When is driving safe after a Tummy Tuck?

I had my TT and lipo on 11/2. Have one drainer that will be removed tomorrow. For the past two days I've only been taking pain meds at bedtime. When is it safe for me to drive short distances?

Doctor Answers 11

Driving After Surgery

It would be wise to avoid driving until you no longer need the pain medication, but speak with your surgeon to get a time frame specific to your healing process.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Driving After TT Surgery

After tummy tuck surgery, patients should avoid driving while taking pain medication because narcotics can impair your ability to respond quickly. Patients typically have activity limitations during the first 6 weeks after their procedure, so consult your board-certified plastic surgeon regarding his or her recommendations for you. Good luck in your recovery!

Jerome H. Liu, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Your plastic surgeon will advise you on when you can drive after tummy tuck.

There are a few factors at play when it comes to deciding when it’s safe to drive following a tummy tuck. From a safety point of view, you must be able to maneuver safely and react to any potential emergencies which may arise during your journey, no matter how short it may be. Secondly, if you are still taking pain meds at all, you should not be driving. Even if you feel safe to drive, narcotic pain medication can hinder your response time and makes getting behind the wheel dangerous. Generally, you can expect to be driving after about 2 weeks.

Lee B. Daniel, MD
Eugene Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

When is driving safe after a Tummy Tuck?

 Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure. Most patients ( assuming they are off “mind altering” medications and can respond to an emergency quickly) are able to drive 2 to 3 weeks after tummy tuck surgery.  Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Driving after tummy tuck?

Thanks for your questions.  I recommend that my patients not drive until they are comfortable behind the wheel and turning side to side without any narcotic pain medication.  Typically this is between 10-14 days after surgery, which you are approaching.

My best advice would be to get behind the wheel after being off narcotic pain medicine at least 8 hours (you may take ibuprofen/tylenol if approved by your surgeon previously), and go through all the motions of driving, putting seat belt on, etc to see if you can do them without major discomfort.  If so, also please check with your surgeon, as they may have specific and different recommendations than the above due to your anatomy/specific procedure performed.

Best wishes!

Dr. Brown

Daniel Brown, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Driving after tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.  Always best to check with your surgeon for specifics, but in my practice I tell patients they can drive after about a week, as long as they are not taking any sedative medications (narcotic pain pills or muscle relaxants) before driving.  Good luck. 

Matthew H. Steele, MD
Sioux City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Driving after Tummy Tuck


Thank you for your question. I do not recommend that my patients drive until they are off of all their pain medications.To be on the safe side you may want to have someone drive you. Contact your plastic surgeon with any questions and concerns.

N. Bill Aydin, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.

I would recommend discussing this with your plastic surgeon but I usually tell my patients that they can drive as soon as they are off all of their narcotic medications and feel comfortable enough to drive. Best of luck in your recovery.

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Driving postop

Drive when you are off pain meds, alert and feel like you are safe to drive.  Basically, common sense approach. Good luck, Jane

Jane M. Rowley, MD
Lubbock Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

1 week postop

It's safe to drive when you are completely off all narcotic pain medication. Best to have someone drive you around until then! Best of luck for great results!

Farah Naz Khan, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 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.