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 12

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?

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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. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon

CrossFit Mama

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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.


Healing and Activity Following a Mommy Makeover

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The Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures to bring a woman’s body back to the way she looked prior to pregnancy. Most commonly some variation of a #TummyTuck and #BreastSurgery are performed. Additional procedures can include liposuction, umbilical hernia repair.  The most common #breastprocedures include #mastopexy or #breastlift, #breastaugmentation, or #breastreduction.    

Healing after a  #tummytuck 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. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.
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

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Recovery can vary from person to person....

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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

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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. 

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

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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

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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

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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

When to resume “Intense” abdominal exercises after a TT

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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.

Recovery after Mommy makeover

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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


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.