A full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty involves making an incision along the bikini line just above the pubic area, from hip to hip. The skin and fat is peeled off the abdominal wall up to the naval. A second incision is made around the umbilicus to free it from surrounding tissue. The layers are peeled away around the umbilicus and continued all the way up to the border of the lower rib cage. The exposed muscles are tightened as by stitching them together creating a firmer abdominal wall. The peeled-back flap of skin and fat is then stretched downwards towards the initial incision and extra tissue is removed. The incision is stitched closed around the repositioned umbilicus. Drainage tubes are placed under the skin to collect excess fluid in the first 24 to 48 hours after the operation.
In the ‘mini tuck’ the skin is separated between the lower incision line, just above the pubic region, and an area below the naval. The belly button is left in place and the abdominal muscles are not always tightened. Liposuction may be used with this procedure, too.