Lifting Kids After Tummy Tuck?

I have two children that are very young and have been considering a Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty). On average, how long do you need to rest? My daughter who is only 16 months loves to be picked up and tossed into the air, and my son (3 months old right now) loves to be held all the time. I could not see myself having the ability to rest for more than a day, how fast do women bounce back from this type of surgery?

Doctor Answers 17

Lifting kids after a tummy tuck

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Tummy Tuck Recovery

The first 2-3 days after surgery there is a good amount of pressure and tightness from repairing the stretched rectus muscles. The feeling is similar to a hard workout. We usually prescribe pain pills such as Norco (Vicodin) or Percocet and a muscle relaxant such as Soma or Flexeril. You will need help from someone the first 2-3 days. A drain is placed which is removed at approximately 1 to 1.5 weeks. Most people usually go on with light normal activities at that time. No heavy lifting or exercising for 6 weeks. The results will be visible right after the procedure. It takes several months for the swelling to subside. Generally, patients wear the compression garment 6 weeks and longer if necessary.

Best of luck, Dr. Michael Omidi

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Kids and Tummy Tuck Recovery

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Its not unusual for abdominoplasty patients to have small children at home. Unfortunately, lifting children following abdominoplasty surgery can adversely impact the results of this procedure.
Abdominoplasty with muscle plication can be adversely impacted by heavy lifting.Under these circumstances, muscles can be torn and bleeding can result.
For this reason we generally recommend minimal lifting in the first two weeks following surgery.We also don’t recommend lifting more than twenty pounds for four to six weeks after surgery.We also instruct patients to allow their children to crawl onto their laps rather than lift them in an upward direction.This approach hopefully minimizes complications in the post-operative period.

After Tummy Tuck, no lifting more than 10 lbs for 6 weeks

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If you undergo a tummy tuck, wait 6 weeks before you lift anything greater than 10 pounds. You do not want to stress the repair of your rectus diastasis (the stretched portion of your "six-pack" abdominal muscles).

I would also recommend that you wait until your son is at least 6-12 months old. It's remarkable how much natural skin shrinkage women obtain after giving birth. Breast feeding really helps get rid of the extra weight, and is good for your baby too.

Michael C. Pickart, MD
Ventura Plastic Surgeon

Lifting restrictions and activity limitations following tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

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It is not specifically the strict weight of lifting that concerns us but the use of the stomach muscles. I have had one person. who was accustomed to having a bowel movement everyday, strain so intensely that they ruptured the muscle repair.

Our concerns with lifting are related to two features:

  1. The potential for bleeding in the first 24 hours and then again between 7-10 days
  2. The possibility of rupturing the muscle repair. This can occur anytime for 6 weeks after surgery.

However, the limitations are subject to interpretation and, in my practice, I advise patients to be cautious for 2 weeks. When lifting children, I ask that friends or partners place the child in your lap or that you use your legs and thighs to lift.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Recovery time after tummy tuck

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We try to have young mothers lift their babies as little as possible.

Certainly the 16 month old can walk with assistance although they would love to be carried. I speak from very recent experience, and how can you deny them when they look at you and hold their arms out?

Beyond those guidelines, I know young mothers ignore my advice on lifting, simply because they have no other choice.

The recurrenrce rate of the tightening of the fascia is almost nonexistent, from my experience, but if an umbilical hernia repair is performed, the recurrence rises in patients who are active too early.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Tummy tuck and exercise

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I generally recommend waiting 6 weeks after a tummy tuck before performing heavy exercise such as lifting a child. The strain can put tension on the wounds and the underlying tissues. Also there is a greater chance of seroma which is collection of fluid under skin with more exercise.

Sharon Theresa McLaughlin MD
Long Island City Plastic Surgeon

Lifting and Straining after a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

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The central feature of every Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) is a repair of the midline by bringing the 6 pack (rectus abdominis) muscles which were split and pushed sideways by your pregnancies back to the midline. The extent of repair and tightening of this diastasis varies between different surgeons - some performing much tighter repair than others. But all of us do it.

If you begin to lift, to bear down, to do sit ups etc you would be causing serious sideways pulling on this repair and risk having the repair stitches cheese wire through the tissues causing bleeding and loss of the repair.

Although I am sure others may differ with me, I ask my patients NOT to go to the gym nor to lift anything heavier than 15 pounds for at least 4 weeks after surgery to protect my repairs. Once the tummy skin re-attaches to the underlying muscle, the sideways pulling of the abdominal muscles is spread over a much wider area (than just the vertical repair) and is less likely to disrupt.

For you to get and maintain the great result you paid for, you will have to be compliant with your surgeon's instructions. It would be wise to arrange for a mother, sister or a friend to help you with the children. They will not be permanently traumatized if not picked for 4 weeks but your results may suffer permanently if they are.

Good Luck.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Lifting Kids After Tummy Tuck

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Healing after a  #tummy tuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no #lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. 

As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Lifting little ones after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question. You definitely want to follow your own surgeon's post-op activity instructions. This is a general guide I give to my patients as to the recovery after a tummy tuck:
Week 1) Discomfort and tightness level progressively decreases with each day. Swelling decreases a great deal after one week.
Week 2) Unlikely to need any narcotic support except maybe at night. Swelling and tightness continues to improve compared to week 1
Weeks 3-6) May need tylenol or ibuprofen for intermittent discomfort. Swelling completely resolved. Tightness may continue as the implants over an additional few months into their final position. Most people return to work in some capacity.

As far as activity, here is a safe guide:
1) No heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 6 weeks (a gallon of milk as a guide).
2) Resume walking at a leisurely pace right after surgery (e.g. 2 mph)
3) At 2 weeks, you can walk 2 miles at 2mph
4) At 3 weeks, you can walk 3 miles at 3mph
5) At 4 weeks, you can walk 4 miles at 4mph
6) At 5 weeks, you can jog 5 miles at 5mph
7) At 6 weeks, you can resume all activities, but listen to your body and use discomfort or tightness as a guide so you don't over do it.

So as far as the little ones, I would recommend having help for basic needs like lifting into the car seat. You can cuddle with them while you are sitting down, but you should avoid the tendency to multitask with one child in your arms while you are busy doing other tasks.

Lifting Kids After Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

As you know the tummy tuck operation is a major operation;  every patient experiences a different recovery course. This makes it difficult to discuss “general rules of thumb”.

I would suggest planning for the worst-case scenario which will hopefully be about 6 weeks away from child care activities. Your  plastic surgeon will help guide you  with activity level depending on how your recovery proceeds.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

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.