Is 2 Weeks After Tummy Tuck Safe Enough to Go on a Cruise?

I have scheduled a Full Tummy Tuck two weeks before a Caribbean Cruise. I am a 5'2" mom who had a 64-inch waist during my pregnancy of twins. I am a healthy, non-smoking, active 54-year-old woman who is now ready for a mom makeover. Would I be healed enough to go on a cruise 2 week post-op, and safe to fly across the country to Florida?

Doctor Answers 25

Don't plan a major vacation two weeks after major surgery

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I hope you can get a refund.

I would not advise any patient to do this. I imagine you might want to go in the pool, get some sun, so some watersports, and peruse the gift shops in the ports. Being two weeks after a full tummy tuck, you will not be sufficiently healed or recovered to allow this without being constantly reminded.

Furthermore, this is if all goes well and if you have a minor problem such as a seroma, I don' t think the ship's doctor will be comfortable managing this problem. IF you develop a more serious problem such as bleeding or a DVT, it will be absolutely forbidden for you to travel,


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Recovery time after a tummy tuck

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2 weeks post-op surgery for a tummy tuck procedure is far too soon for you to be going on a cruise. I advise my patients to stay hunched over for atleast 4 weeks to prevent any superficial openings and complications. At that time, you will not be fully recovered and will not be able to enjoy the cruise as much as you would like to.
Recovery time could vary between patients, however, most patients are required to avoid any heavy-lifting or strenuous exercise for atleast 6-8 weeks. Tummy tuck procedures are very invasive and you need to take it eaast the first month. Consult with your plastic surgeon before proceeding with any activity that may effect your healing and results.
Remember that you must also wear a binder for about 1 month to help support the incision and minimize swelling. Also, you have to keep the incision dry until the drains are removed whcih could be longer than 2 weeks depending on the severity and complexity of the case.

Traveling two weeks after Tummy Tuck

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Tummy tuck is a big surgery.

I find no two patients are the same. At the first post op visit, I am amazed how some women are fully dressed, make up on and you would never know they had a huge surgery a few days before. Others come in dressed in pajamas, looking like they were hit by a semi truck. I can't predict who will be whom. It is not related to age, health, number of kids, or tough cookie-ness.

At two weeks, you will likely be off your pain medication, and you will be able to walk around a little bit. BUT

1. You will be in a garment

2. You will easily still have in a drain. Which means no swimming or water activities

3. Activity is mild - gentle walking. nothing more. not a good way to go see the sights.

4. You are at higher risk for a DVT (blood clot in your leg) with air travel and sedentary activity for at least three weeks after surgery. Tummy tuck surgery is the highest risk surgery for a DVT. If a blood clot dislodges, and lands in your lung, that is a PE (pulmonary embolism).

5. If something goes wrong -- even if it is minor -- an infection, seroma, wound opens up, etc etc you are not near your doctor.

Go on your trip. Enjoy it. Then come back and do the surgery.

Lauren Greenberg, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon

Skip the vacation after Tummy Tuck

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Typically, my restriction on postoperative flight is about 4-6 weeks. At the 2 week mark you'll still be somewhat sore. I've not allowed anyone to go out in these types of situations, it's not ideal and those patients that have gotten away with it before went at their own risk.

Here's the risks that are at steak (they definitely aren't advisable and are against everything we've been taught). You won't be able to swim, you won't have a full level of energy and you could even have a wound somewhere or there could be some area that is still painful to you. There's too much at stake and the truth is that you're at more risk of developing a blood clot in your legs. My suggestion is that you skip the trip this time around.

Best Wishes,

DoctorMeade

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

Cruise 2 weeks after a tummy tuck - NO WAY

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You should be about 6 weeks after a TT before you consider a cruise. You will still be very tired and in some pain at the 2 week point. You might still have fluid issues and if ANYTHING happened to you, you would be far away from medical help. This is the longest recovery of any of the cosmetic surgeries we commonly perform and 6 weeks would be minimum in my opinion to cruise.

Cruise and Tummy tuck

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Thank you for your post. It depends on how physical you get on cruises. 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. Physical water sports, however is a different story. You should only start doing heavy physical activity at 6 weeks, and then slowly ease into it, not all at once.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

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

2 weeks post tummy tuck

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I do not think it is a good idea to plan a cruise 2 weeks after your tummy tuck surgery.  I would wait at least 6 weeks before planning a vacation like that.

Traveling two weeks after tummy tuck

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Not recommended.  You are at increased risk of

  1. Wound healing problems
  2. Clots in your legs and lungs (deep venous thrombosis or DVT)
  3. Fluid accumulation under your skin flaps
  4. Increased fatique and discomfort
  5. No access to your surgeon and doctors

I'm sorry. You should call your surgeon and reschedule your surgery.  Enjoy your cruise, come back rested and relaxed... 

Emily Pollard, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Recovery after Tummy Tuck

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I would advise against going on a cruise two weeks after a full tummy tuck. First, there is no way to assume you will have a normal post-operative course. In some cases, there will be areas of the skin which may not heal properly and require daily dressing changes to heal. You do not want to have to change dressings while on a cruise!

Second, you really are not going to have the energy and stamina to engage in a lot of activities. Your abdomen will be swollen and tight and you will not be as flexible as you may think.

Third, if you are planning to show your new figure in the blazing sun, please don't!!! Your skin after surgery does not have the same blood supply as before and even a mild sun tan may BURN the skin.

I would recommend at least 4 weeks after your surgery to go on a cruise and definitely do not expose the skin to sun for at least 6 months.

Good Luck.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon

Too early to go on a cruise 2 weeks after tummy tuck

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Way to soon after the "large" tummy tuck you are having. More likely 6 weeks is the best time frame. This allows FULL healing and avoids any late complications. Regards.

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.