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How Long is Downtime for Tummy Tuck?

I'm a 32-year-old LPN and I want to have a tummy tuck. How long will I have to be off work? Is it a good idea to have the tummy tuck now if I am getting married in July?

Doctor Answers 5

Recovery Time

Downtime for abdominoplasty can vary from patient to patient. 7-10 days is usually a minimum for time off of work. If your job requires you to be on your feet the majority of the day, then 2 weeks more realistic. At 6 weeks you are fully healed and have no restrictions. If you are planning to have your surgery within the next week, you should be fully recovered for your wedding at the end of July. 

Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Consider your timing carefully

It takes about three weeks to get to about 60% activity level. By 6 weeks you will be permitted to engage in full physical activities although you will not be doing everything that you are permitted to do. It will take about 3 months before the healing is about 75% done and another 3 months to get to the 90% level.

Although you certainly should be ready by July, I always caution patients who are anticipating major life events to give themselves an excessive amount of time, just in case there are complications.

Your surgeon can go over the risks and the probablities of something happening with you so you can make a good decision.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Abdominoplasty Recovery

We tell our abdominoplasty patients that a general rule of thumb that it takes a full 3-weeks to get over the first phase of recovery. By that I mean that you can probably head back to work by then. You may be able to return to work earlier than that, but 3-weeks is usually a pretty good estimate. At 6-weeks you should be fully recovered and feeling much improved.

As for timing the surgery around a July wedding, you'll be fine if you have the surgery now.Considering the 6-week recovery, you could have the surgery anytime prior to mid-May and still be ready for the July wedding. Depending on how many pre-wedding parties/activities you have planned, you may need to move your surgery date accordingly so you'll feel good enough to enjoy all of the festivities in your honor. You'll want to get in touch with a board certified plastic surgeon to set up an appointment for your consultation as soon as possible.

Good luck, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Steve Byrd, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Downtime for Tummy Tuck

Following surgery, you will be walking in a bent-over position to keep tension off the newly tightened skin incision site. Although strenuous activity, and lifting more than ten pounds, must be avoided for 6 weeks, some people can return to work and daily activities as soon as 2 weeks after surgery. Softening of the surgical scars, return of sensation, and loosening of the tight sensation may take several months to a year or more.
Abdominoplasty involves a recovery period of 10 to 14 days longer than most plastic surgical procedures. Initial discomfort and decreased mobility is typical. 3-5 days or more of assistance at home is usually indicated.
You will be encouraged to move and walk regularly starting the day of surgery. Wearing your TED stockings at all times, except while washing, to prevent venous clots (deep vein thrombosis) is mandatory. Light activity is comfortable in 10-20 days. No sports or heavy lifting for 6 weeks or more – please discuss with your doctor for specific questions.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Downtime for Tummy Tuck

Each surgeon has his or her own guidelines for postoperative care. Patients generally can return to light activity 7 to 10 post surgery. More strenuous activity can generally begin 3 to 6 months post surgery. Consult your surgeon has he or she understands the scope of the surgery and the specifics about you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 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.