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If you’re looking for a procedure to get rid of some below-the-bellybutton flab, a mini tummy tuck might be just the thing. Also known as a partial or modified abdominoplasty, a mini tummy tuck targets the area between the belly button and the pubic hairline. Patients more than 20% above their preferred body weight may require a full tummy tuck to meet their goal, but for those around 10%, the mini tummy tuck is often the better procedure. It’s in the middle of the spectrum in that it covers a smaller area than a full tummy tuck but a greater area than liposuction or an endoscopic abdominoplasty.

Mini tummy tucks work well for both men and women. They’re ideal for removing abdominal fat deposits, stretch marks, and the loose, sagging skin that often comes with weight loss or the aging process. This makes them perfect for dealing with post-pregnancy weight. The procedure also shapes the inner thigh area. It emphasizes and defines the lower abdominal muscles, so if you’re slim but don’t have well-defined muscles, a mini tummy tuck will do the trick.

Aside from the cosmetic benefits, this procedure is also less expensive than a full tummy tuck. It only takes one to three hours, much shorter than a full abdominoplasty, which can take up to five. Depending on the opinion of the anesthesiologist, the procedure can involve either local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia.

What actually occurs during a partial abdominoplasty? First, the skin on the area is separated and lifted off of the abdominal muscles. Excess skin is removed, and the exposed muscles are sutured together to create a tighter abdominal wall. Liposuction is used to remove fat and further shape and sculpt the area. After this, the skin is stretched to fit over the exposed area and stitched down. With full tummy tucks, surgeons must create a new navel for patients. However, because partial abdominoplasties are more precise, your belly button usually will not be affected. Small drainage tubes are sometimes added to the area, which is then bandaged.

A partial abdominoplasty is an outpatient procedure, but because anesthesia is involved, you’ll need to spend some recovery time there before you can leave, typically about two hours. The surgery leaves a scar (even though it’s also known as a “scarless tummy tuck”), but it’s significantly smaller than a full tummy tuck scar or cesarean section scar. All drainage tubes are removed three to ten days after the procedure.

Patients may feel some minor pain as a result of the surgery, and over-the-counter pain medication helps during the healing process. They may also have to wear compression garments for support. After a doctor-recommended period of time, often two to three weeks, patients will be able to return to work and do physically taxing activities. Smoking interferes with the healing process, so doctors will require patients to avoid cigarettes for at least two weeks after the procedure.

In the end, it’s best to go to a doctor to discuss whether a full or partial tummy tuck would be best for you. Contact the office of Dr. Otto Placik today to set up a consultation.

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