Are you unable to get rid of that excess skin or stubborn belly pooch, even years after losing weight or giving birth? If so, chances are that getting a tummy tuck may have crossed your mind.

Also known as abdominoplasty, this cosmetic surgery is an effective way to create a flat and slim tummy area. It can be a stand-alone procedure, performed alongside a complementary procedure like liposuction or a thigh lift, or part of the famous “mommy makeover” that combines multiple techniques into one personalized procedure.

The usual tummy tuck candidate is near their ideal body weight and in whom diet and exercise fail to improve their protruding or sagging abdomen. This is usually because their problem isn’t just excess fat in the abdominal area but also sagging skin and separated abdominal muscles. If that sounds like you, then you may benefit from a tummy tuck.

But which tummy tuck procedure should you choose: a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck? Here’s what each is all about to help you decide.

The Full Tummy Tuck

A full tummy tuck is also referred to as complete abdominoplasty. This technique aims to improve the appearance of the entire abdomen, from just below the ribcage to the pubic area. It is the more extensive of these two abdominoplasties, requiring larger and multiple incisions and a longer recovery.

During a full tummy tuck, Dr. Vasisht makes an incision above the pubic area that runs from hip to hip. A second incision is made around the belly button. The skin is then lifted up to reveal the abdominal muscles and connective tissues. Dr. Vasisht repairs the separated abdominal muscles with stitches and performs liposuction if necessary.

To complete the procedure, the skin is pulled down and excess tissue trimmed away. This sometimes makes it necessary to create a new belly button hole in the skin before suturing everything together. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes two to five hours to complete.

Benefits of a Full Tummy Tuck

Most of our tummy tuck patients at South Shore Plastic Surgery are candidates for the full tummy tuck. That’s because most people have excess skin and muscle laxity over the entire abdominal region. Even though this technique involves more incisions and downtime, it offers many benefits that make it an appealing choice:

It corrects the entire abdomen

A full tummy tuck is called so for a reason: it slims and flattens the entire abdominal region. This is the primary benefit of choosing this procedure over a mini tummy tuck.

Your posture and back pain may improve

If you have poor posture or suffer from back pain, you may see some improvement thanks to tighter abdominal muscles.

It provides other health benefits

The tightening of the abdominal muscles has also been found to be helpful in those with urinary incontinence. Your surgeon can also perform hernia repair during this procedure, which is another bonus.

The Mini Tummy Tuck

The mini tummy tuck, or partial abdominoplasty, is a simpler and less invasive version of a tummy tuck. The goal of this procedure is to address problems only in the lower abdomen, or just below the belly button. So, if you only have a small pooch in your lower abdomen, you may be a candidate for this less extensive, simplified tummy tuck.

During a mini tummy tuck, Dr. Vasisht makes one smaller incision above the pubic region — usually no greater than eight inches. Excess skin is removed and fat is extracted with liposuction to contour the lower abdomen. The incision is then closed with sutures. In some cases, Dr. Vasisht will also reposition the belly button during a mini tummy tuck.

It’s important to note that surgeons do not typically tighten abdominal muscles during a mini tummy tuck. This step is usually not necessary for patients who are candidates for this procedure. While the scar from this procedure is usually shorter than the one from a complete abdominoplasty, that isn’t necessarily always the case — incision length depends on how much skin needs to be removed, not on the type of surgery performed.

Benefits of a Mini Tummy Tuck

Not everyone needs to undergo a complete abdominoplasty to improve their midsection. The mini tummy tuck can work wonders on those with a simple pooch problem. Here are some of the benefits that are worth considering when deciding to get this procedure:

Fewer and smaller incisions

As a general rule, surgeons make one small incision just above the pubic area when performing a mini tummy tuck. This means less prominent scarring.

A shorter recovery time

A typical mini tummy tuck does not involve tightening the abdominal muscles or multiple incisions, which can significantly shorten recovery time, usually about two weeks compared to four to six weeks after a full tummy tuck.

What About Extended Abdominoplasty?

An extended abdominoplasty is a full tummy tuck plus a lateral thigh lift. Many of our patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, especially after bariatric surgery, have loose and excess tissue in the entire lower body region. For them, an extended abdominoplasty can help slim down not only the abdomen but also the flanks and lateral tights.

The procedure involves making an incision above the pubic area and all around the lower back. Excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen and flanks and the skin is trimmed and sutured together. Abdominal muscles usually need to be tightened when performing this procedure. The extended technique can be a wonderful, even life-changing, option for the right candidate.

Need Help Deciding Which Tummy Tuck Is Right for You?

If you believe you could benefit from a tummy tuck but don’t know which technique would work best, contact South Shore Plastic Surgery. Dr. Vasisht and our expert team are here to help you make an informed decision and guide you through the surgery process. We’re committed to providing individualized care to all our New Jersey clients. Call us today at 856-784-2639 or book your appointment here.