What Kind of Tummy Tuck is Right for Me?

Woman with flat stomach

An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess tissue to slim down, tighten, and recontour the abdomen. It’s a common treatment for patients who are recovering from the physical strains of pregnancy, who have skin laxity (sagging) as a result of aging, and for those who wish to kick-start their body contouring journey. But, it may come as a surprise that there is no “one size fits all” tummy tuck procedure. In fact, doctors can choose a treatment type from a selection of abdominoplasty options that best fits their patient’s needs. With this in mind, it’s important for patients to find out what each tummy tuck procedure entails so they can work with their surgeon and make informed treatment decisions.

As one of the leading board-certified plastic surgeons in Ohio, Dr. Gregory M. Fedele specializes in cosmetic procedures for the body, breasts, face, and skin. At his Cleveland practice The Art of Plastic Surgery, he provides tummy tuck surgeries tailored to the individual goals of each of his patients, to reshape the abdomen and renew body confidence. Call Dr. Fedele’s office at (216) 464-1616 today to book your personal tummy tuck consultation, or send us an inquiry detailing the treatment you are interested in online using this simple form.

Before and After Photos

Regain Confidence and Contour

A bulging abdomen that has to be disguised with baggy clothing and shapewear is not ideal, nor is it a comfortable experience. But, it’s something that many men and women deal with on a daily basis. Waistbands can dig in and chafe, rolls can spill over our undergarments, and our overall self-confidence can take a hit if our body doesn’t look or feel the way we want it to. An abdominoplasty has been shown to improve patients’ overall quality of life, body satisfaction, sexual functioning, and self-esteem. (1) This surgery can not only help you start afresh and be a motivator for maintaining health and fitness, but also provides peace of mind for patients who were previously too embarrassed to show off their bodies in fitted clothing, swimwear, and undergarments. There are many reasons why patients seek abdominoplasty surgery. They can be broadly categorized as:

  • Men and women who desire aesthetic improvement of the abdomen
  • Women with skin and abdominal wall laxity after multiple pregnancies
  • Bariatric patients who have excess skin following significant weight loss (1)

Different Types of Tummy Tuck

Your surgeon can adapt your abdominoplasty according to your physical attributes. But how do you know which one is right for you? You can discuss your goals with your surgeon and find out which version of this transformative body-contouring surgery would benefit you the most.

Full Tummy Tuck

Young woman in white lingerie

A full tummy tuck involves the strategic placement of a horizontal incision between the upper pubic region (where underwear bands usually fall) and the belly button. This incision position limits scar prominence. The shape and length of the incision may vary depending on the amount of excess skin you have in your abdomen. This style of abdominoplasty also involves a second incision at the belly button to tighten and remove excess skin from the upper abdomen.

Muscle Repair

Studies show that muscle correction is integral to the creation of a flatter stomach. (2) The main muscle targeted in a tummy tuck procedure is the rectus abdominis, the large muscle either side of the linea alba (the central vertical line running down the middle of the abdomen). After pregnancy, the two halves of this muscle can separate to accommodate a growing fetus in a condition known as diastasis recti (literally “separated recti abdominis muscles”).Where necessary, your surgeon will pull the underlying abdominal muscles together, and remove pockets of fat in the upper and lower abdomen with liposuction to provide a slimmer, smoother contour. 

After these steps, the remaining skin is draped over the abdomen before being trimmed. During this process, your surgeon relocates the navel to a natural position on the abdomen. Finally, the area is sutured closed and the patient gains a firmer abdomen, narrower waist, and more congruent silhouette.

Full Tummy Tuck Snapshot:

  • Two main abdominal incisions
  • Removes and tightens skin
  • Involves abdominal muscle repair
  • May involve liposuction
  • Larger area impacted
  • Focus on lower and upper abdominal contouring
  • Longer surgery and recovery time
  • Usually performed under general anesthesia

Mini Tummy Tuck

Despite its name, the mini tummy tuck is still major cosmetic surgery. Many of the steps in a mini tummy tuck are identical to a full abdominoplasty. The main difference, however, is the length of the incision made, and the percentage of the abdomen addressed. In a mini tummy tuck, only a 4-8 inch long incision is made, compared to around 12 inches for a full tummy tuck.

The mini tummy tuck is also used for patients who are satisfied with their upper abdomen aesthetic since this surgery only addresses excess tissue and fat deposits below the navel. Elements of muscle repair, liposuction, and skin augmentation remain, but the focus is the rejuvenation of the area between the navel and the pubic area. The mini tummy tuck is convenient for many patients because fewer areas are targeted, and the procedure itself is shorter. This means the recovery period after this form of treatment is reduced.

Mini Tummy Tuck Snapshot:

  • One main abdominal incision
  • Trims and tightens skin
  • Involves lower abdominal muscle repair
  • May involve lower abdominal liposuction
  • Smaller area impacted
  • Focus on lower abdomen only
  • Shorter surgery and recovery time
  • Usually performed under general anesthesia

Dr. Fedele has advanced plastic surgery training, which includes both tummy tuck procedures. Get in contact with us today to book a personal consultation to discuss which abdominoplasty option is right for you. Call (216) 464-1616 or fill out an online form for more details.

Benefits of a Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck can reimagine your abdominal contour and help you regain your confidence! The benefits of this type of surgery include:

  • Tighter, firmer anterior abdominal skin
  • Flatter abdomen with better muscle tone
  • Minimized stretch marks and visible scars
  • Smoother contours, flatter abdomen
  • Defined abdominal features without “bulges”
  • Restoration of youthful abdominal contours
  • Continuous, smooth contour between abdomen and hips (2)

Candidates for Tummy Tuck Surgery

Patients with moderate to severe skin laxity and excess fat in the abdomen can be good candidates for an abdominoplasty procedure. Men and women who require both above and below the navel to be addressed may benefit most from a full tummy tuck. The mini tummy tuck is a great choice for patients who only want to focus on their lower abdominal aesthetic. Abdominoplasty may not be a good fit if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Upper abdominal scars
  • Excess weight 

Patients with a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a tendency to bleed or bruise very easily, and morbid obesity should seek a different form of treatment to reach their desired goals. (3)

Personal Consultation

Woman with measuring tape around abdomen

At your personal consultation, Dr. Fedele can address your aesthetic concerns. You will be asked to provide a brief medical history and discuss your aesthetic goals. He will examine your abdomen, noting your current contour, excess skin, and fatty areas. After this assessment, he can suggest either a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck based on your circumstances. If you are a good candidate for abdominoplasty, he will schedule your surgery date. Here’s some information on what to expect from your initial consultation

Cost of a Tummy Tuck Procedure in Cleveland, OH

Whichever tummy tuck option you undergo with Dr. Fedele, its cost will vary depending on your situation and the complexity of the procedure. For financing information, patient reviews, and a list of commonly asked questions – including transparent pricing estimates, please see our website.

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Is a mini tummy tuck less invasive?

The mini tummy tuck involves fewer incisions than a full tummy tuck, and the main incision is shorter. Patients should not consider this an indication of being less invasive. Any abdominoplasty procedure is considered major elective surgery, so proper patient education, preparation, and aftercare will be required.

Which tummy tuck procedure has the shortest recovery time?

All patient recovery periods are as different and unique as the patient themselves. However, the mini tummy tuck is considered the fastest to recover from compared to the full tummy tuck.


  1. Saariniemi, K. M. M., Salmi, A. M., Peltoniemi, H. H., Helle, M. H., Charpentier, P., & Kuokkanen, H. O. M. (2014). Abdominoplasty Improves Quality of Life, Psychological Distress, and Eating Disorder Symptoms: A Prospective Study. Plastic Surgery International, 2014, 197232. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/197232 
  2. Regan, J.-P., & Casaubon, J. T. (2022). Abdominoplasty. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431058/#:~:text=The%20reasons%20for%20undergoing%20abdominoplasty 
  3. Bhargava, D. (2008). Abdominoplasty today. Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery : Official Publication of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India, 41(Suppl), S20-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825125/ 
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