Are my Tummy Tuck Expectations Unrealistic?

I am 30 years old, generally healthy, active, etc. I am going in for my first consult next week for a TT and possible breast augmentation (TT is my priority).

I don't have a lot of time available to take off work and was wondering if it's possible for me to have a TT on a Friday, take the next week off, and return the following Monday (so 9 full days off work). I have a sitting job - not much physical involved, and a co-worker said she'd help me if anything did need lifted or whatever. Is it possible for me to go back to work after 9 days?

My previous surgeries, and recovery, include: c/section - 1994, up and around following day, cleaning hospital room two days later 'cuz I was going stir crazy (LOL) laparoscopic tubal ligation, 2003 - hockey game 3 days later ablation, 2006 - no down time supra-cervical hysterectomy, 2008 - took a week off work and went stir crazy.

Went shopping 3 days post surgery, and while "uncomfortable" was still able to walk the mall and go to a parade later that evening. Any advice is appreciated (and I realize I need to talk to my PS myself).

Doctor Answers 24

You should be fine.

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One to two weeks off from work should be fine for you, especially since you have a sitting job. I have found that if you are an active person, rarely call in sick to work, and get out of bed the first time your alarm goes off in the morning then you are the type of person who will quickly return to your normal activities after a surgery. Good Luck. David Shafer, MD New York City

Possible but not advised

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Hi there- I have done tummy tucks on patients and had them go back to work after 9 days, and for the most part they do fine and still reach their goals eventually, but there is no question in my mind that these patients seem to experience more "bumps in the road" if you will. The increased activity of simply being at work, and the poor attention to nutrition and self-care that it unfortunately often leads to (once we get busy at work, its often hard to pay attention to our nutrition and wound care) seem to cause patients to experience more problems. So, I think you can do it, but if at all possible, I would recommend giving yourself more time.

Recovery post tummy tuck

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A 10 day period of time off is about right for a young, healthy patient with a high pain tolerance, as you seem to have.

Patients should remember to keep their legs elevated during the postoperative period, to stay well hydrated, and take frequent walks, to reduce the chance of pulmonary embolism.

Most patients report that they are very tired by the end of the day that first Monday back at work, but they did it.

Exercise is of course a different matter. We advise our patients to wait 2 weeks before undertaking long walks, and about 6 weeks before starting more vigorous exercise.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 188 reviews

You could probably do it

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Assuming you find an excellent surgeon who does a significant number of tummy tucks, you could be back at a sitting job in 9-10 days. This is especially true if you have a positive and calm personality rather than a negative anxious one.

Realistic Tummy Tuck Recovery time

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Realistic Tummy Tuck Recovery Expectations depend on many factors including speed of healing, extent of surgery, job requirements, etc. Your surgeon should be the one to guide you 
Since your job keeps you sedentary, you potentially could return to work in 10-14 days, with the understanding that you can still have discomfort with motion. Please discuss this with the doctor and the nursing staff. Excess swelling may indicate too much activity. Do not plan on resuming aerobic or strenuous exercise for about 6 weeks after surgery. Let your body tell you what it can do.
Following surgery, you will be walking in a bent-over position to keep tension off the newly tightened skin incision site. 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.

Tummy tuck and breast augmentation recovery

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While 9 days is a reasonable time to recover from a straightforward tummy tuck, it is difficult to determine if that will be your experience given the limited information. Not all tummy tucks are the same and not all recoveries ar the same. I have some patients who drive themselves to the first visit at 3-4 days while others are still in a wheelchair at 3 weeks. Furthermore, you are also adding on a breast augmentation which if implants are placed under the muscle could add significants amount of time to the revcover process.

You should be recovered enough from a tummy tuck 10 days before for a desk job.

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Most patients are drain free and moving about for routine daily activities in 10 days.  You will not be 100% but should be feeling well enough to return to a desk job.  You will probably feel really tired by the end of the day but would not jeopardize the results of the operation.

Recovery post tummytuck and breast augmentation surgery

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Depending on the severity and complexity of the case, many women need about 2 weeks to heal after having multiple procedures such as a tummy tuck and breast augmentation. However, everyones pain tolerance is different and the recovery time may vary as well. Since your job does not require any strenuous activity, you may be able to return to work depending on how you feel during that point of your recovery. Consult with your board certified plastic surgeon before returning to work if you have any concerns or issues. Otherwise, as long as you are not taking any narcotics and you feel up for it, you should be okay. Usually, drains are removed after 2 weeks, so you may expect to have the drains still at that time to prevent any fluid accumulation in the tissues. Also, you are required to stay in a bent "hunched' over position for 4 weeks to prevent any superficial openings and avoid any tension on the incisision. An abdominal binder will be provided for you and will also be worn for 4 weeks to help aid in the healing process and to provide protection and support. Remember that these surgeries are very invasive and you do need to heal to avoid any complications. Good luck to you and take care!

Can you go back to work 9 days after a tummy tuck?

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You sound like you handle pain quite well, given your early return to activity after prior surgeries.  You likely won't have a problem getting back to a desk job after only 9 days.  You should expect to feel quite tired, though, as a tummy tuck is very different surgery from what you've had before.  This early return to work is also predicated upon your having no complications after surgery.  If something unforeseen arises, you may not be able to get back to work so soon.  Most people do fine, though, so it's a chance I personally would take.

Recovery time for a tummy tuck

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By about 2 weeks, most women are back to doing non-stressful daily activities. At 9 days you may be fine for return to your job. I would stress no heavy lifting. You will likely still be in a support garment and I would advise working only part time for the first few days until you are sure you can work a full day. If your muscles are tightened, this can lead to a longer recovery period, so this is important to discuss with your surgeon.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.