Mini and a Full Tummy Tuck — What’s the Difference?

People confuse the words complement and compliment. Same with affect and effect.

For the patients of Dr. Barrera, there is some confusion about the difference between a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck. Let’s end that confusion. Here’s the deal.

Full tummy tuck

After a woman has had children, or if she’s lost a large amount of weight, the skin and muscle in the lower abdomen can become stretched and loose. The abdominal muscles can actually separate. And if the tissue has been stretched for too long it won’t rebound back to its former degree of tautness, no matter how many crunches you do. Think of a rubber band that’s been stretched for a long time and when you take it off it isn’t as tight as it once was. Once this has happened, your belly can push forward from the inside, creating the “pooch” that none of us want on our lower belly. Add a pocket of fat and now you’ve really got a hanging stomach.

A full tummy tuck tightens those muscles back to their former tautness, creating a flat abdominal wall. Excess skin and fat are removed.

In a full tummy tuck, Dr. Barrera makes an incision from hip to hip just below the bikini line. Usually the belly button needs to be moved once the excess skin is trimmed away. Dr. Barrera may extend the incision around the sides to access the thighs and buttocks, but those procedures are considered thigh and butt lifts. If needed, a second smaller incision is made at the navel.

Mini tummy tuck

But sometimes a patient has more minor sagging, usually just a result of aging. There is just a small amount of excess abdominal skin. In these cases, a mini tummy tuck may be all that is needed. In a mini tuck, Dr. Barrera makes a shorter incision, again just below the bikini line. Underlying abdominal muscles are tightened and excess fat is removed. Excess skin is also trimmed, but the navel isn’t relocated in a mini tuck.


With a full tummy tuck, patients need to lay low for at least one to two weeks following the procedure, especially avoiding any lifting. Mini tucks require less recovery time.

Want to get rid of your “pooch” for 2021? Call Dr. Barrera at (713) 468-5200 and schedule a consultation for a tummy tuck.

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