Once the belly button has been separated from the surrounding tissue, the abdomen is then prepared for the rest of the operation. Dissection of the abdomen continues upward, past the belly button, up to the top of the abdomen.
This dissection removes the attachments of the abdominal skin and fat to the underlying muscles. This step is important because removing these attachments will allow the abdominal skin and fat to be pulled all the way down to the bottom of the incision. When this is done, the excess skin and fat can be finally removed.
This step also exposes the abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscles are then examined and the amount of repair needed to tighten the muscles is then determined. The next step is called a "diastasis repair" and is discussed in the next section.