Shorter Tummy Tuck Recovery Time Due to Fitness Level?

I'm a 42-year old personal trainer who lifts weights heavily and on a regular basis. I've given birth to and nursed four wonderful children- the youngest of which is now 12. I will be getting an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), as well as a lift with implants. Will my fitness level help shorten my recovery time? Will strong muscle tone in my chest and abs help my surgeon to get better results? Thank you!

Doctor Answers (13)

Good physical conditioning is an asset when recovering from surgery.

+5

We always look favorably upon motivated patients who keep themselves in good physical condition. Patients who are in good cardiovascular shape and close to ideal body weight tend to recover from surgery well. Your tissues may not actually heal any faster than those of a patient who is overweight and sedentary, but you will probably be back to normal activity sooner.

In regards to the abdominoplasty, I doubt you have much excess fat because of your fitness level. No amount of working out, however, can improve the widening of your abdominal muscles or the skin laxity that comes with having had 4 children. I think you will love what tummy tuck will do for your abdominal contour. I would caution you on getting back to working out the abdominal muscles too soon after surgery. Check with your surgeon, but I recommend no abdominal muscle exercises for a minimum of 8 weeks after surgery.

More important than your pecoralis muscle tone is the quality, shape, and volume of the overlying skin and breast tissue.

Good luck with your surgery.


Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Being fit is a great asset and so is being positive

+3

Fit patients recover better than those who are out of shape. Also of critical importance is your attitude. If you are a positive and calm person with good support around you, the recovery will go great!

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

The healthier you are makes you a ‘better’ surgical candidate

+2

Thanks for your question. The healthier you are definitely makes you a ‘better’ surgical candidate. This is true for reducing potential risks of anesthesia and surgery. A shorten downtown and recovery phase is expected. Abdominal muscle tone of the rectus muscles will improve the aesthetic results of the tummy tuck.

Likewise, the improved muscle quality of the chest wall muscles (primarily the pectoralis muscle) will enhance your results of the breast augmentation, but will not have much impact on the breast lift.

I hope you find this helpful!

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

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Being fit is best for better recovery from surgery

+2

Yes, excellent fitness level is highly desireable for recovery as well as good nutrition, which is also essential. This relates to wound healing and improved oxygenation. However, bear in mind, that a healthy prominent pectoralis muscle will generally be more vascular and bigger and therefore more sore especially if your implants are under the muscle when release of the muscle is required.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
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Fitness helps with recovery

+2

A tummy tuck with implants and lift is one of the longer operations with significant stress on the body. Like training for a big race, if your body is in great shape, you will recover faster. I have found that healthy and fit patients recover better and faster.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
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Yes, the more healthy and fit you are the faster your recovery.

+2

Yes, the more healthy and fit you are the faster your recovery. You will have all the factors in your favor for the surgery. My only caution would be not to push yourself too much, which can also be detrimental. Just listen to your doctor and believe your body when you are pushing yourself to recovery faster after surgery. Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Being fit is your best ally

+2

Being fit won't necessarily shorten a normal recovery time, but it certainly doesn't hurt and patients who aren't fit, might have other potential side effects or complications that will prolong recovery beyond what is expected. The body general will heal the way it will heal. That is, you can't push harder on the accelerator to make healing go faster.

Muscle tone will certainly assist in getting you a good result with your abdomen. The muscle layer is the foundation on which the fat and skin sit. Having poor muscle tone can definitely limit the results of abdominoplasty. With the breast, muscle tone and mass may influence the technique you and your surgeon decide on. Often, those patient who have large, tight muscle mass with excessive use might elect to go subglandular rather than submuscular. But if you do a simultaneous lift, it might increase the risk of complications and healing time more than if you place the implants submuscularly.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Recovery after a tummy tuck

+1

Because you're in such great shape, you're recovery will most likely be pretty easy.  Just make sure you follow your plastic surgeon's post-op instructions.

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Physical Fitness often shortens Recovery time

+1

You will probably have a shorter recovery time and better ultimate results because of your motivation, and overall health. In my experience this is particularly true following the abdominoplasty. For a submuscular breast augmentation however the tone of your muscles actually slows down the time for your muscle to adjust to the implant and often the implants will ride a bit high until they drop because of the increased tone and ability to spasm following this procedure. The ultimate result should be excellent in most patients

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Patient's fitness level can shorten recovery periods

+1

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Patients who have an excellent fitness level before the surgery will tolerate the surgery easier and recover more quickly. In our practice, we have performed many tummy tucks on personal trainers, aerobics instructors, and yoga teachers. These patients do recover more quickly and are more committed to maintaining their results with a rigorous exercise regimen and a balanced low fat diets. However, after your surgery be sure to relax and give your body a chance to recover. Do not push too hard and avoid excess tension on your abdominal skin by waiting 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery for a complete return to your exercise activities.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.