How long would you recommend someone take off work for a Tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 24

How long would you recommend someone take off work for a Tummy tuck?

Thank you for your question.

Typically, it takes 2 full weeks to recover to return to a non physically demanding job. Personal pain tolerance should be taken into account as well before moving forward.

Best wishes to you and happy healing.


Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Working after Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. Depending on the extent of your abdominoplasty and your general physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work anywhere from one to three weeks after surgery. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after a few weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort and swelling during this time, but such feelings are normal. Best of luck! 
Dhaval M. Patel 
Double board certified
Plastic surgeon
Hoffman Estates 
Barrington
Oakbrook
Chicago

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Time off from Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question.

After a #tummytuck #surgery, #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 can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

I suggest waiting 6 weeks before returning to full activity without restrictions.

Ask your #BoardCertified #PlasticSurgeon what they recommend.

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

Recovery from TT

Every patient is different highly motivated patients return to work with their drain in place. Most patients require at least a week and most are back to work after 2 weeks. I request that they do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for one month. 

Ralph M. Rosato, MD
Vero Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck): Post Operative Instructions

Dear Aisha34,

Thank you for your questions.
Every one responds a little different and requires a varied recuperation peroid.

Most patients are nearly self sufficient after the 5 th postoperative day and return to non demanding physical jobs in 2 weeks.

You may need help with transportion needs for follow up visits and if taking narcotics.

The following are my personal instructions. Specifics, additions or deletions may vary depending on your surgeons preferences.

I will break it down into three peri operative time periods:
I. PREOPERATIVE
a. 30 Days Before
1) start iron pill 325 mgm (over the counter) a day (builds up blood). May turn stools
black and cause constipation.
2) start multivitamin (provides nutrients for healing) no mega E can cause bleeding.
3) stop any hormonal birth control or post menapausal female hormones (increase risk of blood clots).
4) stop any over the counter supplements (can cause unknown problems).
5) if you have had Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) start on 100 grams of protein
per day.
6)stop smoking. No exceptions.
7)if over age 45 or medical issues our surgery center recommends a preoperative
clearance by your primary care phyiscian with basic labatory data.

b. 14 Days Before
1) if over age 45 or medical issues provide preoperative clearance letter with labatory
data for your surgeon.
2) visit with your Plastic Surgeon who will provide prescriptions (for before and after
surgery), counseling and educational materials. Discuss what medications are ok to
continue or stop. Bring list of questions.
3) stop shaving around pubic area (razor blade shaving causes small cuts that can
harbor bacteria and increase infection rate).
4) NO aspirin, Alleve, Motrin (can interfere with normal clotting) use only plain
Tylenol (will not interfere with normal clotting) or pain medication prescribed by your
Plastic Surgeon.
5) make arrangements for drop off, pickup and child care.

c. 4 days before
1)start bromelian and arnica as directed (anti brusing and swelling).
2) purchase 2 large bags of frozen peas or corn (Costco size). Can have one in pillow case and place over abdomen and change out with second one (in freezer) when thawed.
3)purchase any needed food, supplies and verify with your postoperative support team
yours/their schedule.
4) no shaving of pubic area (can increase infection rate) Operating Staff will clip pubic hair if needed.

d. 3 Days Before
1) start anti bacterial decolonization showers
2) topical antibiotics
d. Day before
1)have precscriptions filled.
2)bed, recliner, pillows, foam wedges etc ready.
3)make sure you location of surgicenter, see if you can obtain any of Surgicenters
required preoperative paperwork to fill out prior to arriving on the day of surgery.
4)call surgicenter for you expected time of arrival
5) have or purchase bell to ring (if you need assistance after surgery) to notify your support team

e. Night before
1)make out a list of any "last minute" questions, your needs, wants, desires and
expectations of the surgery.
2)I have my patients complete a preoperative ennema (decreases fecal load)
for postoperative constipation (from pain meds) and potentially reduces risk of
blood clots (hard stool pressing on intra abdominal viens during tightening of the
muscles).
3)take a shower with antiseptic solution and scrub entire body well.
4) no alcohol containing drinks.
5) nothing by mouth after midnight or 8 hours prior to surgery (unless instructed so
by surgicenter).

II Operative day
1)awake and take second shower and scrub the surgical area
2)check your list (bring model photos demonstrating your desires).
3)place anti nausea patch behind ear (prevents nausea).
4)take all necessary medications with sips of water.
5)if anxiety may take 5 mgm of Valium with a sip of water.
6)remove all piercings, jewelry, "booby pins" from hair and body.
7) no make up and remove nail polish (intraoperative monitoring).
8) button down or zipper blouse/shirt, sweat pants or stretchable pants.
9)go over your list with Plastic Surgeon and Anesthesia provider.
10) reaffirm with surgicenter when your postoperative care provider should be at
the surgicenter for postoperative education and instructions.
11) ask to have deep vien precautions (DVT). I personally give 5,000 units heparin,
TED hose, and sequential compression device (before, during and after surgery).

III Postoperative
a) immediate
1) communicate with your recovery room nurse (pain, nausea, etc).
2) do what you are asked to do.
3) I provide a abdominal binder (check with your surgeon for their preference).

b) discharge
1) anti DVT program: leg/foot exercises, TED hose, and (I send home with)
portable SCD device to be used for two weeks after surgery. Get out of bed and
walk around house every 1-2 hours while not sleeping. Leave SCD on while
sleeping or resting for next two weeks.
2)incentive spirometer every hour after surgery (improves breathing after general
anesthesia.
3) if drains used measuring cup and chart for recording out put as directed.
4)Foley catheter: I personally send home with and have patient remove 6 hours
after surgery (some patients develop urinary retention while general anesthesia
wears off and will require re-cathederazation.
5) walking in haunched over position. I provide a walker for my patients.
6) bed position "lazy boy" postion (use recliner, hospital bed or pillows/foam
wedges).
7)diet progressive to prevent nausea: clear liquids (gatoraide, broth, tea) for first
8 hours, liquid diet next 8 hours (soups,pudding,yogurt), soft diet for next 8
hours (well cooked oatmeal or pasta) after 24 hours regular diet.
Start stool softeners and anti constipation program.
8)Pain management: I personally inject long acting local pain reducers into the
surgical area and provide a postoperative non narcotic pain reliever that lasts
several days. It is ok to start using aspirin, Alleve, Motrin after surgery and
alternate with oral narcotics. Do not take pain medications on a empty stomach.
Crackers before and after medications (to prevent nausea and upset stomach).
9)incentive spirometer: helps open up the small breathing units found within the
lungs that collapse during general anesthesia . Use once an hour while awake
until you are abel to obtain preoperative values.

c)first four post operative days.
1) wear SCD's 24 hours a day, anti DVT excercises every hour
2) use incentive spirometer (it opens up small breathing units in your lungs) once a hour until you reach your preoperative values
3) walk hunched over (use walker provided) and sleep in the "fetal position" using recliner or wedges/pillows.
4)if unable to have a bowel movement start over the counter laxatives and stool softeners.

d)5 th day to two weeks
1)no restrictions in sleeping postion or standing up straight. Use walker only as needed.
2)non narcotic pain pump to be be removed
3)may shower but keep incision and drain exit sites dry (let shower spray back side and sponge bath front side.
4)may remove SCD during ambulation but wear at all times when not
5)progressive ambulation and stretching to point of pain and fatigue
6) wean off narcotic pain pills and replace with Tylenol, Motrin or Aspirin like over the counter medications.
7)may drive as tolerated (must be off narcotics)
8) may switch from provided binder to "spanks" like garmet for comfort and support.
9) may return to work as tolerated

d)after two weeks
1) excercise to point of pain or fatique
2)SCD not required (may continue)
3) report to office when individual drainage less than 25 cc in a 24 hour peroid for serial
removal). May shower without restrictions when drains are all removed.
4) start anti scar programs: start Embrace and silicone gel strips.

e) after six weeks
1) no restriction on excercise (use good judgement).
2)cont to wear "spanks" like garmet for support and swelling (only as needed).
3) it will take 2-3 months for the majority of the swelling to be gone.
4) it will take 9 + months for the scars to "mature" (soften and lighten)
5) enjoy your new body.

I trust you have chosen a experienced Plastic Surgeon who is Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (denoting by membership as having met additional criteria and a focus on Cosmetic Plastic Surgery).

My best wishes,
Dr. R. A. Hardesty, MD, FACS
Diplomate and Certified by the Am. Bd. of Plastic Surgery

How long should you take off from work?

In general, our patients are good to return to work within 7-10 days. We have our patients walking upright the night of surgery but drains may remain for a good 2 weeks. Patients often wear looser tops to hide the drains which can be pinned to your waistband. The compression garment can also easily be worn underneath clothing. Just remember to avoid exercise or any heavy lifting (more than 15-20 lbs.) for a good 6 weeks. Good luck!!!

Post op healing

I would recommend taking off between 2-4 weeks from work depending on whether or not you have a muscle repair. Speak with your surgeon as he or she knows your case intimately. 
My best,
Dr. Sheila Nazarian
@drsheilanazarian on Instagram

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Tummy tuck off of work?

I recommend that you take off 2 weeks if you don't have muscle repair or 4 weeks with a muscle repair. Please see examples below and take advantage of our cheat sheet for "Getting a great result on your tummy tuck".

Arian Mowlavi, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Time off work after tummy tuck

Hello and thank you for reaching out. Time off of work after the tummy tuck procedure depends on what type of job you have and what it entails. If you have a full tummy tuck, or an anterior torsoplasty as we refer to it as, most drains are removed by week 2 and patients are standing fully upright again around week 3. For administrative and desk work, I would suggest 3 weeks, depending on your recovery. For jobs that require heavy lifting or moving, I would suggest anywhere from 4-5 weeks. After 6 weeks, my patients are released with no restrictions. Best Wishes. 

Time off of work after tummy tuck

The answer depends on the type of job that you have and the extent of your surgical procedure. Most patients return to work full-time by 2 weeks after a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). If you have a desk job, you may be able to return to work sooner. Any job that requires heavy lifting should be avoided for 4-6 weeks.

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.