Should I be Able to Walk Straight 3 Days After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

I had the full tummy tuck w/ muscle repair and lipo on upper hips. My pain has been tolerable since day 1 post op and it's day 3 and I am hardly on any pain meds. My drain seems to be leaking less? Am I on the road to recovery or does this seem like it's too early? On a side note, I've been laughing lately and have been trying hard not to (how do I know if i ripped anything inside? like the muscle repair? If that makes any sense?

Doctor Answers 21

Expect at least a week of discomfort after a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is a major operation.  You can expect some discomfort during the first few days, up to a week.

Swelling associated with any surgery tends to peak at postoperative day three (POD3).  During this time you will likely need to take oral pain medication.

After the first week, you may need only Tylenol for discomfort, with stronger pain meds in the late afternoon or at night.  If you are very athletic and your body is used to being stressed physicallyl with regular strenuous exercise, your recovery might be even more rapid!

It is entirely normal to feel like you are unable to stand up straight for up to 10 days after a tummy tuck.  This is because of swelling and the feeling of tightness and numbness after surgery.  However, if you were to stand up straight, you would not do yourself any harm!

The repair of the muscles towards each other (correction of the "rectus diastasis") on the inside is secured by a double layer of sutures and is performed twice, in my practice.  On top of that, the abdominal incision is closed in three distinct layers, so it is quite secure.

My advice to all of my patients is always "listen to your body".  If it hurts, don't do it!  Remember that you have had surgery and you need to allow your body to rest as much as possible.

Karen M. Horton, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C.


San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Rapid recuperation after a tummy tuck. A good sign?

Recuperation from a tummy tuck is so variable among patients. Fortunately, it sounds like yours has progressed quite well - so don't be alarmed. Many patients take a few days or more to be able to ambulate standing up straight.

Make sure that you follow the recommendations of your plastic surgeon including avoiding certain activities for a given period of time. Some patients may feel so well that they can engage in activities that may be detrimental to their healing such as placing too great a strain on their muscle repair. Moderation right now is good.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Ambulation in a flexed position not uncommon...

Most patients experience tightness and difficulty standing straight following abdominoplasty surgery. This typically lasts for about a week, but in some cases can last longer. Initially patients are encouraged to walk in a slightly flexed position to keep tension off the wound closure. This also makes the immediate post-operative period more comfortable. With the passage of time, patients are allowed to gradually resume an erect position and perform light activities. Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least six weeks.
Tightness occurs because of the skin closure, and the plication of the underlying abdominal muscles. The degree of tightness that results varies from patient to patient. It depends upon how aggressively the surgeon has tightened both the skin and underlying muscles. When there is aggressive tightening of the abdominal muscles, there is more post-operative discomfort. Under these circumstances, patients may need to walk in a flexed position for longer periods of time. When more significant skin resections are performed, ambulation in a flexed position will be necessary for longer periods of time.
On a side note your history isn’t consistent with damage to your muscle repair. If you have questions about these topics consultation with your plastic surgeon is appropriate. Your surgeon should be able to answer your questions and alleviate your anxiety.

Should I be Able to Walk Straight 3 Days After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

It has been my experience that operating on well motivated patients who are well educated on what to expect and what to do after their surgery COMBINED with numbing the tightened abdominal wall with a long lasting anesthetic commonly results in rapid recovery. I have not seen people bent over ("L's") in my practice in years.

Nice going!

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Tummy Tuck

It is important not to try to stand straight up in the fist 7-14 days following a tummy tuck.  Tension on the suture line can cause widening of the scar.  Excessive tension can cause a wound disruption.  Even though you are feeling well, try not to overdo it.

Michael Orseck, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Walking and Recovery after Tummy Tuck is Variable

Every body responds differently, both in terms of pain and general recovery after Tummy Tuck.

We encourage walking after Tummy Tuck to prevent complications like pneumonia and blood clots.  Standing straight is guided by how your body feels: don't "push" it.

Sounds like you're doing well! Be careful: Most complications come from doing too much too soon. Let comfort be your guide and remember you just had a big operation.  Closely follow the activity guidelines provided you by your surgeon.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Should I be Able to Walk Straight 3 Days After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Thank you for your question.

After the Tummy Tuck operation the recovery period depends on your physical status, age, general health and condition mainly. The operation itself does not take too long therefore you receive a mild anesthesia. Since the anesthesia that you receive is mild; you will not have problems associated with anesthetic agents after the operation. This is especially important and can be achieved with only a team of plastic surgeons like we have. After the operation you will have stiches and bandages which will be removed after the 10th day. You can start to do your daily activities 3 days after the operation but we do not advise you heavy lifting, running or activities that require excess physical activity. The more you rest, the faster your recovery will be.

Bulent Cihantimur, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Walking straight after tummy tuck

Sounds like you are doing great following your tummy tuck - Congrats.

Typically it takes one to two weeks to feel comfortable standing up straight. Many patients are able to return to work and daily activities within 2 weeks of surgery.  Softening of the surgical scars, return of sensation, and loosening of the tight sensation may take several months. Abdominoplasty recovery can be in some cases slow and uncomfortable requiring more time for a full recovery. Light activity is comfortable in 10-20 days. Sports will be more comfortable after 6 weeks.

 

It is not uncommon to walk slightly bent over or not being able to stand-up straight following a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).

It is not uncommon to walk slightly bent over or not being able to stand-up straight following a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) during the early healing period.  This is a result of tightening the abdominal wall and removing the excess skin.  For more information, see DRMEZROW.com

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Great recovery from a tummy tuck

Some patients are lucky enough to have your kind of recovery.  Just be glad and don't overdo as this will set you back.

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.