The procedure for a tummy tuck begins when the doctor has a consultation with the patient, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The doctor takes the patient's medical history and asks what she expects from the surgery.
The doctor also warns the patient of the risks of the surgery and may set up a payment schedule, as a tummy tuck is an elective and not covered under most medical insurances, explains the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Some time before the surgery, the patient is asked to quit smoking and stop taking certain medications that can interfere with healing.
The patient is given general anesthesia or sedation for the surgery, notes the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Then, the surgeon makes a large incision in the patient's abdomen. The skin is lifted and excess skin and an underlying apron of unwanted fat are cut free and removed. The underlying muscles are also strengthened. Afterwards, drains are inserted in the surgical site to take away excess blood and fluid. These are removed after a few days.
After the operation, the edges of the skin are carefully stretched, and then sutured, taped or clipped together. The belly button, which was moved, is put back in place and also sutured. The sutures are usually removed within a fortnight.