How long to before an event to have a tummy tuck?

I'm 26 and currently down 30 of 65 lbs I'd like to lose total. Based on the deep stretch marks and already somewhat loose skin of my lower abdomen, I'm pretty convinced that I will need a tummy tuck when I reach my goal weight, which, if all goes according to plan, will be around April 1st. I'm a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding at the end of May, so how far in advance of her wedding should I plan on scheduling the surgery so that I won't be super swollen on the day of her wedding?

Doctor Answers 11

Planning For Events Post Tummy Tuck


Thank you for your question. It will be at least 6 weeks post op before you can do any strenuous activity and many patients still have some swelling at that point. The majority of pain and swelling should have resolved by 6-8 weeks however.

I recommend that you discuss your plans and goals with your chosen Plastic Surgeon so that they can help you plan and meet your needs.

All the best

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

8 weeks

If all goes well and you allow yourself a minimum of 8 weeks between your surgery and your friend’s wedding, then that would probably be sufficient. The swelling won’t be totally gone, as it can take a full year for this to occur, but most of it should have subsided. At 8 weeks, you’ll also be able to enjoy yourself without limitations on activity. Of course, it’s always best to ask your surgeon for their advice, as it may be different. 

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

How long to before an event to have a tummy tuck?

Great job on your weight loss so far!  Surgery is best planned when you have reached a stable weight that is within 5-10 pounds of your goal.  At minimum, you want to have your surgery 6 weeks before an event.  Some patients will have persistent swelling for as long as 3-4 months but generally most of the swelling is resolved by 6 weeks.

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Tummy tuck

Thanks for your inquiry, you should do your surgery at least six weeks before the wedding and better yet would be eight weeks. I have link to my website going over early recovery after tummy tuck and congratulations on your weight loss!

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 201 reviews

Estimated Healing Period After Tummy Tuck

Most patients will be placed in an abdominal binder, which they will wear the first week. There is usually a fair amount of swelling and the binder should be opened several times a day so that there are no pressure points. After the first 7 to 10 days the patient is placed in an elastic garment for compression over the next six weeks.

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

If you want to make sure you are healed from a tummy tuck before the wedding you are in, there would not be a guarantee at this point. However, the final decision is always up to you. You are correct in stating that it is best to be at your goal weight before the procedure to help ensure that no additional loose skin would be obtained after your surgery. Good luck!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Timing of procedure

Thank you for your question. Congratulations on your weight loss!  I recommend having your procedure at least 6 weeks in advance of your event to allow for swelling to resolve and in case you have any difficulties with healing.  Best wishes!

Nicholas Tarola, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Planning for tummy tuck

Hi dtromp

Excellent question.

It it generally best to be within about 10 lbs +/- if your target weight, and your weight be STABLE.  The more time between surgery and your event the better. If all goes well, you should be good to go by about 6 weeks.

Regarding swelling, you should expect some to linger for at least a year, albeit, most will be gone by 3 months, and a lot will be gone by one month. 

At about 6 weeks, you should be able to participate in most physical activities without worry, if approached properly.

The big "If" is that if all goes well.  Even today, complications happen.  For the most part, it is safe to say that the most frequent complications are the more minor ones.  However serious complications do occur, and can be devastating and take a long time to recover from.  I recommend that even though it seems like April is forever, schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon who is very experienced caring for people with massive weight loss patients (my definition > 50#) and start making arrangements and setting goals and milestones.  This way, you can be medically and surgically optimized to minimize risks while optimizing chances of an excellent and safe surgical outcome.

All the best neighbor.


Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Tummy Tuck & Event

Thanks for ur question! I get this quite a lot, really. I think that u should give yourself at least 6-8 weeks before any big event to have a tummy tuck: it's probably the longest recovery of any aesthetic plastic surgery that we ABPS plastic surgeons do! And of course, you've gotta realize that it's a real surgery with real risks, & u could always have a setback that could mean having to miss the event. That being said, & in my experience of doing >1,000 tummy tucks, odds r high that u should b good to go & look great for ur event. Best of luck to u!

Robert P. Schmid, MD
Lubbock Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Weight and surgery, some advices:

Thank you very much for this interesting and important question.

Trying to lose weight before a surgical procedure its a very delicate matter, since in many cases a restrictive diet can cause problems, such as anemia, electrolyte disturbances, decreased protein, etc ... retarding the healing process and damaging the surgery.
For these reasons, if your purpose is to lose weight, i recommend you have a BMI less or equal to 30
In this regard, you must to have a support with a nutritionist, so you can achieve the desired goal, in the most healthy way, without incressing complications risks in the plastic surgery to perform.

Kind regards 

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 271 reviews

Planning tummy tuck shortly before a wedding

Thank you for your question about your tummy tuck and the May wedding

  • Let's see if we can help you get these done -
  • Allow ideally 8 weeks between surgery and the wedding.
  • Plan to wear a Spanx or other support garment at the wedding or you may tire easily and swell.
  • For the dress - the fitting will be long before the wedding.'
  • Be sure to wear Spanx or other garment at the fitting and be sure the dress fits - not loose or tight.
  • (You don't want a dress you can't fit in because you didn't lose the weight or the surgery had to be postponed unexpectedly.)
  • Then 3 weeks before the wedding have the dress adjusted - again wearing the Spanx although it may need now to be a smaller size.
  • Now the dress can be fitted snugly if needed as you will be slightly smaller 3 weeks later.
  • have a wonderful time!

Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes, Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 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.