When Can You Return to Work from a Tummy Tuck?

Doctor Answers 10

Time off work after Tummy Tuck

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Everyones criteria will be different with regard to the return to activities after tummy tuck surgery. It's best to discuss this with your plastic surgeon. Based on your type of work and exercise regimen, your surgeon will be able to personalize the activity recommendations with regard to work and exercise.

In general, if a patient has a relatively sedentary job, they can return to work by about 2 weeks postop. If their job involves a lot of lifting, I generally recommend that they recover for about 8 weeks before resuming anything that will put pressure on their core abdominal muscles. This recommendation also applies to core exercises.

Thanks for your question. Best of luck with your surgery!


Gregory C. Park, M.D.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Time off from Work?

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Thank you for your question.

After a #tummytuck #surgery, #swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

I suggest waiting 6 weeks before returning to full activity without restrictions.

Ask your #BoardCertified #PlasticSurgeon what they recommend.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Return to Work after Tummy Tuck

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Returning to Work after Tummy Tuck depends on the physical demands of your job. Your plastic surgeon will guide you through this process. In general here are some guidelines: For light work such as sitting at a computer or desk figure on 2-3 weeks, for an active strenuous job plan on 6-8 weeks.
Following surgery, you will be walking in a bent-over position to keep tension off the newly tightened skin incision site. 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.
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.

Resuming activities after tummy tuck

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As you can see from the variety of posted answers – there are many opinions regarding this question.  For most of my patients, I recommend a minimum of 2 weeks off from work.

Return To Activities Following Full Tummy Tuck Surgery

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The actual tummy tuck procedure may vary slightly for each surgeon. And each individual patient’s situation varies based upon their health, degree of fitness, and the type of work they perform. Your plastic surgeon will be your best resource to provide this information. For a full tummy tuck procedure that involves muscle plication and umbilical transposition, I generally recommend a minimum of ten days off work for those with a sedentary, non-physical job. For those patients whose jobs require more physical labor the time off work may be as much as 6 weeks. I generally restrict patients to a 10-15 pound lifting restriction for two weeks post-op. If their post-op recovery has been satisfactory I will then allow them to perform very light activities, which they can increase slightly over the following weeks as tolerated. No patients are allowed to perform any heavy lifting, strenuous exercise/activity, or core exercises for a minimum of six weeks following surgery. At least six weeks is required to allow the muscle plication to heal and strengthen, but the actual healing process does take longer. The prolonged recovery can result in some deconditioning, so in reality, some patients may take eight weeks or more before they reach full strenuous activities.
Best wishes, Ken Dembny

Kenneth Dembny, II, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Returning to work after a tummy tuck

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The answer will vary based on the type of work that you do as well as how your recovery is progressing.  A general rule of thumb to return to work is about two weeks after surgery.  Your surgeon should be able to give you a more specific answer based on your individual situation.  Good luck

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon

When Can You Return To Work After A Tummy Tuck?

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   This question has many answers due to many variables. The kind of job you have and your level of fitness are two of the factors to consider. As a general rule of thumb, I tell my patients that they should plan on being home for 10-14 days if they have a non-physical, desk job. The amount of time after that depends on how physical and strenuous their job may be. This may require them to be home (or not working) for 3-6 weeks. Consult with your surgeon for a more specific answer for your situation.

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Return to work after surgery

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Not only do the recommendations from each surgeon vary (as is obvious from the other responses) but the actual surgery can vary as well. In addition every patient starts from a different place in terms of health and fitness and ability to heal. Which means there is no  simple answer to your question. You need to listen to your surgeon and his or her recommendations as well as to your body and how it is healing. And, of course, how physical your job is. Good luck to you.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Time Off After TummyTuck

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There is no set time to take off work after a tummy tuck.  It depends a good deal on the work setting.  If you have a sitting job, you could possibly return to work in 10-14 days.  If, on the other hand, your work requires lifting and straining, you may need to take up to 6 weeks off.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

When Can You Return to Work from a Tummy Tuck?

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My guidelines are for a return to work in 10 days for non-physical work, and up to six weeks for any heavier physical work. It takes 6 weeks for the incisions to be healed to 90% of their eventual bursting strength, and that is the basis for the six week rule.

Each surgeon does these procedures a bit differently, and therefore may use a different schedule for return to work. Observe your own surgeon' advice. 


Thanks for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.