. Patients had to contend with two or three drains and wires coming off their bodies. There was also concern around the possibility of bacteria entering through the portal entries created by these drains and hoses.

Fortunately, those days are gone.

In addition, each of the procedures utilizes a nerve block for post op pain. Long-lasting anesthetic drugs ease some of the pain during early recovery by blocking the nerves of the abdomen during the procedure. The patient wakes up with the area numbed, and continues to feel some level of pain relief for up to three days. While it doesn’t eliminate the pain, it greatly reduces reliance on narcotics.

The surgeries generally run 2.5 – 3.5 hours to complete and it’s not unusual for a skilled plastic surgeon to recommend the addition of liposuction of the flanks in both procedures.

Patients are able to shower the day after their abdominoplasty and those with desk jobs will only need to take one to two weeks off for recovery. They can engage in light cardio after two weeks, light resistance training after four weeks, and can return to exercises involving the core such as planks and squats in about six weeks time.

Are You Considering a Tummy Tuck?

Now that you know the difference between full and mini abdominoplasty procedures, you’re better educated on which one is right for you.

Ultimately though, you’ll need to consult with a surgeon to determine the most effective plan for your needs.

So contact us for a free consultation. We’ll guide you on the most effective route to a firmer, flatter belly that will restore your confidence.