Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a term that describes a procedure that contours the abdomen. There are many different variations of the tummy tuck that are commonly performed by plastic surgeons. One way that tummy tucks can be categorized is as a “full” abdominoplasty or as a “mini” abdominoplasty. When discussing tummy tuck with patients they will sometimes specify a “full” or a “mini” abdominoplasty. There is a very wide anatomic variation in patients that present for tummy tuck. Plastic surgeons base the recommendation of “full” or “mini” abdominoplasty on the patient’s anatomy, and not the level of improvement the patient desires. In other words, a “full” abdominoplasty is not chosen because a large improvement is desired nor is a “mini” abdominoplasty desired when a small improvement is desired. Rather, the “full” or the “mini” abdominoplasty is recommended based on the patient’s anatomy. In some patients the “full” abdominoplasty is indicated and recommended. In other patients, the “mini” abdominoplasty is indicated and recommended. In other patients, neither the “full” or the “mini” abdominoplasty is indicated, and another procedure altogether is recommended, such as liposuction.

There are many variations of the tummy tuck that are recommended to patients seeking improvement in abdominal shape. The ideal candidate for the “full” abdominoplasty is the patient with excess skin above and below the belly button. If there is no extra skin above the belly button, the “full” abdominoplasty is probably not indicated. If there is extra skin and fat below the belly button only, then the “mini” abdominoplasty is probably indicated.

Some patients have extra fat and skin below the belly button and have extra fat without extra skin above the belly button. There are several ways to treat this type of concern that does not fall into the standard “full” or “mini” procedures. One technique to improve this type of patient is to perform a “mini” abdominoplasty to correct the lower abdomen and liposuction to treat the area above the belly button. As a side note, the area above the belly button contributes to the blood supply of the “mini” abdominoplasty flap, so this area, if treated with liposuction, is addressed with caution. In the event many options are available, the procedure performed is the choice of the patient as long as it is within reason.

In summary, “full” and “mini’ abdominoplasties, as well as variations of both techniques, are used to improve the shape of the abdomen. The procedure that is recommended is highly dependent on the patient’s anatomy.

To make an appointment for a free abdominoplasty consultation, call Herring Plastic Surgery at 910.486.9093.