Can I Go Swimming in the Ocean, After a Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift/augmentaion?

I am having a tummy tuck and breast lift with augmentation. I am wondering if I will be able to go swimming in the ocean/snorkeling by 6 weeks post op. We are taking a trip to the Camen Islands and I am concerned I won't be up to all the fun activiites that the ocean brings.

Doctor Answers 16

6 weeks is probably enough time, but may be cutting it a bit close!

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Assuming everything heals perfectly and you resume activity without problem, 6 weeks is the bare minimum for vigorous swimming or ocean waves buffeting your barely-healed body.

If you have any delayed healing (common with breast lifts plus implants), or similar problems with the belly button, your surgeon may ask you to hold off on swimming in the ocean or pool, and the same goes for hot tubs or bathtubs.

Just so you know, this is what I would tell my own patients in this situation. Ask your surgeon and honestly consider if you would enjoy your vacation more without muscle discomfort and tightness, scars that require absolute sun avoidance to prevent them from turning dark, and worry. If so, maybe waiting until you return is a better idea.

I know, that sexy new body will look great in a swimsuit, especially if friends or others will be around to ogle the new you, but is risking the result worth it? Ask your surgeon! Best wishes and happy vacation!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Can I go swimming in the ocean after a tummy tuck and breast lift/augmentation?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! After any surgical procedure, you should be careful with incisions as well as avoidance of direct UVA and UVB rays in order to lessen the chance for hyperpigmentation of the skin and scars, which can take several months to resolve, if it ever does. Sunblock of 35 or above is recommended regardless. The ability of the affected area to heal has been slowed and you should try to avoid additional swelling to the area. The area will likely be numb for several weeks to months and will be difficult to feel when sunburn is coming on.  

Typical recommendations include wearing a hat and/or sunblock to the affected area for at least 6-12 weeks following the procedure. It takes up to one year for scars to fully mature. You should also avoid trauma to the area for several months to protect the refinements made during the procedure. Also, avoidance of pools/lakes/jacuzzis/etc for 4-6 weeks is usually recommended to allow adequate healing and protection from stagnant water, that could potentially harbor bacteria. Lifting/exercise restrictions are common for at least 6 weeks. Certainly discuss the postoperative instructions with your surgeon, as thoughts differ among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Ocean swimming 6 weeks post op TT and breast aug surgery

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Dear Caligirl,

Please, please see your PS right before you leave! Sea water  contains some of the most dangerous bacteria out there (including the so called 'flesh eating bacteria'). Make sure there isn't any type of scab, suture or opening left in your incisions. If there is, stay away from any type of pool, bath or sea water.

Kind regards,

Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Wait 6 Weeks- Minimum

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Obviously one of the many reasons people choose to have a mommy makeover is to feel more comfortable wearing a swimsuit and more confident doing so, but you absolutely want to make sure you are ready before you get in the water-especially oceans and lakes! The big concern is that if there are any openings along your incisions that they may be a site where contaminants in the water and bacterial can get into your wounds and cause infections. Oceans and lake water are notorious for having bad bacteria and germs. If there is even a tiny break in the skin, scab, or a little stitch poking out it can cause trouble. 6 weeks is usually the minimum amount of time before I would recommend swimming, and then only if all wounds are sealed up. If it is possible you might want to move your surgery sooner or push your vacation back a little so that you won’t risk not being able to enjoy yourself fully. You don’t want some little glitch in healing to ruin your vacation or endanger your results or health. Good Luck with your surgery and enjoy your trip!

Maybe, but ask your surgeon first

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I generally advise patients avoid submerging themselves in water for at least 1 month after their surgery, and vigorous physical activities at 6 weeks after surgery. Therefore, you may be okay to do these activities if your recovery goes well. However, please ask your surgeon as they may have different advice.

Swimming after tummy tuck

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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.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Swimming after surgery

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Hello Caligirl.  Everybody heals differently, but generally speaking I advise my patients to wait at least 4 weeks after surgery before swimming, especially in the ocean.  If you haven't completely healed by 4 weeks, then of course it's best to wait longer.  Good luck! 

Swimming After A Tummy Tuck & Breast Augmentation

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I advise my patients to wait at least 4-6 weeks after this procedure so that you are fully healed as this will require maximal wound healing.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Activities after tummy tuck aug

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In addition to the comments by my colleagues, you should consider that in addition to swimming in the ocean and pool, beach activities involve a lot of sun exposure. You will be more sensitive to the sun in the areas that have had surgery and I recommend to my patients that they stay out of the sun as much as possible for several months after surgery. You might want to postpone your surgery until after you return from what sounds like a wonderful vacation.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Mommy makeover and getting in the ocean

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Thanks for the question.  I generally allow my patients to get in the ocean at the six week mark as long as all of their incisions have healed.  Please be advised though if you have an open wound or slow healing after surgery, I would not let you and also your endurance level may still be lower than the activities you have planned.  Make sure you see your plastic surgeon right before your trip to check on you.

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.