What Can I Expect for Recovery After a Mini Tummy Tuck?

I am an avid runner (run/lift weights every day) and mother of two. I've looked into getting a mini tummy tuck (no lipo, just muscle tightening and a tiny bit of skin removal)...the lower part of my abs do not respond to exercise and I have already had an umbilical hernia repair three years ago. How much recovery time will I need before returning to running? I trained for and ran a marathon over a year ago and have kept up the routine ever since...don't want to start all over again.

Doctor Answers 5

Recovery From a Tummy Tuck, Mini or Full with Muscle Repair

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This is a great question since so many woman want a tummy tuck, have worked hard to get in shape and do not want to sit around for 6 weeks after surgery and let their conditioning drop off.  If you have a rapid recovery protocol combined with a NO Drain technique, you will find that you can get back to working out very quickly.  I usually allow my patients to get back to the gym at a week.  At that time they start on limited exercises such as a spin bike, light lap swimming or the elliptical machine.  Fast walking works as well.  From there, my patients start working up to harder exercise.  The only restriction I place on them is to be careful with their abdomen (avoid heavy duty crunches and lifting) and let pain be their guide.

I have added a video that speaks to this issue for you

Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

What Can I Expect for Recovery After a Mini Tummy Tuck

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It takes 6 weeks for the strength of the healing wound to reach 90% of the maximum that it will attain, and by that time you should be able to be running. Your surgeon may let you start at 4 weeks if all is well. I usually let my patients walk as much as they wish using pain as the limiting factor. 

Good luck, thanks for your question.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Recovery After Mini Tummy Tuck

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Your plastic surgeon is the best person to guide you on your recovery as techniques to vary.  In general after a mini-TT, I recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for approximately 4 weeks.  You need to give time for your incisions to heal.  Hope this helps.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Running after Mini Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question. Your plastic surgeon will guide you during your recovery process. How soon you will be able to return to activities will depend on how you are progressing and whether or not you experience any complications.

Most of my patients are not able to return to running for at least 6 weeks after surgery. Generally speaking, many patients tend to underestimate the amount of recovery time necessary after tummy tuck surgery.

A few other words of advice may be helpful to you:

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  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 helps.

Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery

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Most of my patients could resume a desk job in about 1 week but no heavy lifting for 8 weeks.  You would probably feel like resuming running in about 4 weeks.  Please let me know if you have any further questions.  You can also find more information on my website.



Gary Hall,MD

Gary Hall, MD (retired)
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon

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.