Back to Work After Tummy Tuck? 10 Quick Tips for Speedy Healing

4 Nov 2013 at 9:00am

If you poke around for a sec in the RealSelf tummy tuck community, you're going to find glowing reviews of restored self-esteem and unbelievable before-and-after pics

You'll also find getting that bikini-clad "after" can be challenging -- but having some "know how" ahead of time is half the battle.

Kim Gregson, manager of RealSelf's tummy tuck community, who transformed to svelte size 6 with her own surgery -- offers 10 quick tips on returning to work.

1. Remember, you just had major surgery.

You will be sore and swollen, so go slow and listen to your body. You'll need to ease back into activity. Consider working shorter days the first week back on the job.  Also, no bending, heavy lifting, pushing or pulling for the first six weeks post-op -- consider keeping Wonder Woman in the closet for a few weeks longer.

2.  Skip the high heels.

Do yourself a big favor and wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Nix the high heels and pantyhose the first 2 to 4 weeks back to work. And, if you're wearing an abdominal binder, try wearing a soft all-cotton tank top underneath it for comfort.

3.  Elevate your feet.

Have a small foot stool under your desk. It will feel good to elevate your feet (and it reduces swelling).

4. Have a supply of mild pain meds on hand.

You may need a dose by lunchtime!

5. Pack yourself high protein snacks and lunches. 

This give you the energy you need to get through the day. Proper protein also helps in the healing process. Having the right foods on hand will also keep you out of the vending machine -- as you should be avoiding high sugar and sodium-containing foods. Lastly, don't forget to drink plenty of water.

6. Bring ice or heat packs with you. 

I needed both for my lower back. Consider purchasing one of the hot/cold herbal bags -- they work well both in the freezer and microwave. I had two, and this ensured that I had one ready to go in the freezer.

7.  Get up every hour or so.

If you have a desk job, make sure to get up and move around every hour. This will prevent stiffness (and also reduce swelling).

8. No after work plans.

For the first two weeks back, do not make any plans for immediately after work. You are going to be wiped out and swollen. Go directly home to rest -- and get a good night's sleep to regenerate for the next day.

9.  Kick up your feet when you get home.

Get comfortable and elevate your feet. Use ice packs if necessary.  When I got home my lower legs were always badly swollen. I would soak a hand towel in water, squeeze the excess and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. I'd then remove it from the freezer, and wrap it around my lower legs.  Felt like heaven.

10. Be patient with yourself.  

The total healing process takes time, but better days are ahead.  Chin up and stay positive!

Comments (29)

Sort by

Thank you so much this was so helpful. 2 weeks post op. Second day back to work!
  • Reply
Glad I read this I had my Tt on July 9th and i go back to work Aug 4. I know it's going to be hard but I will listen to my body.
  • Reply
I have to go back to work on Wednesday, 15 days po. I'm wearing all my old clothes now, but my surgeon said the swelling would be worse after I return to work (I'm still very swollen). Has anyone already through this kept track of their weight gain during this process? My endurance is in the toilet right now, and I'm a single mom, so a little nervous about my ability to hold up this next week or two.
  • Reply
I had the fleur de lis tummy tuck with breast lift & augmentation on June 26 and went back to work on July 2. Too soon even though (I teach college) I was not teaching, I was putting in office hours. I've had some swelling all along but it seems worse for the past week. Only 1 lady at work knows what I had done so I've been trying to dress normal - I would recommend wearing looser clothing, which is what I will be doing next week. I lost 17 # from my surgery, but my weight fluctuates 2-3 pounds almost every day - up one day, down the next. I can't help it - I've always been a "scales" gal. I keep saying I can't believe I'm still getting so tired - my surgery lasted 6 hours and my husband reminds me of that. Oh, and I also had some lipo. It seems like bending over has been tougher the last few days than a week ago so again, I guess it's swelling. I'm off the next 3 days, and I'm gonna be mainly selfish and take care of me! Good luck!
  • Reply
What's the best kind of CG/ab board to wear back to work at my desk job? Looking fir comfort and concealment. Thanks!
  • Reply
Can check the pink room or amazon
  • Reply
Ok everyone. It's been a bit since I've posted cause I'm back at work and really just beat up! I'm 56 days PO. We had a mock survey to prepare for The Joint Commission at my hospital. So the past week I have worked 6am-730pm. Every night. I was an escort for two surveyors because I am the one to answer certain questions. Each night I have gotten more and more swollen! I ate terribly because they fed us sandwiches and chips. I just hope it goes away soon. I'm achy, tender again and just miserable. So much for 8 hour days.
  • Reply
Thanks for posting this wonderful advice. As women we tend to take better care of everyone else but ourselves. We don't have time to be out of commission. A mommy makeover is a REALLY big insult to our entire system. We will heal and we will be better but we have to listen to our body and give it LOTS of TLC so we get the best results both mentally and physically. Stressing over wanting to be all done the process before enough time has passed will not help anything and maybe even hurt the process. A few years ago I tore my ACL and had surgery. I was in a straight leg brace 24/7 for 6 weeks and a single mom with 3 teenagers. I took my pain meds round the clock. I went to physical therapy and did only what I was allowed. I took lots of naps. Most importantly I put no demands on myself other than to heal so I could be good as new again. I can honestly say in a strange way it was actually enjoyable and for the first time I learned how to be good to myself.
  • Reply
The key is to be patient as your body heals. This is a major surgery and healing is different for everyone.
  • Reply
Need advice !  I am contemplating a tummy tuck but with three kids I am afraid of the time off needed after surgery.  How do other mothers manage?
  • Reply
Hi everyone, Week four and still swollen and in pain. Coughing not so sore as in the beginning but still hurts and makes my eyes water, sneezing hurts too. How long was it before your swelling went down and pain was gone? I realize we all heal and mend differently, but just felt if I got some sort of ideas might make me ease my mind more. Thanks for support everyone. Day 4 tomorrow since back to work, difficult and tiring. Off for 4 days then back again Tuesday. Very happy operation has been done. Scar healing really well, belly button looks yucky but clean. Thanks and look forward to hearing back. Anny :) :) :)
  • Reply
Wow one or two weeks off seems very quick to return to work. I am po 23 days and I would not recommend any sooner than this to consider working. This page is good advice and one word of advice is don't do too much otherwise complications can arise. That's what happened to me. Good luck ladies it's worth it.
  • Reply
Thanks will follow advice. Due back to work Monday, hopefully all will go well. :)
  • Reply
What a wealth of information! So glad I found this site...My Tummy Tuck is scheduled for April 1st. I am excited for the end result but realize it will be no walk in the park for a while. I am self employed, thankfully can do lots of my work from home, but do have a client about 10 miles from home that I will need to do their payroll on the 10th of April...sure hope I am up to getting out by then. Maybe an hour of work and then back home. I am taking in all of the information I can here and trying to do as much planning ahead as possible. Thanks to everyone who has provided valuable information.
  • Reply
So glad I found this and will be using this tips once I have my surgery! My PS says that if I plan to have my surgery on a Thursday, I should take the following week off, then back to work. I hope that will be enough time.
  • Reply
I was wondering about that too. My doctor also says one week but I'm taking two weeks off. I never had surgery before so I'm kind of thinking about three weeks off but unsure still cuz i don't want to use all my vacation days
  • Reply
hi Nikki I had my op 5th March and went back to work 31st, if you can have longer do so. I'm in pain and finding it difficult. Good luck :)
  • Reply
I'm super excited I found this blog!! Just went to my consult on Friday and now trying to plan ahead and get everything in order. I'm a single mom of twins with no real natural support so planning is key.. Thank so much for reaching out and informing the lives of others.. God Bless! :)))
  • Reply
Thank you for the awesome information. I guess I will bring these items in to work my last day before I have surgery.
  • Reply
I took 4 weeks off after my tt, which is 1/29/14. I'm due to go back to work on march 2. hopefully I will be good to go !!!
  • Reply
Truly good advice it was a horrible first week but looking forward to the 2nd week. I know that it gets better.
  • Reply
When do you plan on going to work? I'm trying to plan for mind now.. So far I scheduled a week off..
  • Reply
WELL, IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU DO AND WHAT YA DR. RECOMMENDS. BUT I'M OFF FOR 4 WEEKS
  • Reply
Thanks!
  • Reply
Thank you for the heads up. I do have a desk job and I will make sure to get up and walk every hour. Thanks!
  • Reply