Thank you for your post. In general, your incisions need to be perfect, all drains removed and the drain site healed perfect, and the muscle repair needs to be mature with no areas of fluid collection. If the incisions are not perfect, or drain site, then you are at risk of infection in pools, hot tubs, oceans/lakes. You don't have to have perfect incisions to shower, just not submerge in bath or the above. However, I ask my patients to wear their abdominal binder non-stop, except for showers, for at least 4 weeks, so unless you want to hang out at the beach with your binder, then no beach.
Pablo Prichard, MD
I typically allow my abdominoplasty patients to gently shower early and then pat their incisions and drain sites dry with a new fresh towel. I don't like patients to reuse the towel, especially while they still have drains in.
Once all drains come out, and the skin edges have epithelialized (healed over) a clean bath should be ok. Community hot tubs are another story. Improperly maintained hot tubs are a more common source of skin infections, such as pseudomonas folliculitis.
Of course, all people heal differently. Patients should always ask their board certified plastic surgeon about when to shower and bath in the tub.
There can be no openings in the scar. Pools and tubs in general have high amounts of bacteria.
A tummy tuck can be done as a solitary procedure. Many times the results are enhanced by adding
liposuction to the hip and love handle area.
A tummy tuck is also done in combination with a breast augmentation in a
Please find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
and member of the Aesthetic Society using the Smart Beauty Guide. These Plastic Surgeons can guide you on all
aspects of facial surgery, breast augmentation and body procedures including
tummy tucks or mommy makeovers!
I generally advise patients avoid submerging themselves in water for at least 1 month after their surgery, and this includes a bath or hot tub. The reason for this is that it decreases the risk of infection. However, please ask your surgeon as they may have different advice.
There is no absolute rule and your best plan would be to check with your surgeon if you have had any issues after your surgery. Incisions typically have new skin cells bridging them at 48 hours or so. The healing is very fragile at that point, though, and those cells are very easily disrupted. It seems that 2 weeks is a common rule for submersion and is the one that I use if everything is healing as we would expect. At two weeks the incision is still weak in terms of how strong it will be but likely strong enough in most cases to tolerate the swelling that happens with baths. Hot tubs are a different issue as they tend to harbor bacteria.
I make sure all drains are out and that the incisions are completely healed prior to soaking or submerging incisions in water. Typically this is a two week period before the incision is allowed to be underwater. They typically can shower once drains are out at approximately one week. These are my typical protocols but your surgeon may have his own recommendations. Make sure to counsel with him or her.
Thank you for the question.
Your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to guide you in regards to activity resumption after tummy tuck surgery. From the healing standpoint most patients are able to swim again starting 3 to 6 weeks after surgery. You will want all incision lines to be completely healed. You will also want to be mostly pain-free and free from concern such as muscle spasm.
From the safety standpoint, much of the timing of returning to swimming will depend on exactly what you mean by “swimming”. For some people this means wading knee-high in shallow water; for some people it may means swimming long distances in choppy water. For this reason, return to activities should be individualized and gradual.
In other words, start slow and "listen to your body" as you gradually progress in intensity/duration of exercise. Best wishes.