How Long Will I Need to Be out of Physical Work?

I had an extended tummy tuck, hernia repair, as well as liposuction of the breasts about 1 month ago. I am going in tomorrow to get some stitches removed that are spitting out. My job requires me to lift glass that can weigh up to a couple hundred lbs. Sometimes off of ladders. When i bend over or lift small things it still feels tight. How long can i expext it to be before I would be able to return to doing this type of work.

Doctor Answers 6

Time off of Work

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Thank you for your question.

After a #tummytuck #surgery, #swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

I suggest waiting 6 weeks before returning to full activity without restrictions, especially since you have some heavy lifting to do.

Ask your #BoardCertified #PlasticSurgeon what they recommend.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Returning to Heavy Lifting for Work after Tummy Tuck

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Lifting heavy weights that your job requires will mean at least 6 weeks and probably more before your surgeon will allow you to return to work. Here are some guidelines I give my patients:
Following surgery, you will be walking in a bent-over position to keep tension off the newly tightened skin incision site. Although strenuous activity, and lifting more than ten pounds, must be avoided for 6 weeks, some people can return to work and daily activities as soon as 2 weeks after surgery. Softening of the surgical scars, return of sensation, and loosening of the tight sensation may take several months to a year or more.
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. No sports or heavy lifting for 6 weeks or more – please discuss with your doctor for specific questions.

Extended tummy tuck.

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My protocol is 6-8 weeks and I would recommend you start slow and increase weight over time.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

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I generally recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 5-6 weeks after tummy tuck surgery.  Please ask your surgeon for his/her recommendations.  


Tummy tuck and heavy lifting

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If all goes well, I usually have my patients wait 6-8 weeks before allowing them to do heavy lifitng.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Return to work times after Tummy Tucks depend on the type of work you do.

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Dear Davis,  If you saw your surgeon yesterday, I'm sure you already know what your return to work date is.  It is common to feel "tight" still at 4 weeks after surgery and for your abdominal muscles to feel like they "pull" when you use them.  This is all normal and nothing to worryabout.  For the benifit of others that may read your question, I will explain my RTW recomendations.  I have done thousands of abdominoplasties over the last 18 years.  I always tell my patients the following information.   I use a pump that infuses a long acting freezing medication in my patients, so most are comfortable immediately after surgery.  I ensure they have a friend or family member stay with them foir the first 3 days to help them out as neded.  I have them up and around immediately after surgery and ask them to walk around their home, sit at the table for their meals and not stay in bed.  At 7 days, most patients with physically light employment (computer, administrative, management type work) can return.  I allow them to start fitness walking at 2 weeks.  They can run and use a cross trainer at 4 weeks.  They can return to the gym, unrestricted (sit ups, crunches etc) at 6 weeks.  For your work, since you have an extremely physical job and work on ladders, you must be fully recovered before you can return to this part of your employment.  I expect you were advised to RTW after six weeks and only to return when you were sure that you would be safe to be lifting and climbing ladders (for your safety and the safety of those that are working with you).  Good luck with the rest of your recovery.  Dr. Scott Barr

Scott Barr, MD
Sudbury Plastic Surgeon

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.