After a Tummy Tuck, How Long Will It Be Before I Can Do Ironing and Heavy Lifting?

I am due to have a tummy tuck on 3 July over here in London. I run an ironing business where I collect loads of laundry, iron it and then return it, sometimes all on hangers. How long should I realistically be off work. I know with a normal office job I could return within 2 weeks but as my job requires a lot of twisting etc while ironing as well as lifting heavy laundry, how long should I wait to go back to work?

Doctor Answers 8

Count on 4-6 weeks for full recovery

With a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), most patients can return to sedentary work within 2 weeks, however it is necessary to avoid vigorous abdominal straining for 4-6 weeks to prevent disruption of the muscle (diastasis) repair.  Most patients are driving at 7-10 days and as long as they can limit their abdominal muscle exertion can resume most activities by 2-3 weeks.

Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Back to work after tummy tuck

There is considerable variability from individual patient to patient, and according to how extensive the procedure is.


My general guidelines are back to work in as little as 10 days for office type work, but 6 weeks for heavy work. What you describe sounds like a 4 to 6 weeks recovery period before working, perhaps on the shorter part of that range if you can get help for the heaviest lifting.


Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Activity after Tummy Tuck

I suggest to all of my patients that they wait at least two weeks before doing any heavy lifting.  Of course, it greatly depends on many factors, i.e. exactly how extensive your abdominoplasty surgery was and how heavy the loads of laundry are.  I also tell my patients that after the two week period we will take it a step at a time, and make various determinations regarding lifting etc at each postoperative visit. 

Jonathan Ross Berman, M.D. , F.A.C.S.

Jonathan Berman, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Strenuous work after tummy tuck

Each case is different, and you will need to follow the postoperative instructions of your surgeons. Generally, you can prepare to resume lighter activities a week to 2 weeks after surgery. However, more strenous lifting and ironing should wait at least 4 - 6 weeks.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Return to strenuous work 4-6 weeks post surgery

I would realistically plan on 4-6 weeks to return to full duty with your line of work.  Yes with a sedentary job most of my patients return to work after 7-10 days but with more strenuous work I suggest 4-6 weeks.  Your plastic surgeon should be able to give you an exact guideline based on how much abdominal repair you need.

Milind K. Ambe, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

If you have a very active job, I recommend you wait 6-8 weeks before returning after tummy tuck.

Thank you for your question.

If you have a very active job, I recommend you wait 6-8 weeks before returning.

Discuss this with your plastic surgeon. Best of Luck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Heavy lifting after tummy tuck

Hi, you seem to have a pretty physical job so the usual recommendation is to wait at least 6 weeks before heavy lifting, but please check with your surgeon as he is the only one able to give you the best advise based on your surgery and postop course.

Antoine A. Hallak, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Returning to Strenuous Activity after Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Thank you for the question.

Your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to guide you in regards to return to activity and work after your tummy tuck operation. Much of his/her recommendations will likely depend on how well you do after surgery and whether or not you experience any complications.

Assuming that when you return to work you will be doing strenuous activity, I would suggest that you wait at least 6 to 8 weeks before returning to that type of work.  Keep in mind, that many patients ( and even surgeons) underestimate the amount of recovery time that is really involved after the tummy tuck operation.

Given that you are about to undergo a major operation,  afew  additional 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 1,488 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.