Returning to Work from a MM After 1 Week Only - Will I Be Ok?

Hello to all, Thank you in advance for your replies.... I'm schedule for a MM on Nov 19 of this year, the thing is I only get a week off work - no exceptions. I'm starting to worry if I will be ok to return to work in just 1 week. Will I be able to drive on my own? How to I deal with the drains? I'm a export freight forwarding agent so I will be sitting down for the most part. Any reccomendations to make the transition back to work smoother?

Doctor Answers 12

Returning to Work and Activity Post Mommy Makeover

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.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Recovering From a Mommy Makeover

Thank you for the question. the amount of time need for recovery will be dependent on what procedures are done. A mommy makeover is not the same for everyone. Having said that it is not unreasonable to be able to return to work after 7 to 10 days if your job does not require heavy lifting and/or strenuous labor. Patients will tolerate having the drains in during this time. if your current occupation requires heavy lifting then most surgeons will recommend 4 to 6 weeks to allow for adequate healing.

Most importantly make sure that you clearly communicate your goals and concerns with your plastic surgeon as they will be in the best position to guide you through your post operative course.

I hope this helps. Best wishes

Pedro M. Soler, Jr., MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Working After A Mommy Makeover

Beginning with work one week after a mommy makeover is possible for many patients, but there will likely be some discomfort. Drains usually stay in from 10 days to 2 weeks depending on the surgeon. You should be able to sit after one week, but you should talk to your surgeon about the risks and steps you need to take to achieve a complete recovery.

Jaime Perez, MD
Mommy Makeover Specialist
Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Mommy Makeover Recovery

It is very common for mommy makeovers to include both breast and tummy procedures.   Your surgeon will determine if an overnight stay at the hospital is warranted.   After surgery, your pain should be well managed with 1-2 oral pain pills every 4-6 hours.   All my mommy makeover patients are ambulating a few hours after surgery (of course walking flexed at their waist given the tummy tuck).   Most surgeons will likely recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 5-6 weeks.  Most of my mommy makeover patients are comfortable with driving 7-10 days after their surgery.  generally recommend taking 7-10 days off from a desk job after a mommy makeover procedure.  Doing too much too soon can definitely increase your risk of healing problems or fluid collections (seromas).

Every surgical plan is unique/different so I encourage you to direct these questions to your surgeon and his staff.  It is very important you allow enough time for yourself and your recovery.  Mommy Makeovers are truly transforming procedures.  I'm sure you'll love your results.   Please plan and give enough time for your recovery.  Best of luck.
Dr. Basu
houston, tx

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

Recovery time after mommy makeover

Your recovery time will depend on 1) your pain threshold, 2) your overall health, and 3) complexity of your mommy makeover surgery.  I have patients who have gone back to work couple days vs. couple weeks postop.  As long as you are taking narcotic pain medicine, you should not be driving.  You can hide drains if you wear not so snug clothes.  Drains normally stay in 1-2 weeks depending on the amount of fluid your body makes.   Although I encourage all my patients to start ambulating on the same day (if not the next day) of the surgery, you should take as much time off from work as you can to recover from the surgery.  You should discuss with your plastic surgeon your concerns in regards to recovery/returning back to work.  Each plastic surgeon has different recommendation in regards to postoperative care and activity limitation.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Heading Back to Work 1 week after a Mommy Makeover

This type of conversation always worries me.   As plastic surgeons, we always strive to make our patient's recovery as safe and comfortable as possible.   Regardless, the early postoperative period can be stressful for the patient.  

I find the most stressed out patients are those who are trying to cut corners and get back to work sooner than recommended.   This can result in unnecessary complications from moving too much too early or loss of job if there is a setback requiring further medical attention.

There is very little that can be done to speed up a patients recovery, because much of this recovery depends on a patients medical history, age, and amount of surgery performed.  I frequently recommend that my patients only perform surgery if they can afford to take off the necessary recovery time.   If all your employer can offer you is 1 week, I would recommend that you reconsider your surgery to a time when you can recover safely.


I wish you all the best!!

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Return to work following a mommy makeover.

One week may be a bit early for a return to work. Recovery does depend upon the degree of surgery being performed. An abdominoplasty alone can take a few weeks before one is back to their normal routine. A frank discussion with both your plastic surgeon and your boss is imperative.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Return to work after mommy makeover

Mommy makeovers are designed for each individual patient but usually include some type of breast surgery and a tummy tuck.  Recovery depends on exactly what is done.  The biggest factor is whether or not muscle plication (tightening) is performed with the abdominoplasty.  If the muscles are repaired then there is more tightness and more discomfort.  For a desk job a week off work should be adequate as long as you recognize that you will not be 100% (especially if you need pain meds) for probably 4 weeks.  The drains are usually well tolerated, even at work.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Recovery time after mommy makeover

Most patients return to work 1-2 weeks after mommy makeover.  If you are planning to return after just 1 week, you should expect to still have discomfort, perhaps significant, and you may still have a drain.  Since everybody's recovery time may be different, you may or may not feel completely ready to return to work at 1 week.

Arnold S. Breitbart, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Returning to work 1 week after Mommy Make Over?

Thank you for your question.

Based on your question, I think you may benefit from additional time with your plastic surgeon to discuss the plan procedure and the recovery process involved. “Mommy makeover” surgery, regardless of exactly what procedure performed, is major surgery and involves a significant recovery ( often with significant physical and emotional challenges).  This recovery process may be underestimated by many patients.

In my practice, I generally ask patients to take  a minimum of 2-4 weeks off (depending on the type of work and what procedures are performed).  1 week will be a too early to return to work  in my opinion. You may want to discuss this with your surgeon and see if he/she can help you get more time off.

 You may find the following advice I give to my patients prior to surgery 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.

Best Wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 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.