Tummy Tuck- return to work?

Hi all!! I am scheduled for a TT with muscle tightening and lipo Jan 3/17. Was hoping to return to work after 7 days.... I have a pretty high pain tolerance and a very forgiving office job. What do you all think???

Doctor Answers 10

Tummy Tuck- return to work?

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Recovery time following a tummy tuck depends primarily on how extensive the procedure is, whether the abdominal muscles were repaired, and your individual ability to heal. It also depends on your type of work. Following a tummy tuck, most patients are able to work at home during the first week and resume returning to work at a sedentary job in 1-2 weeks. However, in a patient with a strenuous job requiring heavy lifting, I would recommend waiting 4-6 weeks.

You should discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon, who should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) or the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CSAPS) that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person. It is important to follow all of his or her instructions.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Return to Work after Tummy Tuck

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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 within two weeks of surgery.

It would be best to confirm this with your surgeon and their advice based on the specific procedure you are having. Best of luck to you.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Tummy Tuck- return to work?

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I would plan to be off of work for two weeks. A tummy tuck is a big surgery and involves tightening the underlying abdominal wall. It typically takes two weeks until someone is ready to return to a desk job. Congratulations on your upcoming surgery.

Tummy Tuck- return to work?

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I hear that phrase about high pain tolerance frequently, but after the surgery the patients realize just how uncomfortable this surgery is for a few days. We typically release patients to desk jobs at 12-14 days.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Return to work after tummy tuck

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Hello and thank you for your question.

The best person to ask this question would be your plastic surgeon performing the procedure to see what he or she is comfortable with. That being said, I typically recommend that my patients plan on taking two weeks off of work after undergoing a tummy tuck with muscle tightening, even if they have a sitting/office job. The recovery from this surgery is typically well tolerated, but significant. Some patients are feeling great at 10 days and are chomping at the bit to go back, but if you are willing to commit to having your surgeon operate on you then you should be willing to commit to their postoperative care instructions as well. The surgery and the postoperative care go hand in hand when it comes to obtaining the result you've put your time and money into obtaining.

I always recommend that patients discuss any questions or concerns they may have regarding their preoperative and postoperative care with their surgeon to make sure everyone is on the same page so there are no surprises.

Best wishes and good luck!

Joseph Brown, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Tummy Tuck- return to work?

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The tummy tuck is a major operation associated with major physical and emotional recovery time. As you can imagine, every patient's experience will differ after the procedure. Therefore, return to work times will differ from one patient to another. Ultimately, your plastic surgeon will be your best resource when it comes to guiding you; he/she will see how you are doing and whether or not you have experienced any complications or set backs.

Generally speaking, most patients are able to return to a “desk job” about 2-3 weeks after surgery; more strenuous activity may require 4 to 6 weeks of time off (or longer).  In my opinion, promises of returning to work earlier than this is overpromising.

If you do decide to return to work as scheduled, do not be surprised if you fatigue much quicker;  probably best not to return to full shifts immediately.  Generally, it may take patients several months before they are back to full strength and stamina.

For the sake of patients considering the tummy tuck surgery in the future: it is a major operation which again involves a significant physical and emotional recovery ( often underestimated by surgeons and patients alike).  A few words of advice may be helpful:

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself) and that you have realistic expectations. Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life situation. You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.

2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.

3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.

4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.

5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina of your caretakers.

6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.

7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.

8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).

9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience.

10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.

11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.

TT and return to work

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Dear kdonna77,

One week might be too quick to go back to work. The recovery time usually is around 2 weeks, remember a drain will be placed in and it typically takes 10-14 days to be removed. The recovery rest plays an important role on the post op results, take your time in healing well before going back to work, Best wishes.

Kelvin Eusebio, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tummy Tuck Revision/Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty/Liposuction/High Definition Procedures

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I appreciate your question.

I would recommend that you discuss this question with your surgeon as every surgeon has their own respective post op protocol for his/her patients.  Your surgeon is your best resource as he/she is most familiar with your medical history and how you are healing following surgery.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Returning to work after a tummy tuck.

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For most patients, returning to work at about two weeks can be expected. Depending on the extent of surgery, the patient, and the job, it may not be unreasonable to consider returning at one week. You may still have a drain at that point, but this is usually very easy to deal with.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Going back to work

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Considering you’ll be getting muscle tightening as well, I recommend you still take the full two weeks off from work. It’s in your best interest to not compromise your recovery, as it can lead to complications and delays. However, you should speak with your surgeon for their opinion, since they’re more knowledgeable about your situation.

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.