To perform a tummy tuck, a surgeon makes a horizontal incision above the pubic hairline and lifts the skin flap to repair the underlying abdominal muscles, states the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. When necessary, the surgeon makes an incision at the navel, trimming excess skin from the upper abdomen.
The surgeon pulls down the upper abdominal skin and removes any excess to create a tighter, firmer abdominal appearance and uses suture materials to close the incisions, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Since the position of the abdominal skin changes, the surgeon must cut a new opening and bring the bellybutton to the surface to reattach it to the surrounding skin.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is usually recommended as a last-resort cosmetic surgery for healthy people who have excess skin after significant weight loss or women who have weakened abdominal muscles after multiple pregnancies, explains Cleveland Clinic. Depending on the degree of correction, patients have three options: complete, partial or circumferential abdominoplasty. Partial or mini abdominoplasty corrects minor fatty deposits primarily located under the navel, often requiring a smaller incision and no navel manipulation. A complete abdominoplasty involves the most corrective techniques and a incision that spans the distance between the hip bones. Circumferential procedures are performed on patients who need fat removed from the abdomen and back, which may require liposuction.