Why is my Dr Telling Me to Wait 12 Weeks Post Op to Return to Crossfit when Everything I Find Online Says 4-6 Weeks?

I was a very active person prior to my mommy makeover (breat lift, augmentation, tummy tuck & lipo on the tummy area), I did crossfit 4-5 times wk & tae kwon do. At 5 weeks post op my doctor said I can run but that is it. I am 8 wks post op & he says I still need to wait another month before returning to crossfit or any exercise. Everything I find online says that you can work back into your regular workout routine, even crossfit at 4-6 weeks. Why would there be such a difference in opinion?

Doctor Answers 11

CrossFit Mama

Hello Crossfit mama,

The healing process after surgery is a very unique to everyone.

Normally after a tummy tuck, I always reccommend waiting 6 weeks before exercising. You mentioned having several procedures done which will add to your healing time. I would listen to your plastic surgeon because he has been talking care of you post-opertively and knows what would be best for you.

I commend your fervor for crossfit training.

Good luck to you and happy healing.


San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Recovery can vary from person to person....

Every surgery and every recovery is a little different.  Realize that the average recuperation is 4-6 weeks, but that really can vary widely.  Your plastic surgeon knows the specifics of your case and exactly what was done in the surgery, and he may have some valid reason to want you to wait. If the delay is really bothering you I would definitely suggest you ask for an explanation of why your case is different, but I would strongly recommend following the advice he gives you.  He has your best interests at heart and wants you to have a safe recovery and the best result possible (which I am sure is your goals as well).  Do not rely on the advice given to you by someone who has no specific knowledge of you, your exact surgery, or the situation surrounding it.  Get yourself through the healing process successfully and you will have your wonderful results to enjoy for a lifetime! 

Please listen to your surgeon

Your surgeon knows the specific details about your surgery and your body, and they are different from other patients (including those you read about online). In addition, each surgeon has their own guidelines on recovery. The information available online is from various sources, some of which may be questionable. Crossfit and taekwondo are both rather intense, and I think your surgeon wants to make sure you're totally ready before giving you the green light. 

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Your surgeon is most familar with you and your procedures....

It’s important to understand that no two patients are ever exactly alike.Each patient’s starting point, surgical procedure and post-operative situations are different.For this reason, post-operative care is individualized following Mommy Makeover surgery.
In general terms, patients can anticipate limited physical activity for two weeks following surgery.At two weeks, they are allowed to gradually resume normal activities with the exception of strenuous activities.Patients can usually return to work in two weeks if no strenuous activity is involved.After six to eight weeks, they can resume all their normal activities including heavy lifting, cross fitness and strenuous activity.
It’s important to listen to your surgeon’s recommendations because he has information about your procedure that no one else has.It’s also important to go slow at first and gradually return to your cross fitness routine.This process may take an additional two to three weeks.Make sure you listen to your body.If you’re not ready for a specific activity, your body will let you know.

Listen to your surgeon

Your surgeon knows more about the specifics of your procedure than anyone online, so it's better to listen to them. Your surgeon has taken into account your surgery and condition. Crossfit is a rather intense workout so I suggest you wait as your surgeon recommended.

Resuming Crossfit After Cosmetic Surgery

One can resume most Crossfit activities after 4 weeks. I would wait 6 weeks for any real strenuous activities to allow for maximal wound healing.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

When to resume “Intense” abdominal exercises after a TT

From the medical community, the 6 week number for allowing patients to resume exercises came from wound healing data related to hernia repairs.  The average person can resume average exercise at that time and not run into problems.  However, extreme athletes do not do average exercise, and tend to put a lot more strain across the surgically tightened region of the abdomen.  I make my patients wait 10 weeks before resuming strong core activity.  Yes, it is one more month of not exercising strenuously, but if that means your tight abdomen will last the rest of your life, it is worth the investment.

Why is my Dr Telling Me to Wait 12 Weeks Post Op to Return to Crossfit when Everything I Find Online Says 4-6 Weeks?

Incisions reach 90% of their maximum healing strength by 6 weeks (note this is not as strong as unoperated tissue), and that is the basis for the 6 week delay for return to full normal activity. 

But this may not be enough of a delay for all patients and all activities. Many surgeons ask for 3 months before body builders return to full activity. A lot of the improvement that occurs is due to abdominal wall tightening, and that is susceptible to breakdown from hard vigorous activities even after 6 weeks. 

I would yield to your surgeon's advice. All the best. 

Recovery after Mommy makeover

Hi Crossfit Mama

Great work on addressing your body shape to fit your lifestyle and activities.

All surgeons have a plan for return to exercise that tries to balance getting you going again, but not starting so early that you are uncomfortable or break their work. At 8 weeks post op I do allow my patients full return to exercise, but I can appreciate why your surgeon may request you to wait another month.

Something to consider is the intensity of cross fit, and the lack of standardisation. Your gym WODs could be anywhere from sissy to brutal compared to other gyms and varies from day to day. That lack of standardisation makes it difficult to predict the stress that will be put through your abdominal repair. Spending a month just running will be less distressing than tearing your abdominal muscle repair, and possibly needing revisionary surgery and starting your recovery from scratch.

Your surgeon only wants the best result for you - after all someone like you is their best advertisement if everything goes perfectly. Embrace the opportunity to work on pre cardiovascular fitness for a while, and you'll be even more keen to restart your cross fit when you get the green light.

Dr Gavin Sandercoe

Plastic Surgeon & Triathlete


Waiting 12 weeks after Mommy Makeover before Crossfit

Thanks for posting this question regarding when to resume crossfit after mommy makeover. Every surgeon has his or her postop regimen that's setup to ensure the patient has an uneventful and complete recovery. Part of tummy tuck procedure requires repair of abdominal muscles if necessary. When the muscle repair is done, it takes 3 months to completely heal and regain enough strength to withstand the strenuous exercises such as crossfit training. If the repair is undone or broke due to resume training too early, it will take away the result obtained from surgery. At 8 weeks postop, you will feel fine physically but internally, there are still healing going on. I would recommend that you talk to your surgeon about it and see what's the reason for holding you back. Hopefully your recovery is uneventful and when it's all healed that you can see the difference and enjoy your new body.

Best Wishes,


Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 27 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.