How Much Time Should I Intend to Take off After Abdominoplasty?

I Am a Registered Nurse. 

Doctor Answers 10

Tummy Tuck Recovery Time for Nurses

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Intended Recovery Time after Tummy Tuck for a RN depends on your job requirements. If it is a charge nurse without clinical duties and a desk job it may be just a few weeks. If it involves lifting a patient it may be 6 weeks.It all depends on what your duties at work are. Although strenuous activity, and lifting more than ten pounds, must be avoided for 6 weeks, some people can return to sedentary work and daily activities as soon as 2 weeks after surgery. 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.
If your job keeps you sedentary, you may plan on returning to work in 10-14 days, with the understanding that you can still have discomfort with motion. Please discuss this with the doctor and the nursing staff. Excess swelling may indicate too much activity. Do not plan on resuming aerobic or strenuous exercise for about 6 weeks after surgery. Let your body tell you what it can do.

Depends on your job

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This depends on how physically demanding your role as an RN is. If you require lifting people and other things that require strength, then you should plan to take 6 weeks off. If your work is mainly sedentary, then 2-3 weeks off is sufficient. However, you should ask your surgeon as they may have different advice.

How Much Time Should I Intend to Take off After Abdominoplasty?

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Tummy tuck is a major operation associated with major physical and emotional recovery time.  As you can imagine, every patient's experience differs 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 weeks after surgery; more strenuous activity (such as your job) may require 4 to 6 weeks of time off (or longer).
Since you considering undergoing 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.

Time Off Work Following Abdominoplasty

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The time which should be taken off work following a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty  depends upon the tasks which need to be performed while at work.  If one works at a desk with no lifting or straining, it is possible to return to work after 10-14 days.  On the other hand, if your job is strenuous, you may need to be off for 4-6 weeks.  You should discuss this with your surgeon.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Recovery after Tummy Tuck

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We usually want our patients walking the same day of the tummy tuck, definitely the next day. Drains stay in a few days, if we do a lipo-tummy tuck, drains stay in longer because of all the fluid infiltration from the liposuction part. If everything works out fine, usually, we advice return to work in about 7-10 days for a desk job, but if heavy lifting is required then we advice waiting at least 3-4 weeks after surgery. J. Vicente Poblete, MD, Avon Lake, OH.

J. Vicente P. Poblete, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck

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I usually recommend 10 to fourteen days off following an abdominoplasty. However, this varioes depending on the exact requirments of the job.

David L. Abramson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

How much time off after tummy tuck

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Time off after tummy tuck will vary by patient expectations, and by surgeon recommendations, and of course on how much muscle repairs impact the healing. In our experience, we ask patients to take off two weeks, though some will go back earlier if they are up to the challenge. Lifting should be limited for four to six weeks, though gentle activities and lots of walking are great right from start. As a nurse, you realize some patients just get up and go, and we hope you are one of them.

Best of luck,


It depends on what you do

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Hi Janelle, I think should not lift anything more than 10 lbs after surgery for six weeks. So if your job involve pulling or pushing then you need to wait for six weeks. You can go back much earlier than that if you do mostly desk work. Hope this help.

Moneer Jaibaji, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

It depends on what your job duties are.

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If you are a charge nurse or med nurse you can probably get back in a week.  If you are having to move patients or work in the OR you may need a little bit longer, but I would expect you to be back in at least 2 weeks.  Probably 6 weeks before you could play tennis or something that strenuous.

Good luck with your surgery,

Dr T

Time off after tummy tuck

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Most of my patients go back to work after 10 to 14 days after tummy tuck.  However, nurses often times do more strenuous work than most other patients.  Although you may be able to go back to work within 3 weeks, you should not do lifting or pulling for up to 6 weeks.  It will be important to follow your plastic surgeon's advice.

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.