What is a tummy tuck procedure?

Abdominoplasty, also called a tummy tuck, is a surgery that flattens and firms the midsection through the removal of excess fat and skin and the tightening of abdominal muscles.

People often have a tummy tuck surgery after pregnancy or after losing a significant amount of weight, both of which can stretch abdominal muscles and leave excess skin. If you’ve tried to flatten and tone your protruding or sagging abdomen through weight loss and exercise but haven’t achieved your goals, the tummy tuck procedure might be right for you.

What are the tummy tuck procedure steps?

Abdominoplasty is performed while you’re under general anesthesia.

Your surgeon will make an incision in your bikini line, and will elevate the upper abdominal tissues to expose your abdominal muscles. The muscles can be sewn together to flatten the abdomen or reduce your waist. If you have excess skin above your navel, the belly-button will be re-positioned. Excess lower abdominal tissues are removed, and the skin incision is closed.

After the tummy tuck surgery, you’ll have tubes in place to drain excess fluid for one to two weeks.

How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck procedure?

Recovery from a tummy tuck procedure usually takes about two to three weeks, but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your tummy tuck consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect.

Why You Should Receive a Tummy Tuck at RUSH

There are many reasons a tummy tuck might be appropriate for you. Some of the most common reasons patients get the tummy tuck procedure include the following:

  • Address excess skin following a pregnancy
  • Tighten the abdominal muscles
  • Remove excess skin after weight loss
  • Restore a more youthful appearance after age-related body changes
  • Feel more confident and positive about their body image

Removing excess, sagging skin can also provide other health benefits, such as relief from back pain, improved mobility, reduced discomfort and prevention of chafing and rashes.

At RUSH, your tummy tuck surgeon will guide you through the process from start to finish with a respectful and empathetic approach. Here are just a few things that set us apart as a provider of tummy tuck procedures:

  • Personalized, compassionate and efficient care: Your surgeon will listen to you to understand your goals and work with you to form a patient-centered care plan that addresses your unique needs.
  • An experienced, expert team: RUSH has been successfully providing abdominoplasty procedures for decades. Our team collectively performs several hundred tummy tuck surgeries every year, and our surgeons specialize in all types of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
  • Patient safety: Your safety is the utmost priority from the moment you have your first consultation. It begins with communication. Your surgeon will discuss all the factors, including techniques and medical clearances, that will let them perform a safe procedure while giving you the best results and achieving your goals. This process continues through surgery and recovery with follow up visits to ensure you’re satisfied with your results.
  • Convenience: RUSH University Medical Center is one of the most active body contouring facilities in Chicago and the Midwest, but you don’t need to come all the way to the city. Our surgeons regularly perform tummy tucks and other outpatient procedures at RUSH Copley in Aurora, RUSH Oak Brook Hospital and RUSH Oak Park Hospital. So if you’re looking for care closer to home, there are many options to choose from.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgeons

Keith Hood, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

George Kokosis, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

David Kurlander, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Loren Schechter, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Deana Shenaq, MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

RUSH Tummy Tuck Surgery Locations Around Chicago


Rush University Medical Center - Professional Building

1725 W. Harrison St.
Suite 425
Chicago, IL 60612
United States

Rush Oak Brook location image

Rush Oak Brook

2011 York Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
United States


Rush South Loop

1411 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
United States

Rush Copley Medical Center

Rush Copley Medical Center

2040 Ogden Ave.
Suite 115
Aurora, IL 60504
United States

RUSH Oak Park Multispecialty Clinic

RUSH Oak Park Multispecialty Clinic

610 S. Maple Ave.
Suite 5500
Oak Park, IL 60304
United States

RUSH Oak Lawn

RUSH Oak Lawn

5851 W. 95th St.
Suite 300
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
United States

Frequently Asked Questions About the Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Procedure

Q. Who Is a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery?

A. The best candidates for a tummy tuck procedure are nonsmokers who are at or close to their ideal weight and have loose, sagging skin or a protruding abdomen even with a healthy diet and regular exercise.  However, patients above ideal body weight may be candidates for modified abdominoplasties (lipoabdominoplasty).

Q. Will I have scars after the tummy tuck surgery?

A. The scar from a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) incision is usually low enough to be well hidden by clothing or a bathing suit (even a bikini).

Q. Can I lift my kids after having a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?

A. Tummy tuck procedures are popular among moms after pregnancy, so this is a common concern. For several weeks to months after surgery, you’ll have limits as to how much you can lift. If you lift too much too soon, you risk stressing your incision site, which can delay your recovery and affect your cosmetic result.

Q. How long will tummy tuck results last?

A. Tummy tuck results are meant to last, but pregnancy or weight gain can affect the results. Most doctors recommend waiting until you’ve had your last child or reached your goal weight before having a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure.

What is a “mini tummy tuck”?

A mini tummy tuck is a procedure that only treats the lower abdomen. It usually requires a shorter incision than a full tummy tuck surgery. It is a limited approach to address a smaller amount of skin. However, patients generally need full abdominoplasty surgery to treat the entire abdomen. A mini tummy tuck is an effective operation in the right patient but determining if it’s a good fit, and specific goals and expectations, is something the patient and physician should discuss.

What is the difference between a tummy tuck and liposuction?

Liposuction uses suction to remove fat from the body. It can treat areas of fat deposits such as the love handles or help contour the waist. However, it will not remove excess skin like a tummy tuck will. For this reason, it is often used along with the tummy tuck procedure.

Can I get a tummy tuck after a c-section?

Yes, you can get a tummy tuck after having a cesarean section. In fact, the tummy tuck procedure can often revise the c-section scar, especially if it is a high scar, to look better. The procedure can also tighten the muscles to treat the diastasis recti — the separation of the abdominal muscles — that is common after pregnancy.

Is the tummy tuck procedure painful?

Like any surgery, a tummy tuck can be somewhat painful depending on the individual patient. However, any pain tends to be manageable and fades quickly after about a week. Your surgeon will provide a local, long-acting anesthetic directly into the muscles to reduce pain and give you a multimodal pain management regimen to go home with.