Will my Active Job Prevent my Tummy Tuck from Healing Properly?

After two pregnancies (and c-sections) I am planning a tummy tuck to remove excess skin and correct my separated abdominal muscles. I am a police officer, so my job is more physically demanding than some. I will have "light duty" available after the initial recovery period. I am wondering, though, whether the weight and pressure of my ballistic vest and duty belt will be uncomfortable even after six weeks -- and whether it may actually not be good for the incision area. Any ideas?

Doctor Answers 6

Tummy tuck restrictions

Most police officers can request light duty for six weeks.  They need to be 100% when they go back to work, so their work will often insist in a release from their doctor.

Ballistic vests and gunbelts should be well tolerated after six weeks.  Many patients actually report improved back pain because they now have an internal corset in place.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Tummytuck Healing Affected By Active Job

It is best to give yourself 6-8 weeks before you resume full activity after a tummytuck.  Furthermore, when you do resume activity, it is important to ease into it and not go full activity right away.  The weight of your vest should not affect the incision healing at that time so long as it is not rubbing it and causing an irritation.

Gary D. Breslow, MD, FACS
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Recovery from Tummy Tuck

While it is impossible to predict with 100% accuracy, most likely you will be fine.  If you have a physically demanding job, I would suggest at least two weeks off after surgery and the light duty for the next month.  After that point, you should do well, but everyone is different.  


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Recovery 6 weeks after tummy tuck

At six weeks post-surgery, your incisions should be fully healed, but your scars (both internal and external) are still maturing.  You may find that the weight of your gear is a little bothersome at the 6-week mark, but I would expect you to be able to wear it, for the most part.  Everyone heals differently, so you should have a backup plan in place, in case you aren't able to resume your full duties when you expect to.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Activity after Tummy Tuck

Your activity level may prolong healing and keep you swollen longer...but it should not prevent things from healing properly.  The muscle repair must be 'rested' for a time as it scars in place and 6 weeks is probably a good amount of time to expect for this. I typically advise my patients to wait three months after surgery before any strenuous abdominal exercise.

As a police officer this isn't just about your comfort.  This could be about you being healed enough and comdfortable enough to protect yourself if that became necessary.  You're the best judge of this timing.

Scott E. Newman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Should not be a Problem

I do not believe the weight of your vest will be a problem. Activities, motions and exercises which exert tension of your abdominal wall should be avoided for two months.

Ivan Thomas, MD (retired)
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 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.