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Lifting my Baby After Tummy Tuck and Plastic Surgery

I am going in for a tummy tuck, breast lift, and inner thigh lipo on Feb 12. I have a 5-month-old who, at the time of surgery, will be 7 mos. My doctor told me that I will be able to pick him up 1 week after surgery.

Does this sound OK to you?

Doctor Answers (10)

Don't lift big babies after surgery

+8

Ten pound babies can be lifted after one week. Heavier ones have to wait for 4 to 6 weeks. No need to push it and risk breaking deep sutures. Your husband can lift them for a while!


Boston Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

It may be asking too much, too soon, from your body

+6

Dear Leiav,

My first reaction is that with the planned surgery you're limiting both your arms and your abdomen and to a slight degree your legs from behaving normally. Add lifting a 7 month old in and out of a crib and you're adding significant strain to your incisions and run a higher risk of complications, like wound dehiscence, hematoma or fluid buildup while prolonging your overall recovery.

I used to do a lot of multiple procedures like you describe and have since become more conservative, limiting the number of procedures performed at the same time to one or two depending on the patient's recovery environment and job circumstances.

Remember this. The human body heals at a specific rate (6 weeks normally, longer in diabetics) which science has not been able to alter much, except when we add too many procedures at once, at which point, we're slowing the healing rate overall - like sending troops to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea at the same time...

The problem is the natural 'stress' reaction within the body - which slows healing overall. The more areas, the greater the internal stress. The more external stress (caring for a baby), the slower the healing. Combine the two and you have a recipe for problems, which can prolong your recovery and return to normalcy.

Consider discussing this further with your surgeon as to why s/he is suggesting to do all the procedures at the same time, and is it possible that the procedures be staggered 6 - 12 weeks apart?

Dr. C

Antonio M. Carbonell, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

Trust your doctor

+5

The main thing you want to avoid is heavy, vigorous, or too quick/violent movements. In the early weeks, it can lead to hemorrhage, and in the long term, it could cause the sutures to rip through your tissues, leading to an unhappy result.

I tell my patient > 10# for 6 weeks. Your doctor may have a different regiment, and I would follow it. Don't want to mess up the investment in you!

Scott E. Kasden, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Activity after abdominoplasty tummy tuck liposuction and breast surgery

+3

While a plastic surgeon advises a patient to refrain from heavy lifting after surgery, it is also prudent to regain normal function as soon as possible. Lifting a twenty pound object after surgery may be difficult as the added strain may cause you to lose balance, or even drop something that you are lifting. Moreover, you may pull a muscle or a suture line that is vital to outcome.

Lifting a twenty pound child is even more difficult because it is a sustained strenuous task. Although your surgeon is best capable of advising you on his surgery, in my practice, I advise patients to refrain from lifting anything heavier than a yellow pages book for 4 to 6 weeks.

If you are contemplating surgery, plan a a requiem where you will be resting. If this is not feasible, find a suitable period of time when you can before embarking on such a procedure.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Lifting Children Post-op

+3

Combining those three operations may extend your recovery time. This may make it more difficult for you to safely lift your child after one week. Lifting objects heavier than 20 lbs can compromise the rectus repair in the first few weeks post-operatively.

At two weeks this repair is actually at its weakest and gains strength thereafter.

In addition, in my San Francisco area practice we remind patients that children are just weight - they can wiggle and squirm causing you to need to adjust in unexpected ways. This can you to have to use more muscle force than you might anticipate.

Discuss these concerns carefully with your surgeon. If you and the surgeon still wish to perform all of these procedures at the same time it may make some sense to make sure you have some help at home.

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Treat it like a hernia

+3

Generally most tummy tucks involve muscle repairs (similar to a hernia) that require a minimum of 6 weeks to gain sufficient scar tissue to reinforce the repair. Most general surgeons advise patients to wait at least 3-4 weeks before resuming activities. I suggest similar guidelines to my patients. However, it really depends on your tummy tuck ; if you don't have a muscle repair, this restriction is not as important.

  • If you do have to lift avoid bending over and straining. Have your partner hand your child to you. Bend your knees and lift more with your legs than your back and stomach muscles. Have a partner do the lifitng for you.

Patients also have two periods of potential bleeding that occurs after any surgery. T

  1. This is the initial 24 hour period when helpful clots form on the vessels that are transected during surgery and vasospasm (clamping down of the vessels) relax and open up.
  2. And then a small time frame between 7-10 days aftTer surgery when the clots breakdown (fibrinolysis) and blood vessels can potentially open up and bleed.

Other than good control of bleeding during surgery, we like to keep patients calm, pain controlled, and gently compressed (like a nose bleed) in the first 24 hours.

During that second period we advise limited activity and straining (that includes lifting your 7 mos old).

Hope this helps.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Personally, I would wait on the liposuction

+3

I ask patients to treat their abdomens post-abdominoplasty as if they had a hernia repair recognizing they won't gain full healing strength for 8 weeks. By being careful and judicious in their lifting of children, I have never had a patient harm their repair in 20+ years. But this requires being very careful!

I often do breast lifts and tummy tucks together and the breast lift recovery is always the lesser of the two and isn't really a factor when it comes to lifting. I will not ever do below the waist surgery ie liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck.

The most dangerous complication of a tummy tuck are blood clots (DVT) which can dislodge and travel to the lungs and can be fatal. In my opinion, any surgery below the waist added to a tummy tuck will decrease your ability to get up and walk regularly and therefore could increase the risk of DVT.

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

Lifting children after a tummy tuck

+2

A tummy tuck is a very popular and effective technique to recontour the abdomen. Patients undergoing this procedure should consider the significant recovery process. In our practice, we routinely tell our patients that they should live no more than 5 pounds for the first 4 to 6 weeks after their surgery. This includes children. Lifting a large weight, such as a child, can put undue tension and stress on your abdominal repair. This can have the effect of loosening the muscle or widening your scar.

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 65 reviews

Lifting after plastic surgery

+2

I usually have patients wait about 3 -6 weeks until they can perform heavy lifting.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

You may not be able to safely lift a child for a few weeks after tummy tuck.

+1

Your doctor is right, you probably would not damage any of the operation by lifting a small child.  However, make certain you don't drop your child if you encounter pain as the abdominal muscles rebel at first.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 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.