Tummy Tuck Downtime - Why Was So Much Time Needed?

I Had a Friend Who Had a Tummy Tuck - They Told Her 2 Weeks , She Was off 1 Month WHY?

Doctor Answers 13

Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty Downtime

The amount of time it takes to recover from an abdominoplasty is highly variable and depends upon the individual and the amount of muscle tightening that is down during the surgery.  While four weeks to recover and get back to work after an abdominoplasty is certainly longer than most it is not unreasonable.  The most important factor in recovering from a tummy tuck is not to do any heavy lifting or core work for 6 weeks in order to give the muscle repair time to fully heal.

Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Tummy tuck downtime

It depends on exactly what kind of "tummy tuck" the person is having, and what kind of work they do.  For a patient having a full abdominoplasty with tightening of the fascia (muscle layer) and who does anything physical at work, it is unreasonable to expect to be back in two weeks.  Every patient is different, though.  The main thing is that if overly physical activity or lifting is done too soon it can cause disruption of the muscle repair.

Malik Kutty, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tummy Tuck Downtime?

Thank you for the question.

The tummy tuck operation is a major operation that significantly changes  the patient's anatomy and involves significant dissection and wound healing postoperatively.  The amount of  post operative (physical and emotional)  recovery should not be underestimated by surgeons or patients.

I tell all patients undergoing tummy tuck surgery to expect at least 4 to 6 weeks of relative “downtime”. Some patients are pleasantly surprised when they are able to return to functioning sooner  but it is better to plan for a longer recovery.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Tummy tuck

Everyone will heal at different rates and have different levels of pain tolerance. Most patients can return to work after a week if they have a desk type of job but they will still be a little sore. If you have a more active job with lifting you may need several more weeks to heal.

David E. Kim, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 99 reviews

Downtime is not a bad thing

Every surgery aims to correct or improve certain things.  When surgery involves cutting and sewing of active muscles, the muscles need more time to heal than skin and fat.  Think of the professional ball player that undergoes surgery on their knee.   Healing time for the surgery is at least 3-5 weeks.   Tummy tuck surgery involves cutting fat, skin and sewing muscle.   The skin is stretched and secured with sutures.   These sutures have good strength but the entire length of the incision has to heal.  Good nutrition, bed rest, and healing time are necessary.   

Depending on the individual and their normal activity level, different individual take different times to heal.   The last tummy tuck patient I operated on enjoyed competitve tennis.  

prior to surgery, she was told she would not be able play tennis for 4 weeks.  At four weeks, I evaluated her in the office and asked her to hold off for one more week.   Another woman who was an attorney, was able to resume her usual daily activities----mostly desk work by 14 days.  

The best answer is one that is best for the patient.   Every patient is different; having different life experiences, different lifestyles and different  expectations.   Our job is to help the patient understand this.  We help lay out the road map prior to the surgery.

Jonathan Berman, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Recovery from an Abdominoplasty

TTs come in all sizes and shapes as do patients and their circumstances.  There seems to be a wide range of recovery time with this procedure.  In part it depends on whether the muscle is tightened and how much.  The length of the incision seems to matter less as it is the muscle that hurts the most.  The biggest variation seems to be in patient tolerance.  Some of us have better pain thresholds than others.  Two to four to even six weeks is about normal, but I have had patients back to work in a week after a full TT and others complain for 2 months from the same procedure.  If other things are done at the same time it slows recovery more.  You will need your arms much more after a TT to get up and down.  If you have breast surgery, too you will be more incapacitated.  What you are going back to also makes a difference.  If you are going to be sitting at a desk all day you will be able to do that sooner than if you are on your feet moving all the time.  I always tell patients it wil  take longer than they think.  I learned this myself after two c-sections and a TT.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Recovery from surgery

Every patient is different in terms of recovery required.  Just as patients come in every shape and size, the surgery performed has to be customized for each patient.  A larger patient most likely will require a longer recovery than a small patient since the procedure will be different in the smaller patients.  Additionally, regardless of what procedure was performed, patients react differently to the stress of surgery.  Finally, rarely there are issues after surgery which take longer to heal.  So, your doctor can give you an estimate or average, but you need to remember that everyone is different.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Downtime with Tummy Tuck

The time off work following a tummy tuck varies a good deal.  Motivated patients who work at desk jobs may be able to return to work after 10-14 days.  Others whose occupations involve lifting or straining may need 4-6 weeks off work.  Delayed wound healing or other problems may prolong these times.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

The wide range of downtime after tummy tuck

We often recommend two weeks after tummy tuck, and this is about right for most. We also have some be out and about after one week, and a few who may require three to four weeks. Like most things, recovery will follow a bell curve, most in the middle, some at either end. Your friend is not wrong, or especially slow, if she needed the four weeks to get back to things, she is just at the further end of the curve.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Tummy Tuck Downtime - Why Was So Much Time Needed?

We give a range in "downtime" following a TT. It is based upon many factors, like age, weight, muscle repair, lipo, etc. So the range is 2 weeks to 6 weeks. Average time is 3 to 4 weeks. This allows full healing of the lifted tissues. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 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.