How long after tummy tuck can I commute 1 hour?

I'm planning on choosing a surgeon setting up a date for my tummy tuck/lipo. Most of the surgeons I'm considering are about an hour to two away from me. Say I get the surgery, and stay in a hotel for 2-3 nights. Would I be able to drive home after that, and drive back for any other appointments rather then spending tons of money to pay for a hotel? Because I don't have anyone in the area I'm living currently who can drive me there/home.

Doctor Answers 8

Recovery time following a Tummy Tuck

This is a very important question mainly considering the cost of your procedure. The financial aspects should not come before safety concerns and the overal aesthetic goals, however it is still a very important part of planning and budgeting for your procedure I usually evaluate patients who travel for their procedures by first thoroughly reviewing their medical history to make sure that there are no conditions that may complicate the recovery process. Diabetes is one such example of a condition that may do so. Also, it is very important to consider the known, yet rare complications such as bleeding and blood clots that may occur after tummy tucks. The type of procedure and its goals in terms of how much skin is to be removed for example, will help in determining ones post operative recovery period. There really isnt a way to specifically give a time to a "travel date" recovery. Each paient is evaluated on an individual basis. I usually recommend staying in town for a week. Travel an hour a way may be appropriate after the first 48hrs as long as you are walking well after the procedure and the mode of transport is appropriate. Pain management under these traveling circumstances is also very important. Frequent stops to get out of the car and walk( used to try to prevent blood clots in the legs) is also a must if travel is an hour or longer. This is an important discussion to have when chosing your surgeon and evaluating very important safety and financial aspects of your planned procedure

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Recovery after tummy tuck

You need to be seen in follow up at 5, 7, 9 and 14 days.  Your drive is not that long.  You can make these appointments from 1 hour away.  After tummy tuck surgery, I advise the patients to take two weeks off from work. The patients may return to work, but may not engage in any strenuous activity. At two months, the patients start low impact cardio. At three months they can engage in more strenuous physical activity. If anything hurts or causes swelling, we ask them to back off somewhat. If you exercise or do some particular activity that results in pain or swelling you are doing too much for your personal recovery at that time.  Not everyone heals the same.  You need to make sure that you don’t cause more swelling.  Fighting the swelling or working through the pain will certainly backfire. I prefer the patients to stay in town for two weeks if they from more than 2-3 hours away.  I do not allow patients to fly before 2 to 3 weeks at the very minimum.

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 135 reviews

Postop Tummytuck

Noel.    If you need to travel more than one hour, then it is safer to stay near your surgeon for at least 3-4 days because if a complication occurs, your surgeon would be the best option to care for you. In my practice, I see a fair number of out of town patients and have arrangements with hotels in the area of varying cost points to offer patients. Be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Good luck!

Robert M. Tornambe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


Hello. This is a difficult question to answer but there's an easy solution: safety first. Follow your BCPS recommendation and stay local for follow up. 

Carlos Burnett, MD, FACS
Westfield Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Driving after a tummy tuck

I assume you mean that someone else will drive you. It is probably ok after those few days to do so.  Best to ask your surgeon.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Keeping costs down with an out of town tummy tuck

Working out the logistics is sometimes the hardest part of planning a surgery!  To be cost effective for patients, when I treat patients who are traveling an hour or two away, I often recommend that they do an overnight stay in the hospital on the first night, as the cost at the local hospital is only an additional $150 for that first night. I see them in the hospital the next morning and if they do not have anyone to drive them home, once they are 24 hours post op, I allow them to take an Uber home.  By their next visit, which is at one week, most patients are able to drive themselves in for follow up.  I would not advise my patients to plan on driving at 2 or 3 days after surgery as they may still be taking pain pills and may not be able to safely operate a vehicle.  Check with your surgeon and see how they handle out of town patients and they may be able to assist you. Good luck with your procedure!

Ian Lonergan, DO
Wilmington Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Tummy tuck

Hello and thank you for your question. Many patients are in similar situations, so don't worry too much.  The major restriction to driving is that you cannot drive while on narcotic pain medications, which is usually one week.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.  The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Driving after a tummy tucxk

Thanks for reaching out.  Driving after a tummy tuck depends on a few things.  The first of which is whether you are still on narcotic pain medicine.  Most people are usually taking this throughout their first week, but everyone is different.  The next is you mobility.  In order to operate a vehicle safely you must be able to twist your body left and right to look over your shoulder to see cars behind you and to your sides.  I would say most people don't feel comfortable enough to do this reliable for at least a week.  The best option is to have someone with you for your surgery.
I hope this helps :)

John Paul Tutela, MD
Livingston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 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.