Do you think it is possible to return to work 4 weeks post op from a mommy makeover?

My surgery is scheduled for January 19, 2017. I will be having a full tummy tuck, liposuction to flanks, and replacing saline implants with larger silicone implants using the same pocket. I am concerned that 4 weeks won't be enough healing time to return to work as a massage therapist in a busy chiropractic/rehabilitation center. Thoughts?

Doctor Answers 22

Do you think it is possible to return to work 4 weeks post op from a mommy makeover?

The tummy tuck is a major operation associated with major physical and emotional recovery time. As you can imagine, every patient's experience will differ 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 2-3 weeks after surgery; more strenuous activity (such as your job) may require 4 to 6 weeks of time off (or longer).  In my opinion, promises of returning to work earlier than this is overpromising.



If you do decide to return to work as scheduled, do not be surprised if you fatigue much quicker;  probably best not to return to longer shifts immediately.  Generally, it may take patients several months before they are back to full strength and stamina.


For the sake of patients considering the tummy tuck surgery in the future: it is 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.

Mommy makeover recovery

Four weeks should be an adequate amount of time for you to recover before returning to work.  If possible, you may want to return the first week on a part time basis as you may find you tire more easily.  Discuss your recovery plans with your surgeon as he/she is most familiar with your surgical plan and will best be able to advise you of expected recovery.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Dr. Derby Sang

Thank you for your question.

The recovery after a TT is a process that can last up to 6 months. During the first month post- op inflammation will diminish greatly , but then a residual inflammation that remains will go more slowly disappearing over the following months . On pain , patients manifest the greatest degree of discomfort in the first two weeks . After these weeks, the pain is much less and the patients feel very well.

Best of luck

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Returning to Work and Activity Post Mommy Makeover

The Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures to bring a woman’s body back to the way she looked prior to pregnancy. Most commonly some variation of a #TummyTuck and #BreastSurgery are performed. Additional procedures can include liposuction, umbilical hernia repair.  The most common #breastprocedures include #mastopexy or #breastlift, #breastaugmentation, or #breastreduction.    

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. 
As I advise my patients, 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 any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Return to work

I would say that the vast majority of patients undergoing the procedures that you describe are able to return to work in 4 weeks time. Recognize that everyone is different in their ability to recover and requirements for your job also dictate whether you are able to return to work.

Best of luck!

Joel M. Stewart, Jr., MD
Newnan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Mommy Makeover

Thank you for your question.

Depending on your recovery, It is reasonable to think you can return to work 4 weeks after surgery, Check with your surgeon for his/her post op restrictions and instructions. Best wishes.

Do you think it is possible to return to work 4 weeks post op from a mommy makeover?

Everyone will have a different postoperative protocol.  I would recommend that you ask your surgeon.  

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Mommy makeover recovery

Thank you for your question. The best person to advice you will be your specific surgeon as he or she will have a better understanding on your recovery and every surgeon has a different recovery protocol. I advice my patientsthey can return to light activities almost immediately after surgery, normal activities 2 weeks after surgery, and vigorous exercise 4 weeks after surgery.  We usually experience a slow steady improvement for 3 months or so after surgery. So after 4 weeks of recovery you should be ok to return to your  massage therapist job as long as everything has healed correctly. That said, you definitely have to choose your surgeon correctly and make sure that he/she has the training and experience to meet your goals with absolute safety.  Best is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with specialized expertise in this procedure.

Recovery after MM

Between the breast revision and body contouring (lipo and TT), I would wager that the trunk would be the "bottle neck" in your recovery, especially if any musculofascial laxity is scheduled for repair.  Assuming that your implant exchange is simple, you have a problem free recovery and consult your PS, I believe that 30 days recovery is realistic, even given your career as a massage therapist.  Do follow his/her advice and good luck!

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Mommy Makeover /Breast Augmentation/Breast Implants/Anatomic Gummy Bear Implants/Tummy Tuck/Liposuction/BBL

I appreciate your question.

I would recommend that you discuss this question with your surgeon as every surgeon has their own respective post op protocol for his/her patients.  Your surgeon is your best resource as he/she is most familiar with your medical history and how you will be healing following surgery.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

#RealSelf100Surgeon

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.