Is Ten Days off Work Enough for Tummy Tuck?

Is ten days a significant amount of days to ask off for work to have a Tummy Tuck? I am worried about the drain. I don't want to take the drain to work with me!

Doctor Answers 18

Time off Work for Tummy Tuck

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10 days may be ok as most plastic surgeons have said here. 14 days you would be perfectly fine and the drains would be out by then. 10 days might be pushing it but it really depends on the person and your comfort and pain threshold. The drains usually come out 7-14 days after the surgery.

I usually have my patients wear their garment for about 4-6 weeks to help with the swelling. So you will definitely need to wear some sort of compression garment when you go back to work. It also depends what kind of work you do. If you are at a desk most of the day then you will likely be fine and may be fine with the drains. But if you are up and about and standing and moving, then definitely take 14 days off.

Good luck.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Sufficient Recovery Time after Tummy Tuck

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Ten days is probably too soon to return to work after a full TT. The drains are removed when the output is less usually from 7-14 days for most. Although strenuous activity, and lifting more than ten pounds, must be avoided for 6 weeks, some people can return to 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.
You will be encouraged to move and walk regularly starting the day of surgery. Wearing your TED stockings at all times, except while washing, to prevent venous clots (deep vein thrombosis) is mandatory. Light activity is comfortable in 10-20 days. The drain can be hidden and should not be a detriment to you returning to work.
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.

How many days for recovery from Tummy Tuck surgery?

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Thank you for your question. The time needed to recover from Tummy Tuck surgery varies with each patient. The most important question is what type of work do you do. If your work involves heavy lifting and vigorous physical activity you may well need 2-3 weeks before returning to that occupation. However if you have a sedentary job that does not require lifting and vigorous physical activity and 10 days may be enough for you to return to work. Drains are typically removed by 3-5 days.

Time off work after tummy tuck

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Most people take 7-10 days off work following a tummy tuck, depending on what kind of work they do.  The drain is usually easily hidden under clothing. If they do any heavy lifting at work, then they need to take more time off. If they do mostly desk work, then they tend to take less time off work. I suggest you discuss this in detail with your board certified plastic surgeon. 

Maybe, Maybe Not

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I've done a lot of tummy tucks. The drains can take anywhere from 7-21 days to be removed. Although most get them out by 10 days there's no guarantee that this will be your case. As Murphy's laws go it would be you that would need to have the drains left in for 3-4 weeks. So no gurantees. As far as pain is concerned it depends on you and your tolerance. Moms in their late 30's and 40's tend to do well as they understand that they must keep going. But that's not to say that younger women don't do well. It's all dependent on you.

Should be OK to work 10 days after Tummy Tuck

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Most of my patients are back to work in 10 days or less. Depending on how much work you need, there may, or may not be a drain.

Usually I have patients up and walking around the very next day after the surgery and you certainly could be on the phone or a computer in that time frame which allows many people to work from home. The presence of a drain (should you need one) should not limit you from returning to a desk type job and the vast majority of my patients return to work in 5 days, with or without a drain.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Time off work for a tummy tuck

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Dear Jean,

The length of time to be away from work varies on the patient and the type of work you do. If you have a desk job and normal "pain tolerance", I would give you a 90% chance of being fine for work after 10 days. You might still have the drain. It is an annoyance to have the drain at work, but it does not prevent you from working. (Thinner patients tend to get the drain out earlier than heavier patients.) If you have a job that requires heavy lifting or physical activities, you might require up to 6 weeks off work or modified duties.

Best of luck!


Downtime for a tummy tuck

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10 days should be fine.

As everything, there's a spectum of possibilities in the recovery for this surgery. There are many varying techniques in performing a full abdominoplasty that your ABPS Board Certified Plastic Surgeon will be familiar with. If you discuss return to work at this deadline, I believe that it will in fact help your recovery since you are so motivated to get out of bed and mover around. A technique of internal suturing can help get your drains out sooner than usual (typically a week).

Even if you go back to work with your drains, depending on what you do at your work, it is achieveable. Your recovery will depend greatly on your anatomy, your stamina, tolerance and the actual operation performed. The plan you've made thus far is reasonable.

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Drain Removal after Tummy Tuck

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You may be ready to return to work 10 days following your tummy tuck. Most of my patients require somewhat longer periods before returning to work. This certainly depends in part on what your duties are at work. Patients with totally sedentary jobs are able to return much sooner than someone who must lift and strain at their workplace.

As far as the drains are concerned; that also varies a good deal from patient to patient. I can assure you that you will not be happy, however, if your drains are removed too early.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

You Could Go Back After 10 Days But You May Swell More

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Your drains will probably be out by then, and assuming you have a desk job you will probably be OK.  However, you may have more swelling than usual, which may be uncomfortable. Of course, your doc will be the best one to guide you on this.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 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.