What To Really Expect? Is A Tummy Tuck Recovery Really As Agonizing As Patients Say? (photo)

my questions are: can you honestly tell me what to expect in recovery? it doesnt seem like too many drs talk about the lonliness, depression and agonizing pain. some bloggers have said they still cant walk straight after 4 weeks.how much time should i expect to take off work.(im a hairstylist) also what is a pain pump, and how long is it safe to stay medicated? what kind of help will i need the first week? for example. going to bathroom? or just getting up? am i a good candidate for tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 5

Tummy Tuck

Every patient recovers differently with every surgery. Patients who are younger, healthier and within a normal BMI tend to recover easier and faster. Recovery without any complications, I recommend standard 2 to 3 weeks off from work. Being that you are a hair-stylist, you may need a month. Most patients are able to stand straight after about 3 weeks. On average, patients take pain medication for 1 to 2 weeks. It has been reported that the pain medication can cause depression so we recommend switching to tylenol as soon as you can.


Looking at your photos, with your loose skin a wall laxity, you seem like a good candidate for surgery. It is very important that you are done having children and have someone to help you for about 2 weeks after surgery.


I would go over all of your concerns with your plastic surgeon before making a final decision. It is best to be well informed before proceeding with any surgery. I hope that you find this helpful.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

What it really is like after tummy tuck

The truth is that most of our patients are up and out a week following tummy tuck. The procedure can be performed without drains and you can be up walking and in the shower the day after. Pain control has been good with medication and some will transition to a non narcotic medication after the first week. Light exercise comes after three weeks and full by six to eight. Each practice will have a routine that works for them.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Dear Boobenstein,


Let me start by mentioning that without a physical examination, it is not possible to determine you candidacy for a tummy tuck.
So, it is good if you could seek consultation with several board certified surgeons of ample experience.


Every patient is different in terms of recovery time.
Nonetheless, an average of 10 days should be enough to resume activities close to normal excluding heavy lifting and strenuous exercise using the abdominal muscles.


The first 4-5 days post-surgery are marked by a bent posture usually.


Pain killers are mostly consumed during the first week post-surgery.


Sexual activity could be resumed within 15 days post-surgery but at a comfortable intensity.


Thank you for your question and for sharing good photographs.

Best of wished to you.
Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

What to expect for tummy tuck recovery.

Thank you for your question.  In general, these are your activity restrictions with a tummy tuck:


Walk as soon as possible, as this helps reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots.
Do not drive until you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications.
Do not drive until you have full range of motion with your arms.
No lifting greater than 10 lbs. for 6 weeks.
Resume sexual activity as comfort permits, usually 2-3 weeks after surgery.
Avoid straining of abdominal muscles. No strenuous activity or exercise for 6-8 weeks.
No swimming for 6 weeks.
Return to work in 2-4 weeks.
Physical therapy is not typically necessary after this procedure.


Discuss your restrictions with your plastic surgeon.


To be sure, see two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery. I hope this helps

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

What To Really Expect? Is A Tummy Tuck Recovery Really As Agonizing As Patients Say?

That is an awful lot of questions and I suspect the answers vary from one surgeon to the next. You need to speak with your surgeon for his answers. My experience in doing tummy tucks for thirty years is modest discomfort for two to three days for most patients that use a pain pump. But everyone is different in how they respond to pain and you know that answer from your personal experience. Most patients walk bent over for 3-7 days and are back at work in two weeks. Make sure you pick a surgeon that not only uses pain pumps but also closes with progressive advancement sutures.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 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.