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?
Lifting Kids After Tummy Tuck?
Doctor Answers 16
Kids and Tummy Tuck Recovery
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.
Lifting kids after a tummy tuck
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.
After Tummy Tuck, no lifting more than 10 lbs for 6 weeks
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.
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Lifting restrictions and activity limitations following tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
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:
- The potential for bleeding in the first 24 hours and then again between 7-10 days
- 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.
Recovery time after tummy tuck
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.
Tummy tuck and exercise
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.
Lifting and Straining after a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
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.
Dr. P. Aldea
Lifting little ones after 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.
Weight Lifting Restrictions after tummy tuck.
The short answer is that most patients
get help with their young children as needed to protect and shorten the repair time.
Here are the recommendations and expectations in my office for my TT patients:
Within a few hours following surgery, abdominoplasty patients will walk in a slightly bent-over position. Strenuous activity and lifting of more than 10 pounds should be avoided for six weeks after surgery. Most patients are able to return to work and daily activities withintwo weeks of surgery.
It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer.
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.