Flabby, saggy skin and stubborn fat deposits are inevitable when we age, gain weight, or bear children. Sometimes, a healthy diet and regular exercise are enough to get rid of them. But there are times when even the most stringent fitness regimen won’t work. Thankfully, there are two cosmetic procedures that can help address these issues – a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck.

But how do you know which one to get? Here, we help you understand the difference between these two procedures, so you can decide which one is best for you.

Tummy Tuck

A full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure for repairing loose muscles and removing excess skin in the lower and middle abdominal area. It’s done under general anesthesia and usually takes around five hours.

A horizontal incision is made between the hip bones along the bikini line. The length of the incision varies depending on the amount of excess skin or the extent of the muscle repair. After the incision is made, loose abdominal muscles are pulled together to tighten them. If muscles got separated during pregnancy, these are also fixed. Then loose skin is stretched down, excess parts are removed, and the incision is closed. In some cases, liposuction is also done to remove fat deposits and enhance the results.

Since it’s a major surgery, a full tummy tuck takes several weeks for complete healing. Physical activities are restricted for about four to six weeks. There will also be swelling and discomfort during this time. Additionally, some people may experience slight numbness and bruising around the surgical area. Blood clots, bleeding, and infection may also happen, although they are rare complications.

Mini Tummy Tuck

A mini tummy tuck is a partial abdominoplasty focused on removing loose skin and tightening muscles in the lower abdominal area. It’s less invasive than a full tummy tuck and may be done under either local or general anesthesia. The entire procedure usually takes no more than two hours.

The procedure is similar to a full abdominoplasty but smaller in scale. A small incision of about four to eight inches long is made above the pubic bone. Loose muscles in the lower abdomen are tightened, and the loose skin is stretched down. Excess skin is removed, and the incision is closed. Liposuction may also be done to remove small pockets of fat.

The recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is around one to three weeks. There will also be some discomfort and swelling, but other complications are quite rare. A thin scar will be left, but this is usually hidden along the bikini line and becomes barely visible after time.

Which One Should You Get?

Generally, people get a full tummy tuck if they have loose skin both above and below the navel. If the loose skin is only below the navel, a mini tummy tuck would suffice. However, there are other factors that come into play.

A full tummy tuck may be recommended if you were formerly obese and lost a large amount of weight, leaving you with lots of loose skin. It may also be the ideal treatment if you have had multiple pregnancies that resulted in stretched or torn abdominal muscles. Older people with greatly diminished skin elasticity are also considered for a full tummy tuck.

If you’re still within your normal weight range but have minor skin sagging in the lower abdomen, a mini tummy tuck might suffice. This less invasive procedure will be enough to remove excess fat caused by pregnancy, weight loss, or aging. Take note, though, that you have to be at around 10% of your ideal body weight to qualify for a partial abdominoplasty. You should also have had a stable weight for at least six months and have good skin elasticity.

Consult a Reliable Surgeon

Each person has a different body type, body shape, and health conditions. All these must be considered when choosing the best treatment. So it’s always best to consult your doctor before deciding on the procedure you want to undergo. Both a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck should be done by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Make sure you consult and get treatment only from a reliable surgeon in a well-equipped facility.