What is recovery time for TT?

I am getting a TT and lipo soon and am trying to figure out how much time off from work I need.. I am a sonographer and work in a hospital. I push a machine around throughout the day, beds, wheel chairs and sometimes have to assist a patient with moving. I don't want to have to be off from work too long.

Doctor Answers 9

What is recovery time for tummy tuck?

The recovery experience will vary from one patient to another but, generally speaking, the recovery experience associated with tummy tuck or mommy makeover surgery is often underestimated by patients. In other words, it is a significant operation associated with a significant recovery, both from the physical (and often) emotional standpoints.  It is not unusual for some patients to require several months before they regain preoperative strength/stamina/energy levels.   What I have observed  is that many patients are about 70 to 80% of their energy level at the 4 to 6 weeks post op period and may require 3 to 4 months before they are 100%.  Again, it is not unusual for patients to experience significant emotional "ups and downs" as well.

Therefore, I think it is best to prepare for a “recovery” of  at least 4 weeks after tummy tuck surgery.   Most patients require at least 2 to 4 weeks off work (possibly longer for patients with relatively strenuous occupations like yours), depending on their job requirements;  I also ask patients to have full-time help for at least one to two weeks after the procedure is performed. Of course, experiences will vary from one patient to another but (again) many patients do not return to full strength and stamina for several months after the procedure is performed. Descriptions of recovery times shorter than this, in my opinion, are over-promising.



I have attached some advice I provide to my patients prior to undergoing mommy makeover surgery:

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.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery

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. Any sexual activity should be avoided for a minimum of two weeks. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel 

Double board Certified 

Plastic Surgeon 

Hoffman Estates 




Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recommended Recovery Time

With any procedure, there is simply always going to be patient variation for recovery time as the amount of work and healing process for each patient is unique. On average, I advise my patients that they should be able to return “back to work” in 2-3 weeks. Typically a full recovery is about 6 weeks long. During this time, any heavy lifting or stress on your core is restricted. Please consider this while planning for your surgery and making a commitment to returning to your regular routine. Be sure to discuss your options with a board-certified plastic surgeon for a personalized post-surgery recovery recommendation.

Jay Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery Time

On average, it takes 4-6 weeks to heal from a tummy tuck.  In general, heavy lifting greater than 15-20 pounds should be avoided during this timeframe, assuming abdominal work such as a plication or muscle tightening was done during your procedure.

Bryan Armijo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Tummy Tuck- Return to Work


Thank you for your question. Generally 2-3 weeks would be advised, depending on the level of activity associated with your job. When you do return to work, it is important that you modify your routine according to your surgeon's advised activity restrictions. I do not allow strenuous activity and heavy lifting for 6 weeks post Tummy Tuck. Talk to your Plastic Surgeon about your goals and expectations.

All the best

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

What is recovery time for TT?

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

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Recovery time

Thank you for your question. Recovery from a tummy tuck progresses in stages. The first week, you feel pretty sore and need to pretty much stay close to the house. You may or may not have a drain in place, if so, it usually remains for about one week. By the second week you are feeling better, are standing upright and your need for pain medication should be dwindling and you should be transitioning to Tylenol or motrin alone for pain relief.

By four weeks you can begin low impact exercise, walking, treadmill, stationary cycle and by six weeks you can typically return to full activity and exercise. This is all predicated on all the incisions healing well and no wound healing issues are present.

Good luck with your surgery, 


J. Michael Morrissey, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

What is recovery time for tummy tuck?

thank you for your question.  It generally takes 2 weeks to feel better and for discomfort to abate.  However vigorous physical activity or heavy weight lifting usually should not be done for 6 weeks.  However the most important thing is for you to follow the advice of your chosen plastic surgeon.

Tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.

It is important to consult with your surgeon about their post-operative instructions, as each surgeon has slightly different post-operative protocols. I would suggest taking at minimum, 3 weeks before returning to work. Some patients require 4-6 weeks before they feel ready to perform their daily work requirements. Seeing as you have a little more of a strenuous job, I would recommend being put on limited duties for the first 7-10 days after you return. Best of luck.


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

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.