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How Soon Post-Op TT Should One be Able to Drive or Walk up Stairs?

How soon can you drive a car, or walk up the stairs after a full tummy tuck ?

Doctor Answers (10)

How soon to drive or walk up stairs after Tummy Tuck


A very important question. Of course, your surgeon should give the final word and inform you of this prior your surgery, but I can let you know what I tell my patients.

Assum normal healing, I suggest driving at 2 weeks. Walking up the stairs (a few stairs) with help only can be done upon arrival at home. More than one flight, you should wait at least 1 week.

Hope this helps.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Walking and driving after a tummy tuck


Patients can walk up stairs usually the day of their tummy tuck procedure. Driving should be avoided until patients are off their pain medication (narcotics). Heavy lifting is to be avoided for about four to six weeks after surgery. Discuss more specific post operative instructions with your plastic surgeon as each surgeon has a slightly different protocol.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

Activity after a tummy tuck


Most people are out of work for an abdominoplasty for about two weeks. You can walk up stairs with assistance within a day and drive usually within one week to six days if you are not taking narcotics.

Donna Rich, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

How Soon Post-Op TT Shld One be Able to Drive or Walk up Stairs?Answer:


My patients are out of bed and taking a few step the night of surgery and can go up stairs 3-4 days after, but very carefully….I find most activities are safe after a TT if done very controlled and slowly! As far as driving, for most patients, it’s about 2 weeks before they are feeling well enough to manage driving, AND as stated, are off the pain meds!!! DUI counts for narcotics too!!!


John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Driving? Stairs? When after a Tummy Tuck?


Thanks for the question.  After an abdominoplasty, most plastic surgeons want their patients up and moving about as soon as possible.  This helps with the recovery process and decreases the risks of complications such as blood clots in the legs or lungs.  Most patients can walk stairs the day after their surgery.  Of course, caution is required in when on the stairs and if uncertain, wait a few days but the key is get up and start walking.

Driving is different since you should not drive until you are off all pain medications and also are capable of reacting to protect yourself while in the car.  For many patients, this can be as soon as a week after surgery and others will require a bit more time.  Every patient heals at their own speed and your plastic surgeon can advise you as you recover on your limitations and restrictions.  Good Luck. 

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tummy tuck, climbing stairs, driving


A tummy tuck can be prettty painful if the muscles are tightened and how fast a patient becomes comfortable enough to perform diferent activities varies greatly. Also each doctor is different in the post operative restrictions. My patients are climbing stairs with someone next to them the day of surgery because we use pain pumps to control the discomfort. But driving requires normal reflexes so it is not a good idea until you are totally comfortable off medications. Two weeks is about normal.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

How Soon Post-Op TT Should One be Able to Drive or Walk up Stairs?


I ask my abdominoplasty patients to be as mobile as they can. This can reduce complications such as blood clots and is generally helpful both physically and psychologically.

People differ tremendously in how quickly they recover from tummy tuck surgery, but most should be able to climb a short flight of stairs within a few days of surgery. Make sure you have help if you feel unsteady.

Driving is a different matter. Of course you must be off narcotic pain medications, and generally feel that you are clear-headed and not distracted by your recent surgery. For most people this would be at least 2 weeks after surgery. It's better to wait a little longer before getting behind the wheel, than pushing things and having a problem.

Good luck!

Eric Pugash, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Activity after tummy tuck


Each surgeon has his or her own set of after-surgery instructions.  A typical recovery for a typical standard tummy tuck that doesn't have any problems would be off pain medication, driving, and back to a desk job in about two weeks.  Stairs, probably 1-2 weeks gently.  It depends on how involved your tummy tuck is.

Ask the board-certified plastic surgeon who evaluates you, what she/he thinks your recovery will be like. One person's tummy tuck can be much more involved than another's.  Also, each individual has a different tolerance for pain and responds to surgery differently.

I hope this helps. Best of luck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Tummy Tuck - How Soon Post-Op TT Should One be Able to Drive or Walk up Stairs?


It's hard to be specific on each of those and you obviously need to check all of this with your own plastic surgeon but as a rule I would say the following:

1)  You should be able to walk up the stairs within a few days of your surgery, even though you will clearly not be at full strength.  I normally recommend that the patient be up and walking within a few hours of the surgery; early mobilization has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of certain complications, such as blood clots, etc.  So walking around a bit is good almost right away, and up the stairs - slowly - within a few days should be okay.

2)  Driving is a different issue because even if you feel okay and well enough to drive, you may not have the reaction time or ability in the event of a potential accident.  So I normally recommend the patients wait AT LEAST 10 days before even considering driving, and more likely 2-3 weeks.  Once you're feeling well enough to think you can do it, go sit in the car and see how you feel.  Then start with a short drive and only under ideal driving conditions.  Finally, you can resume driving - with the understanding that the whole process should be to start slowly and advance as tolerated.

And, of course, under the guidance of your own PS.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 146 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Post op Recovery?


Thank you for the question.

It would be best to address specific questions regarding your recovery with your operating surgeon since he/she knows you and the planned procedure ( and is responsible for all aspects of your care). my routine may not be applicable to you and could potentially be confusing.

Some general 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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 681 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.