Why Do Reality Tv Surgeons Say to Wait One Year Before Exercise Following a Tummy Tuck?

Why do reality tv cosemtic surgeons say to wait one year before exercise following a tummy tuck? On RealSelf everyone says it's only 6-8 weeks. Wouldn't waiting longer to exercise be safer? Or would it cause too much weight gain? Thanks

Doctor Answers 11

Exercise recommendations after a Tummy Tuck or Mommy Makeover

Hi there-

This is a lot easier to understand (and I feel my patients are a lot more likely to follow instructions they understand) if we review a little science...

Human scars (including those in your muscle layer from the repair performed during your tummy tuck) typically take about 6 weeks to achieve 90% of their maximum strength. In other words, after 6 weeks, your scars are 90% as strong as they are ever going to be, with a little increase in strength occurring over the next year or so.

No scars are ever as strong as un-scarred, healthy tissue, so even though they are 90% as strong as they are going to get, this is still only a fraction of the strength of normal tissue (maybe this is the explanation for what you saw?).

Because 90% of the scar's strength is achieved at 6 weeks, and because further increases in strength are minor and occurring at a much slower rate, the majority of well-trained and experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeons allow their patients to gradually return to exercise beginning at 6 weeks.

Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Exercise after tummy tuck

At the time of the abdominoplasty, the fascia undergoes repair with sutures to increase mechanical strength of the abdominal wall.  The quality of the fascia will determine how soon the patient is ready to exercise.  I usually use mesh to reinforce the fascia reapirs and increase mechanchical strength of the abdominal wall.  This allows earlier return to normal activities, usually 6 to 8 weeks.

Best of Luck,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Exercise after Tummy Tuck

Waiting one year to exercise would not be something I would tell a patient after tummy tuck on TV or otherwise.

I DO ask patients to minimize heavy lifting, weight training, and sit ups for up to 6 months but I encourage light excercise, walking, stairmaster, elliptical, spin class, light weight reps, etc. as early as 2 weeks after surgery. 



John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 270 reviews

Reality TV "cosmetic surgeons" Say Wait a Year to Exercise After Tummy Tuck. Why?

You are right, 6-8 weeks is sufficient.  Your guess is as good as mine why some other advice was offered on TV.  I have had patients start working out (without telling me), two weeks after their procedure.  They did fine, but I prefer to be more conservative and allow the muscle repair to get some healing strength (6 weeks) that does not depend on the sutures.  Also the lower abdomen is quite swollen for a while after abdominoplasty and tends to swell up if you start working out too soon. Walking on the treadmill, which is a controlled activity starts at about 12-15 days, with gradually increasing activity with running at six weeks is what I usually recommend. 

At the time you feel like working out you can see if your plastic surgeon gives you the OK, depending on how your recovery has gone. 


Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Exercise after tummy tuck

I am not aware of the tv  doctor you are referring to, but I can't imagine telling any patient not to exercise for a full year. I encourage starting some light exercise at about 3 weeks. If you don't start some exercise within some reasonable time after a tummy tuck, you run the risk of gaining weight  which is common after a tummy tuck and is one of the major causes of dissatisfaction with a result.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Timing of post tummy tuck exercise

Here is an example why "reality tv" is really an oxymoron.  Certainly exercise regimens need to be modified and delayed post op but one year delay may have been a misstatement or a misunderstanding. I encourage light exercise at two weeks limiting lifting to less than 15 lbs for 6 weeks.  

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

It is okay to exercise 6-8 weeks after tummy tuck with normal healing.

If you heal normally from a tummy tuck, then it is okay to exercise 6-8 weeks after a tummy tuck.

By the way, reality TV surgeons are not even required to be board-certified plastic surgeons to be on TV.  TV is entertainment and dramatization of reality. Please keep that in mind.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Exercise after tummy tuck

I generally recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity (no exercise) for 4 to 6 weeks after tummy tuck. After six weeks, I encourage patients to slowly resume exercise routines *gradually*. Remember, during the six week postoperative period - you will be deconditioned. I do prepare patients to notice some increased swelling once exercise is resumed. Over the next several weeks, this post-exercise edema will no longer manifest.   But please check with your surgeon with respect to his/her specific recommendations.  Best of luck.

Dr. Basu


Houston, TX

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

After Tummy Tuck Surgical Instructions and "Reality TV Surgeons"

There is NO reason why with uneventful healing after a Tummy Tuck  you need to wait more than a month or so after surgery to return to excercising.  By that time scar tissue has begun sothering all tissues together and a longer wait will not markedly change it. 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck and Exercise

I'd be curious who recommended one year! I typically ask my patients to wait 2 months prior to exercise after Abdominoplasty.  Can you imagine not exercising for one year!!  That is really a long time.

Jeff Scott, MD
Everett Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.