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Can I Go Swimming in the Ocean, After a Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift/augmentaion?

I am having a tummy tuck and breast lift with augmentation. I am wondering if I will be able to go swimming in the ocean/snorkeling by 6 weeks post op. We are taking a trip to the Camen Islands and I am concerned I won't be up to all the fun activiites that the ocean brings.

Doctor Answers (13)

Ocean swimming 6 weeks post op TT and breast aug surgery


Dear Caligirl,

Please, please see your PS right before you leave! Sea water  contains some of the most dangerous bacteria out there (including the so called 'flesh eating bacteria'). Make sure there isn't any type of scab, suture or opening left in your incisions. If there is, stay away from any type of pool, bath or sea water.

Kind regards,

Dr. H

Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

6 weeks is probably enough time, but may be cutting it a bit close!


Assuming everything heals perfectly and you resume activity without problem, 6 weeks is the bare minimum for vigorous swimming or ocean waves buffeting your barely-healed body.

If you have any delayed healing (common with breast lifts plus implants), or similar problems with the belly button, your surgeon may ask you to hold off on swimming in the ocean or pool, and the same goes for hot tubs or bathtubs.

Just so you know, this is what I would tell my own patients in this situation. Ask your surgeon and honestly consider if you would enjoy your vacation more without muscle discomfort and tightness, scars that require absolute sun avoidance to prevent them from turning dark, and worry. If so, maybe waiting until you return is a better idea.

I know, that sexy new body will look great in a swimsuit, especially if friends or others will be around to ogle the new you, but is risking the result worth it? Ask your surgeon! Best wishes and happy vacation!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Swimming after tummy tuck

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.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

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Hello Caligirl.  Everybody heals differently, but generally speaking I advise my patients to wait at least 4 weeks after surgery before swimming, especially in the ocean.  If you haven't completely healed by 4 weeks, then of course it's best to wait longer.  Good luck! 

James Knoetgen, III, MD
Fresno Plastic Surgeon
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I advise my patients to wait at least 4-6 weeks after this procedure so that you are fully healed as this will require maximal wound healing.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
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In addition to the comments by my colleagues, you should consider that in addition to swimming in the ocean and pool, beach activities involve a lot of sun exposure. You will be more sensitive to the sun in the areas that have had surgery and I recommend to my patients that they stay out of the sun as much as possible for several months after surgery. You might want to postpone your surgery until after you return from what sounds like a wonderful vacation.

Margaret Skiles, MD
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Thanks for the question.  I generally allow my patients to get in the ocean at the six week mark as long as all of their incisions have healed.  Please be advised though if you have an open wound or slow healing after surgery, I would not let you and also your endurance level may still be lower than the activities you have planned.  Make sure you see your plastic surgeon right before your trip to check on you.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
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Swimming in the Ocean after Tummy Tuck and Breast Surgery?


Your plastic surgeon will guide you in regards to returning to activities after your surgery. Keep in mind, that even after 6 weeks  out of tummy tuck and breast surgery, you will not be 100%. Even if your incisions have healed completely, you will need to be extremely careful given that your strength will not be fully returned and that you will likely continue to have occasional discomfort/spasm.


Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
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Swimming at the beach 6 weeks after surgery.


Thank you for your question.  As long as there are no open wounds, I am comfortable with my patients swimming at the beach 6 weeks after surgery.


All scars should be covered with waterproof sunblock.  Discuss this and all other details with your plastic surgeon.


I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
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Tummy tuck and swimming


Hi, assuming everything is healing well without any complications, 6 weeks after a tummy tuck is plenty before you can swim in the ocean, unless you are considering competitive swimming. have your surgeon examine you before you leave to make sure you are complication free at that time.

Antoine A. Hallak, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
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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.