Which Type of Tummy Tuck is Right for me?

Tummy tuck exists in various forms, each performed differently but (in the end) leads to the desired outcome. Before a tummy tuck surgery is performed, there are some factors to consider. These include the amount of skin sagging the patient has and the amount of excess fat that needs to be removed. Another important consideration before surgery is the type of tummy tuck that is best suited to achieve the desired results. Patients can generally choose from the following types of abdominoplasty:

1. Mini Tummy Tuck

A mini tummy tuck surgery is a less invasive treatment compared to a full tummy tuck. It is a modified technique that targets the lower abdomen area. This type of abdominoplasty is best suited for individuals with a slender body and does not address the belly button or upper abdomen areas. If you are bothered by a pooch of excess skin or fat in the lower abdomen, this is the tummy tuck treatment of choice. The plastic surgeon will create an incision between the hip bones at the bikini line, tighten the muscles underneath and remove the excess skin. In some cases, a mini tummy tuck surgery is performed together with liposuction for more complete results. This surgery leaves behind a small scar that takes a few weeks to heal.

2. Full Tummy Tuck

A full tummy tuck surgery is performed on patients with excessive and moderate skin and fat to eliminate. Otherwise known as standard or traditional abdominoplasty, it aims to restore a firmer and smoother abdominal contour that may have been lost to weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy, or childbearing. The plastic surgeon will start by administering anesthesia to increase the patient’s comfort and safety. A horizontal incision will then be created above the pubic line and excess skin and fat removed. The surgeon will also strengthen weakened abdominal muscles. Another incision will be created around the navel and used to re-contour the upper abdomen area and reposition the belly button. A full tummy tuck has a long recovery period compared to a mini tummy tuck because it is a more invasive treatment. 

3. Extended Tummy Tuck

An extended tummy tuck procedure is performed on patients with very large amounts of fat and skin to eliminate. It addresses cosmetic issues affecting the hips, flanks, and lateral thigh. More of a tummy tuck, an extended tummy tuck works on both men and women with excessive, unwanted sagging skin at the lower back sides, abdomen, and hips. The surgeon tightens the weakened muscles and removes the excess skin for a firmer, smoother, and even body shape. Extended tummy tuck is performed through a horizontal incision that goes across the lower abdomen and the hips. A vertical incision may also need to be made to enable the surgeon to reach stubborn fat on the sides. The scar left post-surgery is larger compared to a full tummy tuck. This procedure also necessitates a longer recovery duration. 

4. Non-surgical Tummy Tuck

A non-surgical tummy tuck is designed for individuals with very little excess skin and fat to eliminate. It does not involve any invasive procedures which makes it suitable for people who are reluctant to undergo an invasive abdominoplasty procedure. It is performed through a lift effect that can be long lasting depending on a patient’s age and overall health. Although it helps some patients eliminate the slightest pooch, it is not recommended for people who need to get rid of a large amount of excess skin and fat. The outcome of this treatment can be maintained through regular exercise and diet. 

5. Reverse Tummy Tuck

This is a modified technique used to eliminate excess skin and fat from the upper abdominal area that drapes over the lower abdominal area. It is conducted via an incision below the breast line where excess fat is removed from the upper abdomen and channeled to the breasts. This shows that it can be performed together with breast augmentation surgery. Reverse tummy tuck can also be performed along with liposuction surgery to achieve more complete results. It takes a shorter period of time for the resulting scar to heal and it can be covered using a bra, or a swimsuit.


Abdominoplasty is one of the most common cosmetic treatments in the US. Most people undergo this procedure to undo negative aesthetic changes resulting from pregnancy, childbearing, and weight loss or weight gain. It is important to note though that while the full tummy tuck is the most commonly performed procedure, it is not the only option. You should take the time to discuss your concerns with a board-certified plastic surgeon and identify the best-suited procedure for you.