Exactly How Long Will I Be Down After Having a Tummy Tuck?

Hello, Thank you for taking the time to help answer my question. I work in construction. I am having a Tummy Tuck to remove stretchmarks and need to know how long the healing process takes. If I have my surgery around April 2, Will I be able to return to work by May. I operate heavy equipment, but sometimes I have to crawl over the machines to oil it up. Please help

Doctor Answers 16

Different Work = Different Return To Work Dates for TT

Down Time after #Tummy Tuck when work is demanding.
Strenuous activity, and lifting more than ten pounds, must be avoided for 6 or more weeks. #Abdominoplasty involves a recovery period of 10 to 14 days longer than most plastic surgical procedures. Initial discomfort and decreased mobility is typical. 3-5 days or more of assistance at home is usually indicated.
You will be encouraged to move and walk regularly starting the day of surgery. Wearing your TED stockings at all times, except while washing, to prevent venous clots (deep vein thrombosis) is mandatory. Light activity is comfortable in 10-20 days. Excess swelling may
indicate too much activity. Do not plan on resuming aerobic or strenuous exercise for about 6 weeks after surgery. Let your body tell you what it can do.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Exactly How Long Will I Be Down After Having a Tummy Tuck?

Let me begin with saying that their is no "exactley " in plastic surgery. Everyone has a different problem, although maybe similar in many cases. It also depends upon your job requirements, your physical condition, age, and expectations for physical activity.

If you have muscle plication (suturing the muscle together), you must take care not to tear the sutures before your body can mend the muscle with proper mature collagen.

In most cases I don't not use drains and that shortens your recovery time and reduces dramatically the complication rate. A specific technique is required for this, however.

Generally, when things go as planned with muscles plicated, one can return to light work in 10 to 14 days or so -- without any heavy lifting. For heavy lifting, you should plan on 6 to 8 weeks. You must start slowly with small amounts to see how it feels and then progress according to how much it seems to strain your abdominal muscles.

If no muscles are plicated, which is not the usual case, you could go back to work in a week if all is going well.

I suggest findinhg someone who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

I hope this helps, and good luck with your procedure.

E. Ronald Finger, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery Time

Good question.  Due to your job demands, you need to plan on 6 - 7 weeks recovery before returning back to heavy work.  This will minimize the risk that you may create undue stress and damage to your surgically repaired areas.  Thanks and best wishes!

Brian Howard, MD (retired)
Alpharetta Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Return to Work after Tummy Tuck

  Given the demands of your work, I would probably recommend 6 weeks off from work after your tummy tuck.  You do not have to have problems with the abdominal wall or your incision afterwards.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Cosmetic Surgery is an Art and a Science

Thanks for the question. Your surgeon can answer these for you as you will have the benefit of an exam. Generally, I advise patients on a 10 day immediate recovery, and 6 weeks rest from sit ups and heavy lifting. In some instances, you can treat this like a hernia repair to determine your time off. Hope I was a help..Thomas Narsete, M.D.    Austin, Texas.

Thomas A. Narsete, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Downtime After Tummy Tuck? #tummytuck

In my practice I have found that the initial stage of healing is 2-3 weeks. During that period the abdomen is sore but improving with time. Drains are in place and usually gone in this time period. The next stage takes you out to about 6 weeks. I have patients use an abdominal binder until that point. From 6 weeks on I allow my patients to re-institute activity at their discretion very slowly.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Tummy tuck recovery depends on whether muscle repair is necessary

There are two phases to recovery after a tummy tuck: the first is when you feel good enough to resume activities of daily living without pain meds, which should be a matter of days. The more important question for you is the second phase, which is unrestricted heavy physical activity. If the muscle repair is needed (which is most of the time after pregnancy) then this is about 6 weeks. Without a muscle repair it is about half that.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Time off work after tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

A true abdominoplasty will involve tightening the abdominal muscles.  In my practice I recommend wearing an abdominal binder for 6 weeks and then begin a slow steady regimen of exercise to build the muscles up.  For heavy labor you will probably take 6-10 weeks off.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Exactly How Long Will I Be Down After Having a Tummy Tuck?


Best guess is until your surgeon release you for work. 

Most of my patients that do work with little physical stress are back in 10 days. Patients who do exertional work aren't back for 6 weeks unless there is light duty. It takes six weeks for the healing incisions to reach 90% of their maximum healing strength, and that is the basis for the 6 week wait. 

Count on May 14 if all goes according to plan and your surgeon consents. 

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Recovery Time After A Tummy Tuck

Great question. Everyone heals differently and you should follow the post op instructions of your surgeon. I usually tell patients they will be back to normal activity in 2-3 weeks and full activity in 4-6 weeks. You may want to take the full 6 weeks off to completely heal before returning to work. Good Luck

Lisa M. DiFrancesco, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 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.