Back to Work One Week Post TT?

Since my husband and I work together and carpool, and I have a desk job, is it possible I could have a tummy tuck and take just one week off of work?

Doctor Answers 29

Take two weeks off for a tummy tuck!

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I routinely perform abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) with liposuction and I think it is important to plan to have two weeks off.  I have had patients that went back to work at one week and I think they did fine, but really most of them wished they had taken a second week off.  Even at a desk job, prolonged sitting can be quite uncomfortable after a tummy tuck and it is something to expect.  If you attempt to go back at one week, you will not have your "usual" stamina and may have to shorten your days or leave early.  Everyone has different "pain thresholds" and there is some variation, but I really cant remember anyone that wasnt glad they had that second week off.  I hope this helps!



James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Back to Work One Week Post Tummy Tuck?

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The tummy tuck is a major operation associated with major physical and emotional recovery time.  As you can imagine, every patient's experience differs after the procedure. Therefore, return to work times will differ from one patient to another. Ultimately, your plastic surgeon will be your best resource when it comes to guiding you; he/she will see how you are doing and whether or not you have experienced any complications or set backs.  Generally speaking, most patients are able to return to a “desk job” about 2 weeks after surgery; more strenuous activity may require 4 to 6 weeks of time off (or longer).

Since you considering undergoing a major operation which again involves a significant physical and emotional recovery ( often underestimated by surgeons and patients alike), a few 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, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

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Not all Tummy Tucks are alike and not all women heal at the same rate or return to the same level of activity. While some women can return to desk jobs in as early as 7 days, it is best to allow yourself a more realistic period of 10 - 14 days off. You can always return to work sooner if you are feeling up to it. Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Recovery Time after Tummy Tuck Varies

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The time required to remain off work following a TT varies, both with patients as well as job requirements.  It certainly is possible that you could return to a desk job one week post-op if you husband drives you.  I would plan on 10-14 days, however, and return a bit early if your surgeon concurs.  Some patients whose jobs entail lifting and straining may need 4-6 weeks before returning to work.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Don't Rush Recovery After Tummy Tuck

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Is a Week Enough Recovery Time after Tummy Tuck?
A week is too short for adequate recovery from a tummy tuck. 2 weeks minimum is recommended for sedentary jobs and only if approved by your surgeon. 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.
Since your job keeps you sedentary, you may plan on returning 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.

When to go back to work after a tummy tuck

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Patients who have this procedure should anticipate a significant recovery process. In our practice, we tell patients that their recovery time will depend on the procedures that we perform as part of the surgery, their own physical health, and the rate at which the body heals. Many of our patients are able to return to work 10 to 14 days after surgery. We ask all patients to take at least two weeks off after the surgery for a recovery. If they heal rapidly and feel like they are ready to return to work with a low activity level, such as a desk job with no lifting, they may return to work earlier than the four weeks. We always advise patients to take off more time than they think is necessary as it is usually easier to return to work sooner rather than later.

Return to work after a tummy tuck

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A one week return to work after a TT is a bit ambitious as you will find out after the surgery is done.  You will slow the overall recovery down by not giving the early recovery the necessary time.  I'd wait 10-14 days if I were you.

Return to work after tummy tuck

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Each patient is different and can tolerate a different level of discomfort (which in the case of an abdominoplasty, also depends on how much the abdominal tissue was tightened). For most people with desk jobs, a return to work after 1 week is reasonable. You have someone to drive you to work so that should make it easier. As you recover and return to work activities, make sure you are not taking any narcotic medications that could affect your driving or decision making ability.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

TT recovery

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The recovery from an abdominoplasty varies on many things, including whether their is need for rectus muscle plication.  This part of the procedure can cause more discomfort and lengthen recovery time.  If this is not required, it is not unreasonable for a patient to return to a desk job after one week but I always recommend 10-14 days.  Every patient heals differently and interprets pain in their own way, so recovery and functional capacity vary among each individaul. Best of luck.

Returning to Work After Tummy Tuck

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You should be OK to return to a desk job 7-10 days after your tummy tuck surgery.  You may still have a drain in place and you may get tired at work easily.  Remember, you are still healing from your procedure.  But talk to your surgeon to get his/her thoughts. 

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.