When Should You Choose a Mini, Full, Extended, or Circumferential Tummy Tuck?

By: James Nachbar, MD, FACS


Dealing with loose stomach skin after weight loss or pregnancy can be challenging. Scottsdale Plastic Surgery in Scottsdale, AZ, led by Dr. James Nachbar, offers a variety of popular body contouring treatments, including full tummy tucks and mini tummy tucks, as well as extended and circumferential tummy tucks, to help patients feel more confident. 

A mini tummy tuck can be perfect for those with limited loose skin below the belly button, while a full tummy tuck provides extensive correction for the entire abdominal region. An extended or circumferential tummy tuck also allows us to tighten the sides of the abdomen as well as the back, which may be more noticeable after the front of the tummy is improved.

Selecting the appropriate procedure depends on your individual needs and goals. Whatever your goals are, Dr. Nachbar and our dedicated team are here to help you understand your options and make the best possible choice for your body. 

What is a mini tummy tuck, and how does it compare to a full tummy tuck? 

A mini tummy tuck targets the lower abdominal area, focusing on tightening muscles and removing excess skin below the belly button. This procedure is less extensive than a full tummy tuck, which addresses the entire abdominal region, tightening muscles and removing loose skin both above and below the belly button. While a mini tummy tuck requires a smaller incision, a full, extended, or circumferential tummy tuck provides more comprehensive results for individuals with significant skin laxity. 

Should I choose a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck? 

The choice between a mini tummy tuck vs. a full tummy tuck depends on your specific needs and goals. A mini tummy tuck is ideal for individuals with excess skin and fat and bulging mostly limited to the lower abdomen, offering quicker recovery and less scarring. 

On the other hand, a full tummy tuck is suited for those with more loose stomach skin and bulging abdominal muscle layer, providing a more dramatic transformation. Dr. Nachbar is experienced in a variety of tummy tuck techniques and can help you determine the best possible option based on your body type and desired outcomes.  He does all of these procedure using the No-Drain Technique, which he has been using for all his Tummy Tucks since 2008.

How About an Extended or Circumferential tummy tuck? 

Compared to mini tummy tuck or standard tummy tuck, an Extended Tummy Tuck, or a Circumferential Tummy Tuck (sometimes called a "lower body lift") targets more of the tissue to the sides and the back.  With either mini or standard, there is absolutely no improvement at the end of the incision, and very little improvement in the part toward the sides, even where the tummy tuck goes.

That is because, unless we limit that outer tummy tissue removal, we will get a fold (sometimes called a "dog ear") where the two sides of the excision come together.

That is not a problem with either the Extended or Circumferential Tummy Tucks, because those allow us to remove as much tissue as possible to the sides, without worrying about dog ear formation.

I have seen patients who thought they were only interested in improving the front, but then after a standard tummy tuck, noticed that the sides were still a problem.  Fortunately, it is very possible to convert the standard tummy tuck to extended or circumferential.

I perform all of these procedures using the No-Drain technique. 

Is the recovery different for a mini tummy tuck vs. a full tummy tuck? 

Recovery varies between a mini tummy tuck and a full tummy tuck, with the latter generally requiring a longer healing period, although individuals can vary widely in their recovery. However, Dr. Nachbar's No-Drain (or drainless) tummy tuck technique is designed to reduce postoperative pain and promote a smoother recovery process. This innovative approach removes the need for surgical drains, which can be uncomfortable and cumbersome, leading to a more comfortable healing experience for patients.  There is probably a little more discomfort with the extended or circumferential procedures, but generally not that much.

Can I combine my drainless tummy tuck with another treatment? 

Dr. Nachbar is pleased to offer a wide range of procedures to help you take your body contouring results to the next level. By pairing your tummy tuck with a thigh lift, arm lift, liposuction, or Brazilian butt lift, you can create a tighter physique while enhancing your natural curves. Additionally, Dr. Nachbar's innovative "Post-Baby Tune-Up®," the original mommy makeover, can be included to address changes from pregnancy and childbirth. This personalized approach not only saves time but also helps you achieve a more natural and rejuvenated appearance, making you feel more confident and comfortable in your body. 

Transform your figure with a tummy tuck in Scottsdale, AZ 

Choosing the right tummy tuck procedure is essential for achieving your desired results. At Scottsdale Plastic Surgery, Dr. James Nachbar provides mini tummy tucks, full tummy tucks, extended tummy tucks, and circumferential tummy tucks, to address your unique needs. 

Whether you require a minor adjustment or want to achieve a more comprehensive transformation, a drainless tummy tuck at our Scottsdale, AZ practice can tighten loose stomach skin and tone your midsection. The right choice can help you feel more confident and comfortable in your body, enhancing your overall body confidence. Contact our practice today and let Dr. Nachbar help you decide which tummy tuck surgery is right for your needs.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.