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How is Recovery with Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift?

What is the recovery like doing a Tummy tuck and Breast lift at the same time? Should i do them together or two seperate surgeries?

Doctor Answers 16

Recovery following Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift

 Recovery for Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift is simultaneous. Nothing special about the breast surgery other than not using you chest muscles/arms to lift things and wearing your surgical bra and garments as directed by your plastic surgeon.

Immediately after surgery, within the first few hours, the patients will walk in a slightly bent-over position. Start walking flexed at the waist (in a stooped position) for a few minutes every 1-2 hours the evening of surgery and continuing daily except when sleeping. This will minimize your risk for blood clots. Wear your TED stockings. Following the tummy tuck procedure, you should be in a flexed position to minimize tension on the incision sites by to bending at the hips (waist) in order to reduce tension on the newly tightened skin. A recliner chair is perfect for this purpose but a pillow beneath your knees and several at the head of the bed will work well also. A 'reclined' or sitting position relieves tension on the incision. During the 6 weeks after surgery: 
In about one week you can gradually stand up straight.
Gradually increase activity as tolerated.
No sexual activity for 6 weeks after surgery.
Wiggle your toes and move your ankles in circles in bed every hour.
No heavy exercise, bending, lifting, baths, swimming, sun exposure, smoking, alcohol or sports
for 6 weeks following surgery after your surgeon has given you clearance to do so.
Limit napping to one short nap (less than an hour) per day to prevent sleep disturbance at night..
Strenuous activity and the lifting of more than ten pounds must be avoided.  Many patients are able to return to work and daily activities within 2 weeks of surgery.  Softening of the surgical scars, return of sensation, and loosening of the tight sensation may take several months. Abdominoplasty recovery can be in some cases slow and uncomfortable requiring more time for a full recovery. Light activity is comfortable in 10-20 days. Sports will be more comfortable after 6 weeks.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

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Recovery after tummy tuck and breast surgery

These surgeries are typically performed together unless there is a specific reason not to (unique anatomy, health of the patient, unusually large scope of the procedure).

Patients may want to ask for a pain pump which delivers local anesthesia into the surgical site for the tummy, the breast (if an implant is being placed) or both. The pain pump delivers 4-3 days of pain relief that is non-nauseating and non-sedating.

We recommend an aftercare facility for all tummy tuck patients, for safety and comfort, and of course TLC as well.

Postoperatively, patients are typically walking long distances on a flat surface after 2 weeks and starting light workouts by 4 weeks. Weightlifting or intense exercise usually needs at least 6 weeks.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) and Breast Lift Rapid Recovery

Congratulations!!  You are doing your research. 

First, it is common to do these two operations together.  Essentially this is a mommy makeover.  Tidy up the breast and the stomach  at the same time.  There is no need to separate the two. 

Second, recovery today is far different than what it used to be.  The tummy tuck part is certainly the bigger of the two procedures but there is a rapid recovery protocol that  can be employed that will get you back to the activities of daily living within a day or two. 

Using the no drain tummy tuck technique as well as long acting local anesthetic, allows your surgeon to start you on an early motion and stretching protocol right after surgery (in the recovery room).   This minimizes your pain and gets you recovered in about a day.  You  are not healed and will still be a little slow but you should be back doing most things like driving, going out to dinner, and light shopping within a day or so.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Allow 6 Weeks To Return To Activities & Exercising Following Combo Tummy Tuck & Breast Lift

         The recovery time following tummy tuck and breast lift varies from patient to patient and depends on a variety of factors. I find that performing these procedures together doesn’t significantly increase the length of recovery. I recommend minimal activity for about two weeks following the procedure. During this period, light activities such as bathroom and kitchen privileges are acceptable, but nothing more strenuous. After two weeks, patients can slowly resume most activities except those that involve strenuous exertion. After six weeks, patients should be able to resume all of their normal activities, including strenuous exertion and heavy lifting.


         Patients typically receive narcotic pain relievers for four to five days following surgery. They are then usually able to switch to double strength Tylenol. It’s important to have adequate support systems available. It’s not a procedure that you want to experience by yourself, especially if you have small children at home. It’s important to remember that wound healing continues for over a year and that you can expect continued improvement in your result.


         Finally, it’s normal to be apprehensive prior to undergoing a large surgical procedure; this anxiety rapidly disappears when you see your results, and healing is underway. 

Full Recovery From Tummy Tuck & Breast Lift May Take At Least 6 Weeks

A tummy tuck has a longer postoperative recovery than does a breast lift. When performed together, the overall recovery will be determined by the recovery associated with the tummy tuck.

A standard breast lift normally entails repackaging the volume of the breast in a smaller skin envelope. This is accomplished by any one of a variety of techniques which will remove excess skin and lift the nipple area to a more aesthetically pleasing position. Normally, after a breast lift by itself, one is back to most normal day to day activities within three to five days. This would include driving your car. There may be some restrictions in your arm movement for a few weeks after surgery to allow for unimpeded wound healing.

A full abdominoplasty is a much more extensive procedure than a breast lift. Normally, a full abdominoplasty begins with a horizontal incision extending from one hop to the other just below your bikini line. The skin and fat layer is then lifted off of the underlying muscle layer up to the belly button. At this point, an incision is made around the belly button to allow for continued lifting of the skin and fat layer up to the rib cage. Commonly, the muscle layer is then tightened with a series of stitches from the rib cage down to the pubic bone. Following that, the skin and fat layer is pulled tight and the excess is removed and the belly button brought out through a new incision. Because of the large raw surface existing between the fat layer and the muscle layer, recovery and healing takes longer. You probably will not be driving your car for two weeks and full recovery may take six weeks.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Breast Lift and Tummy Tuck Recovery

A breast lift and tummy tuck are two procedures that I very commonly do together, and highly recommend it to my patients if they are interested in both procedures.  Since you will have recovery time with both, many patients prefer to do them together so that they only have to go through the downtime once.  Many patients are able to return to work within 10 days to 2 weeks post surgery, and can resume all normal activities within 6-8 weeks.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Recovery from "Mommy Makeover"

A mommy makeover typically takes four to five hours and is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Immediately after surgery, patients are placed in compression garments that must be worn for six weeks to help support and shape the healing tissues. If drains are placed, they are generally removed in the office in seven to ten days when they are putting out less than 30 ml per day. Recovery times following a mommy makeover vary, but patients are generally able to return to work in one to two weeks, light exercise in three to four weeks, and full recovery and exercise in five to six weeks. Antibiotics and pain medicines are prescribed following the surgery.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift?

Thank you for the question.

These two operations can be ( and are routinely) performed together.  Assuming you are in good health  and that you are working with well experienced board-certified  plastic surgeon and anesthesiologist  in a fully accredited surgery center/hospital  you should do well.

The tummy tuck portion of the operation  is a portion that requires the most “recovery”. I would suggest that you have a lot of help for the first 2 weeks at least. Return to more strenuous activity may require 4 to 6 weeks.

A few additional words of advice may be helpful:

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself)  and that you have realistic expectations.  Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life   situation.  You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.

2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be  more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.

3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.

4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.

5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina  of your caretakers.

6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.

7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.

8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).

9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the   emotional swings that you may experience.

10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.

11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery.

I hope this helps.

Mommy makeover recovery is all about the tummy tuck

When combining the TT and breast surgery, in my experience the substantial majority of the recovery is from the TT and the breasts are basically along for the ride.  This may vary with surgeons but you also need to be sure you want both surgeries and that your chosen surgeon can safely do them in well under 6 hours total as the safety drops if longer than that.

Combining breast lift and tummy tuck

The procedures can be performed in combination although it makes for a long operation and the literature indicates that the length of the procedure is directly implicated in the complication rate. Patients who have the operations separately do not have the same level of discomfort and may return to work earlier, particularly after the mastopexy. In this economy, I find that my patients are spacing out the surgeries more. Which area of the body disturbs you most? If there is a clear answer, then have that procedure, see how it goes and then decide about whether you were happy enough with your surgeon to sign on for more! This forum is full of patient concerns about outcomes and poor communication with their doctors so you want to make sure that the doctor you've selected will be there for you both before and after the surgery. Best of luck. Dr K

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.