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Mommy Makeover Recovery Time

What is recovery like with a mommy makeover? I have scheduled both a breast augmentation with lift and a tummy tuck and am pretty scared. I am worried that the pain will be unbearable.

I know medication will be provided but I do not want to be comatose. I have 2 small children and a wonderful husband that will be taking 100% care of all 3 of us but I also want to be coherent. Will I be alert and will I be in so much pain as to scare my children? I have had 2 c sections and the pain was completely bearable.

Doctor Answers 129

Plastic Surgery Recovery varies from patient to patient

It may seem obvious, but every person recovers at a different rate.  I tend to tell my patients to expect each phase of the recovery to be broken down into "2 to 3."  This means that it is usually 2-3 hours to "wake up" from the anesthetic so your head starts to clear; 2-3 days that you can expect pain that probably requires pain medication (narcotics) around the clock or on some set schedule; 2-3 weeks that you taper off the medications and start increasing your activity; 2-3 months to feel like yourself again; and 2 years for your scars to fully mature.  I think there have been excellent comments about things like the On-Q pain pump and other assessments about the pain with each of these surgeries, but I wanted to give you a basic time frame to block out your recovery from your mommy makeover.

What to expect during a Mommy Makeover recovery

After any major surgery, you can expect to require at least 6 weeks off of aggressive activity, including exercise.

You should not lift more than 5 pounds during the first 3-4 weeks after breast surgery, and following a tummy tuck, avoid twisting motions and using your core for 4-6 weeks.

Arrange for help at home - both for routine daily activities like getting the kids ready for school, making lunches, making dinner, driving children to and from appointments, etc. - both also ensure you have the physical and moral support to aid in your recovery.

Making meals ahead of time and freezing them will enable a quick and easy dinners during your recovery. Splurge on home-cleaning services and possibly a spa treatment for yourself!

You will have some physical discomfort, but primarily you will feel TIRED. Expect to need more sleep and not not have the regular energy required for your usual activities.

Communicate with your friends, family members and neighbours, if appropriate, that you will be recovering from an extensive surgical procedure and guide them towards how they can best help you during your Mommy Makeover recovery!

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Having both procedures done at the same time does not lengthen the recovery

Having both procedures done at the same time does not lengthen the recovery, it just makes the tummy tuck the time variable. Breast augmentation recovery is 7 days or so. Tummy tuck recovery is 10 to 14 daysl. Your recovery will be in the 10 to 14 day period for both. If you've had a c-section, you have a great understanding for what to expect. Your pain will not be additive, but it will comprise a larger area of your body.

My patients seem to "turn the corner" in the 3rd to fifth day. It sounds like you have the child care and patient care tuned in.

Ricardo Izquierdo, MD
Oak Brook Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Don't Gamble With Your Mommy Makeover Surgeon

A Mommy Makeover provide a wonderful transformation for a woman. Be sure to view many photos to be certain that your plastic surgeon can demonstrate their abilities, and that you share the same aesthetic sensisbilities. A link to my mommy makeover before and after gallery is below. Please also visit the tummy tuck, breast augmentation and breast lift pages.

The anesthesia experience is critical to a safe and comfortable surgical experience. A board certified anesthesiologist can administer general or MAC anesthesia. My preference is to have a board-certified anesthesiologist at the bedside of my patients for the duration of surgery. Pain control is very important for providing people a recovery as comfortable as possible. Intra operative pain control using Exparel and / or pain pumps help patients with comfort after surgery. It is very rare for my patients to require narcotic mediciations following surgery.

The best recovery will come from finding the best plastic surgeon for you and following his or her instructions very carefully. Take your time researching your surgeon and be sure you are 100% confident with the doctor's training, results and the certified surgical suite where your surgery will be performed.  

The following are a few things that can distinguish some surgeons from others

1) Graduating from a top tier medical school at the top of their class.

2) Membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. THis is the medical honors society. Alpha Omega Alpha is to medicine what Phi Beta Kappa is to letters

3) Formal surgical training from prestigious medical universities. The minimum number of years of surgical training for plastic surgeons to be bord certified in five years. Some physicians have as many as ten years of formal surgical training. There simply is no substitute for stelar academic and practical surgical training.

4) Very experienced surgeons with meticulous surgical technique and natural looking outcomes will have photgraphic evidence of their work. Patients should be able to view many photos of the surgery of interest, photgraphed from three different perspectives all with similar lighting, distance from the camera and cropping

The elite experience extends beyond the surgeon to the facility, and the surgical team. You should be able to see the surgical theater and know who else will be in the OR with you during surgery. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is an organization that provides certification to hospital OR's. The Joint Commission and AAAASF are two of the organizations that can provide certification to surgical suites. Some plastic surgeons elect to have their surgery centers dually certified.

Plastic surgeons who cater to high profile individuals who place a high value on privacy will have a private first floor entrance and exit so patients never need to be in a public lobby or elevator for pre-operative or post operative visits.

Many, many women have both breast surgery and abdominoplasty together, but if you have reservations about doing this all at once, you can stage the procedures. Even if you do have the procedures together, look very closely at each individual procedures and be sure the plastic surgeon you select can demonstrate through photographs many, many examples of the kind of results you want. There is often a very significant "wow" factor in a mommy makeover as the changes can be so significant. Look at the details. The objective of most of my patients is to look more like they did before pregnancy, but looking natural is of the utmost importance. 

After checking a surgeon’s background, training and experience look at before and after photos. Scars around the belly button or unnatural looking belly buttons  are a dead giveaway of a tummy tuck. There should NOT be visible scars around the belly button. Fullness in the upper abdomen is a result that would not be the ideal for most patients. Plastic surgeons who are unable to create natural looking belly buttons, or who rush through surgery without addressing upper abdominal fullness may charge lower prices than plastic surgeons who have the training, ability and interest in providing the very best possible result.  

Breast augmentation should be in proportion with the rest of the body and breasts should be placed in such a way that the result looks and feels natural. Even appropriately sized breast implants can look unnatural is they are too high on the chest wall, too far apart or too close together.   

If you are very concerned about a recovery, you could stage the procedure. The biggest savings is in taking less time off work for women who work outside the home. Most surgeons will offer a reduced fee for secondary procedures as a way to show patient appreciation and also as a means for not making patients feel pressured into more surgery than they feel comfortable undergoing at one time. 

I believe patients are more comfortable staying in our facility overnight with two nurses providing round the clock care the first night after surgery. I believe it provides peace of mind for patients and their family. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Recovery from mommy makeovers

Mommy makeover is a term that implies some surgery on the breast, some surgery on the tummy.

The mommy makeover one patient get may be a simple scar revision of their  C-section and a small breast implant; another patient might need a full breast reconstruction with a full tummy tuck and flank plasty.  

Some patients are young and bounce back, others are older and take longer to recover.

So the recovery is quite varied.  For an 'average' mommy makeover, patients can usually drive by 1 week, walk five miles on a flat surface by two weeks, and run by 4 weeks.  Hard workouts generally start at around 6 weeks.

Pain pumps have dramatically altered the recovery from abdominal and breast surgery. They reduce pain without sedating patients. Their safety profile is also much higher than in the past, with no need for Marcaine, a long acting anesthetic that has been associated with heart block in some patients.

The difference between patients who go home after their surgery and those who stay in an aftercare with pain pumps is night and day.

It is actually possible to have a pain pump for both the breasts and the tummy tuck at the same time.

Also, a night or two in an aftercare facility also helps recovery.

Small children less than two years of age are the biggest impediment to an easy recovery. It is often nice to get some help if kids less than 2 years old are at home.

All in all, the satisfaction rate for an expertly performed breast surgery and tummy tuck, customized to the patient's needs, is very high.

Patients should not over schedule during their recovery period.  It is a time for recovery and healing.


Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Mommy makeover is easier than a c section.


Good news! Most women who have had a previous c section tell us that recovery from a tummy tuck is not nearly as bad as recovery from a c section. (We are not going deep inside you.)

And a well performed breast augmentation does not hurt much at all.

Overall, you should be a little sore but functioning well in one week.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Mommy makeover recovery time

I think that you will find that the recovery is much more tolerable than what you would expect. My patients always tell me that the recovery from both the breast lift/augmentation and the abdominoplasty surgery is less painful and requires less pain medication than what they had planned. There is no reason to be "comatose" at any point in time. There is a difference between pain and sore. You need pain medication for pain. I see that most of my patients only use the pain medication for 3-5 days. After that, you will be sore. You really don't need pain medication for soreness, you just need to take it easy. Most patients are sore for the next 10 days or so. You will need to walk with a slight bend at the waist to take tension off the abdominoplasty incision, but you should be up and walking around the day after surgery. I use a deep sedation for this combination surgery and have my patients walking the day of surgery. General anesthesia will keep you down for a little longer. Best of luck with your surgery.

William T. Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Recovery after a Mommy Makeover: Start your recovery before surgery

Mommy makeover surgery is a very common combination procedure though it does come with a longer recovery than just one of the procedures separately and there is a higher risk of complications because of the length of procedure. I would recommend you to be at your best for surgery by increasing your protein intake 3 weeks in advance and stopping any hormone therapy 3 weeks in advance. These two preoperative suggestions will increase your healing capacity and decrease your risk of blod clots. I always have my tummy tucks stay overnight to make sure you are comfortable and able to ambulate the night of the operation with assistance. I do inject local anesthetic both in the breast and the abdomen which does help with early mobility and I treat nausea before it starts. By definition, mommy makeovers are done on moms with young families, so have some help at home. You will feel okay after one week and after 3 to 4 be able to return to cardio workouts. I usually have you refrain form heavy lifting for 6 weeks which includes children for 6 weeks. If you are preparing for the worst experience of your life it likely will. Make sure you discuss these points with your board certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Trussler

Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Andrew P. Trussler, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Plan on 2 weeks limited activity during recovery from Mommy Makeover

The abdominoplasty pain should be less than the pain of your C-section. Breast augmentation pain is less with subglandular implant placement-4-5 days as opposed to 10 days to 2 weeks after submuscular breast implants.

You will be given pain medications I am sure.

I encourage patients to become active as soon as possible as this speeds recovery from pain.

Breast implant displacement exercises started early (day one) in my experience reduce the duration of discomfort significantly.

Mommy Makeover recovery

The recovery from a mommy makeover (breast procedure and tummy tuck) typically involves one to two weeks off of work. Heavy lifting and strenuous activity is to be avoided for approximately four to six weeks. The pain is usually manageable with oral pain medications (vicodin or percocet), however you can request a pain pump to be inserted at the time of the tummy tuck which can help considerably.

Many women compare the recovery from a tummy tuck to that of a C-section. Most would agree that the C-section is more painful as it involves cutting of the abdominal muscles and uterus.

Please discuss this further with your plastic surgeon prior to scheduling your mommy makeover.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 230 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.