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Showers or Baths After Tummy Tuck?

I am scheduled for a tummy tuck. I take baths every night and was wondering if I need to refrain from that and switch to showering??!!

Doctor Answers (17)

Shower, Bath VS Sponge Bath after Tummy Tuck Surgery

+6

Medicine can be divided into 3 F's: Fact (always right, beyond dispute), False (wrong) and Fetish (done out of habit, superstition or false conviction). Unfortunately, most surgeons practice a fair amount of fetish based on their training and experience. The real challenge for us older Plastic surgeons is to constantly shed old habits based on false data or habit / superstition based practices in favor of science based practice. 

A surgical wound seals in 48 hours. A surgical wound covered with Dermabond (surgery glue and sealant) is closed in minutes. There is no reason why anyone closed with Dermabond cannot shower the morning after the surgery or a day later if Dermabnd was not used. However, because drains are commonly used with Tummy Tuck surgery I have no problems with showers as soon as possible but ask my patients to wait until they are removed before patients can take tub baths. 

98% of people feel a lot better after showering. There is no reson to withhold it from them based on fetish and medical voodoo. 

Peter A Aldea, MD


Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Showers: OK. Bathtub: NO! But ask your surgeon if you have a drain.

+2

Realize that in a bathtub, you immerse not only your incision, but also your genital and rectal area--both "chock-full" with bacteria that you and your surgeon would rather NOT have come into contact with your healing incision (and drain site, if present). Showering rinses any contaminants and bacteria away, and soap and water are not harmful to healing in moderation--but NO "Calgon take me away!" bathing marathons.

Ask your surgeon if you have a drain in place, since some (myself included) feel that a portal out of the body is also a potential portal for bacteria into the surgical area, and ask that a patient wait until the drain is out before showering. I will let patients quickly shower with an antibacterial soap if a drain is in place for a longer period of time, and if the benefits of showering outweight the potential disadvantage of staying unwashed.

Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Showers or Baths After Tummy Tuck?Answer:

+2

Shower is better for awhile for 2 reasons...First, you should not submerge your incision right after surgery and Second, getting in and out of a tub after tummy tuck can hurt and possibly pop a stitch in your tummy!!!

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

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Shower not Bath after tummy tuck

+1
Thank you for your post. In general, your incisions need to be perfect, all drains removed and the drain site healed perfect, and the muscle repair needs to be mature with no areas of fluid collection. If the incisions are not perfect, or drain site, then you are at risk of infection in pools, hot tubs, oceans/lakes. You don't have to have perfect incisions to shower, just not submerge in bath or the above. However, I ask my patients to wear their abdominal binder non-stop, except for showers, for at least 4 weeks, so unless you want to hang out at the beach with your binder, then no beach. Physical water sports, however is a different story. You should only start doing heavy physical activity at 6 weeks, and then slowly ease into it, not all at once.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Showers or baths after tummy tuck?

+1
Hello! Thank you for your question! On average, a period of approximately 3-4 weeks on average is typical. Submerging in stagnant water, be it bathtubs, jacuzzis, pools, lakes, oceans, etc. can certainly increase your chance for infections. I usually await the incisions to be fully healed prior to allowing for this type of activity. If you do have any wound issues or delayed healing, expect that you will be restricted from doing such things. However, I allow my patients to shower and clean incisions at 3 days postoperative. Regardless, the answer will vary amongst plastic surgeons and you should discuss this with your surgeon and follow his/her instructions. Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Shower post abdominoplasty

+1
If you are going to have drains, you will need to wait to take a bath. You will not want to submerge (bath tub, pool or jacuzzi) until your incisions and drain tube site are well healed to decrease the risk of infection or wound healing problems. Usually this is a few weeks. You should discuss your concerns with your board certified plastic surgeon as to their postoperative protocol.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Ask your surgeon

+1

In my practice I do not let my patients shower till the drains are out which usually takes a week.   Each surgeon performs the operations differently, has different dressings, etc which affect their post-operative managment.  In general our approaches are designed to achieve good reproducible results time and time again so I would ask your surgeon about their approach.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Bathing After a Tummy Tuck

+1

After having an abdominoplasty, most surgeons allow their patients to shower after a day or two.   However, you will need to refrain from any kind of submersion underwater for several weeks.  This includes baths, hot tubs, swimming pools, etc.  Check with your plastic surgeon to see how long.

Adam Hamawy, MD
Princeton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Showering?

+1

Thank you for the question.

You will find that every plastic surgeon has their own “protocol”;  it would be in your best interests to follow your chosen plastic surgeons'  since he/she is ultimately responsible for your care.

 Some general words of advice may be helpful as you embark on your tummy tuck “journey”:

 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.

Best wishes  with your upcoming surgery.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 791 reviews

Bathtubs and Tummy tucks

+1

I would wait at least 2 weeks after the last drain is pulled from your tummy tuck incision. Bathwater contains many undersirable bacteria that can potentially crawl up any opening to cause an infection. In addition, you do not want to soak the incisional area which could macerate the fresh incision.

I am sure you will have an excellent recovery and result!

All the best,

Dr. Lille

Sean T. Lille, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.