I work in a hospital and don't want my job to know I'm getting a tummy tuck, what should my time off request say?

I work in the ICU department of my hospital which is really small and everybody talks about everybody else's business. So I really don't want to tell exactly what I'm having surgery for, but I told my direct supervisor that I'm having surgery but not what for and unfortunately somehow everybody else knows too. So my question is what can I have the doctor put on my letter to request time for short term disability or FMLA and how much time do I need off

Doctor Answers 12


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I'm not aware of any FMLA that applies to cosmetic procedures.  I would be weary about putting anything down on a legal document that wasn't exactly what was done.  Most of my patients save up their leave or vacation time and have their cosmetic surgeries.  I would say 2 weeks off for a tummy tuck would be a good guideline.  Hope this helps.


Recovering from a Mommy Makeover & Returning to Activity

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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.

I work in a hospital and don't want my job to know I'm getting a tummy tuck, what should my time off request say?

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Thank you for your question. Every surgeon has their own protocols and recovery time varies from person to person. I would recommend speaking to your plastic surgeon about your procedure and recovery to get an idea of how much time you should take off work. 

All the best, 

Recovery time

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You are going to want to take off at least 2 weeks. And then you will need to take it easy for another 4. Hope this helps. 
My best,
Dr. Sheila Nazarian
@drsheilanazarian on Instagram

I work in a hospital and don't want my job to know I'm getting a tummy tuck, what should my time off request say?

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Recovery time following a tummy tuck depends primarily on how extensive the procedure is, whether the abdominal muscle was repaired, and your individual ability to heal. It also depends on your type of work. Following a tummy tuck, most patients are able to work at home during the first week and resume returning to work at a sedentary job in 1-2 weeks. However, in a patient with a strenuous job requiring heavy lifting, I would recommend waiting 4-6 weeks.

You should discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon, who should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person. It is important to follow all of his or her instructions.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

I work in a hospital and don't want my job to know I'm getting a tummy tuck, what should my time off request say?

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I think it is best to prepare for a “recovery” of a least 4 weeks after tummy tuck surgery. Descriptions of recovery times shorter than this, in my opinion, is over-promising. Your plastic surgeon, knowing exactly what procedures are planned will be your best guide when it comes to estimated time off your specific occupation. Best wishes.

Time off after Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for your question.
Tummy tuck surgery recovery can vary widely depending on the type and degree of tummy tuck you are considering.   If you are planning to undergo a full tummy tuck with muscle tightening,  I tell my patients who will be working on their feet ( which you will in ICU), that they need to allow at least 4 weeks prior to returning to work.  At the four week mark you still will not be 100 percent as your body is still healing ( and will continue for many months).  What patients experience at 4 weeks is that as the day goes on they develop increased swelling in the lower part of their abdomen.  As a result, this area feels tight and more irritated.  Plan to wear full supportive compressive hose and garments when you return to work to minimize these symptoms.   Make certain you discuss recovery  with your chosen board certified plastic surgeon. Good Luck. 

Carlin Vickery, MD (retired)
New York Plastic Surgeon

TT time off

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Thank you for your question. You are not required to tell anyone about specifics of your surgery. If you are in ICU you may need to turn the patients sometime and recommend 4 weeks time off

Time off

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I guess you should probably take at least 2 weeks off of work and you could tell them you were having hernia surgery whatever.

TT Recovery

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We recommend four weeks if you have muscle repair and two weeks if you do not; in general, I feel that six weeks would be a maximum. Please see link below for free cheat sheet to "7 keys to a great tummy tuck".

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.