How Long Does the Most Serious Pain Last After a Tummy Tuck?

I've read a lot about the recovery time after a tummy tuck but no one answers the question that I have. I'm scheduled for my surgery (full tummy tuck with lipo) on Jun 16th but I'm concerned my husband will only have a few days home with me to help me out before he has to go back to work. I have 2 young school aged boys who need my help with getting up and ready for school. After 4 days, will I be ok to do this on my own? Typically, how long does the most serious pain last after surgery?

Doctor Answers 4

How Long Does the Most Serious Pain Last After a Tummy Tuck?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Pain whether after a tummy tuck or gall bladder removal is a very subjective issue. I have had patient's with a few days of post operative pain vs weeks. Best to inform your chosen surgeon you might be a longer pain patient so that additional medications can be available. 

How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Following a tummy tuck surgery individual will recover at different rates.  However, in most cases patients are up and about (moving somewhat slowly) at 2 - 3 days post surgery.  One can drive in 7 -10 days and most patients return to a desk type job in 10 -14 days.  I counsel patients not to do any exercise for at lease 3 - 4 Weeks.  The most significant discomfort should subside by day 4 and at that time you should be able to manage your boys without help.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Abdominoplasty pain

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The most serious pain following abdominoplasty lasts for the first 3 days.  In fact, it is not unusual to regret surgery during this time.  However, it is still possible to walk and to do the basic things necessary to take care of one's self.  I usually inform patients that it takes 10-14 days to return to work.  It is possible to return to use of an elliptical machine in about 3 weeks.  You can return to full exercise regimen in about 5 weeks.  The earliest I have seen anyone return to work is 1 week.  This is unusual.  If you have 4 days of help, this should be enough.  However, everyone is different.  Bear in mind that you should not drive while taking pain medication, and these will be necessary for at least one week.


Good luck!


Jason Hess, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Serious pain only a day or two

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You will be most uncomfortable only for a few days but during that time you should try to move around as much as possible through the first week to minimize potential blood clot problems.  You will not be at full capacity at 4 days and therefore it would be best to have some help for your 2 young boys for about 7-10 days.  At that point you will be able to drive and perform most activities including returning to work as long as the physical demands are not too much,  especially any significant abdominal straining or heavy lifting which should be restricted for 4-6 weeks. 

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 79 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.