Downtime for Abdominal Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck?

How long is the downtime of abdominal liposuction as compared to tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 10

Recovery is different for every patient.

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In general, recovery from liposuction is faster than from abdominoplasty. For abdominoplasty, you should plan on 10 to 14 days until you are ready to go to work. For liposuction, you should plan on 3 to 4 days until you are back to being active. However, the indication for the surgery is the most important - they are not equivalent operations and you need to do the operation that is best for you. Good luck with your procedure.

There is minimal down time for abdominal liposuction.

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Hi!  Many of our patients have liposuction on Thursday and go back to work (a little sore) on Monday.  For a tummy tuck, you need to take 2 weeks off.

Of course you should have the procedure that will give you the best result, even if it has a longer (and harder) recovery.



George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Abdominoplasty recovery is longer

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Liposuction typically has a fairly quick recovery time. Abdominoplasty however involves doing a lot more: Typically the muscles are brought together, so you have to be careful about lifting for several weeks, and there is skin and fat removed so there is an incision that needs time to heal. As in the previous answer, you should not choose between the two based on recovery time, but rather which one will give the best results for your individual condition. A board-certified plastic surgeon can give you a good assessment of which one is best, since he or she will be able to perform either procedure.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Liposuction has a much quicker recovery

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In general, most of our liposuction patients could go back to work after 4 or 5 days. The incisions are minimal and the pain is modest. A tummy tuck takes longer to recuperate from and we recommend at least 2 weeks off from work (and more if it is a very physical job).

The pain is somewhat higher with the tummy tuck, but it is not pain that holds people back. The area of surgical dissection is greater, the incisions need to heal without tension, and getting in and out of bed/car is more difficult. With either surgery, it is best to allow for a couple of extra days off just in case you need them. Best of luck.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews


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Because a tummy tuck is a more invasive procedure than liposuction, it involves a recovery period of 10 to 14 days longer than liposuction plastic surgical procedures. Initial discomfort and decreased mobility is typical. 3-5 days or more of assistance at home is usually indicated.
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.
As for liposuction, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause pain. Wait at least 3 weeks to begin aerobic exercise. Much of the swelling and bruising will be improved by two weeks; however, some will persist for 6 to 8 weeks. It is often difficult to see significant changes in the body shape before this time.

Downtime for Abdominal Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck?

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A tummy tuck is a more extensive procedure, which means that you'll need a longer recovery. It can take several weeks to return to normal activities, while it may only be a couple weeks for liposuction depending on how many areas were treated and the technique applied. To return to a desk job, you may only need about a week for lipo, while 2-3 for a tummy tuck.

Liposuction vs tummy tuck

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The recovery from liposuction should be much easier than a tummy tuck.  Figure you can go back to most activity from isolated liposuction within a week.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Liposuction versus tummy tuck recovery

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Abdominal liposuction can be a realtively shor t recovery with just a few days of downtime. of course downtime is up to interpretation and varies among couch potatoes versus tri-athletes. I interpret this as meaning return to a deskjob and not strenous physical labor.

Tummy tucks typically take at least 2 weeks before the average individual is driving and feeling that they can begin to re-enter society.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

How's your pain tolerance

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Downtime from plastic surgery is somewhat dependent on pain tolerance. In general, liposuction recovery is much faster than tummy tuck recovery. Some patients return to work on Monday after an abdominal liposuction on Friday. Also, tummy tuck surgery involves stitching the abdominal muscles and no heavy lifting or exercise can be done for 6 full weeks. Good luck!

Both may vary from 1-4 weeks.

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Liposuction, when performed agressively, requires a similary recovery to a tummy tuck. People who are very active and healthy tend to heal faster, within a week or two; whereas people who are more sedentary and have a higher percentage of body fat or other health problems, tend to heal slower. The most important thing to consider in choosing liposuction vs. tummy tuck is what procedure will give you the final result that you desire. In most cases, patients are either a good candidate for a tummy tuck -or- a good candidate for liposuction of the abdomen based on the amount of fat vs. the amount of skin. Don't make a decision on the procedure that you want based on the recovery time. Plan your recovery time around the procedure that is best for you.

Good Luck!

Thomas T. Nguyen, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon

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.