Expert Doctor

Mini Tummy Tuck

A mini tummy tuck is a type of abdominoplasty procedure for removing excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. The extra tissue may result from either pregnancy or significant weight loss. Many patients have trouble eliminating this extra tissue without cosmetic intervention as regular diet and exercise only help in dealing with laxity or looseness of the skin to a certain degree.  A mini tummy tuck creates a flatter and more youthful appearance. The mini tummy tuck incision is shorter than that of a regular tummy tuck so the scar that is produced is also shorter. Once the incision is made, the surgeon removes the extra skin and fat of the lower belly. This step can be combined with liposuction for contouring.

Am I a Good Candidate for a Mini Tummy Tuck?

IDEAL CANDIDATES for a mini tummy tuck include:

  • Patients that wants the extra tissue below the belly button removed such as women with loose skin and abdominal muscles that were stretched as a result of childbirth and now want to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall
  • Patients with  loose bellies even if they have lost all of their pregnancy weight
  • Patients with pockets of skin and fat in the lower abdomen
  • Patients who want the extra tissue below the belly button removed

On the other hand, patients who are NOT IDEAL CANDIDATES include:

  • Patients with unwanted fat and skin along the hips or flanks, as well as the upper abdomen, because a mini tummy tuck is only performed on the lower abdomen
  • Patients who want to tighten the skin above the belly button
  • Patients with an abdominal wall that protrudes significantly
  • A patient who is pregnant or is considering becoming pregnant
  • Smokers as smoking can hinder the healing process
  • Patients with a significant muscle separation of the rectus diastasis 

A mini tummy tuck deals with minimal to moderate amounts of loose or extra tissue. Likewise, the mini version also allows for a shorter/smaller incision than a regular tummy tuck. The type of tummy tuck a patient undergoes depends on their wishes and needs. Someone who has a lot of extra tissue and looseness will often need a regular tummy tuck to get the best results.

How is a Mini Tummy Tuck Performed?

Before making an incision and administering any general or local anesthesia, the doctor will mark the parts of the abdomen that will be treated during the surgery. Once the surgery begins, a small incision is made below the bikini line so concealing the scar under clothes is easier for the patient. The surgeon will then remove any excess skin and fat before tightening the abdominal muscle. Finally, the skin is shaped and re-draped over the abdomen. While the belly button is not directly worked on during the operation, the skin stretching and reshaping will improve its appearance.

Other Tummy Tuck Techniques

  • Full Tummy Tuck – A tummy tuck option that is suitable for both men and women with a moderate amount of excess skin in their midsection. The incision extends from hipbone to hipbone in order to allow maximum excess fat and skin removal. Liposuction removes the fat and the abdominal muscles are pulled and tightly secured. The belly button is usually repositioned in order to have a natural placement. 
  • Extended Tummy Tuck – This is for patients who need a major amount of skin tightening and body contouring as a result of major weight loss. An extended tummy tuck requires a longer incision that extends beyond the hips as well as another one that goes around the navel. Liposuction is used to remove fat and any excess skin is trimmed away and tightened. The belly button is also repositioned during an extended tummy tuck.

Combining Mini Tummy Tuck with Other Procedures

  • Patients looking for enhanced results can combine a mini tummy tuck with liposuction to get rid of unwanted fat.
  • Abdominoplasty can also be combined with multiple procedures in a treatment known as a “Mommy Makeover”. This treatment can include a tummy tuck, a breast lift/augmentation, liposuction and an arm or thigh lift to help a woman achieve her pre-pregnancy appearance.

What is the Cost of a Mini Tummy Tuck?

The cost of a mini tummy tuck depends on whether or not any other procedures are combined with the mini tummy tuck. The cost is higher if more work is done than just the mini tummy tuck. The cost can also vary due to anesthesia fees, the area of the country where the surgery is performed and any fees charged by the facility or the doctor. In general, the average cost of a mini tummy tuck is $5000-$10,000.

Recovery and Downtime

The RECOVERY period for a mini tummy tuck is approximately two weeks. Any pain and discomfort can be handled by pain medication. During this period, patients can return to work within 2 or 3 days but they are not allowed to do strenuous activities to avoid opening the surgical wound. In general, patients may resume vigorous activities and exercise after approximately one month.


The results of a mini tummy tuck are dramatic and are often seen right away. More changes will be seen over time as the swelling subsides and the scar fades away. Improvements will continue for six months to one year. Any scarring can normally be hidden by clothing thanks to the placement of the incision. Usually, the scarring heals nicely with the use of scar creams prescribed by the surgeon.

A mini tummy tuck is often enough to get rid of the excess fat and skin in the lower abdominal area. Follow-up procedures may be required if the patient has significant weight fluctuations or becomes pregnant again.

Limitations and Risks of Mini Tummy Tuck

The main LIMITATION of a mini tummy tuck is just how much tissue can be removed. Ideal candidates have a moderate amount of extra tissue located in the lower abdomen. Anyone that has a lot of extra tissue in the lower abdomen, or has it located in other areas of the body, is better off having a traditional tummy tuck.

There are a number of RISKS involved when having a mini tummy tuck:

  • Scar tissue
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Infection 
  • Skin necrosis due to poor circulation to the area (more common in smokers)
  • Hematoma or a collection of blood underneath the wound
  • Seroma or a collection of fluid under the skin

Consult with an Experienced Doctor 

A mini tummy tuck is a good option for patients who have trouble removing extra tissue in their stomach area. An appointment should be made with an experienced doctor for a thorough examination. The doctor can determine if the patient is a good candidate for a mini tummy tuck or if the patient can possibly lose the extra tissue through a combination of diet and exercise. Once the patient has been selected as an appropriate candidate for the procedure, the doctor can take the necessary steps to perform a mini tummy tuck.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - MA

Based on an exclusive interview with Beth Preminger, MD in New York, NY