Recovery after Tummy Tuck Surgery

copy-SurgicalArtistry_womanlogo-original-smaller.jpgWe get this very important question a lot.  In fact after “how much does a tummy tuck cost,” our next most common question is “what’s the recovery like after tummy tuck.”

This is a difficult question because of the complexities of the surgery and the uniqueness of each patient.  In fact there are several different types of tummy tucks too.  But I’ll try to simplify the answers as much as possible.

Disclaimer: please talk to your plastic surgeon in person.  My answers here are based on discussions with our Modesto Plastic Surgeon:  Dr. Tammy Wu.


There’s recovery factors of pain

Patients usually are somewhat uncomfortable and taking pain killers for about 2 weeks after the procedure.  We do encourage the use of a pain pump after surgery which will lessen the worst part of the pain after surgery which is the first few days after the tummy tuck surgery.

When can one drive after Tummy Tuck surgery

Basically when one doesn’t feel the pain and is off the pain killers.  Plus one would need unrestricted movement so that one can see around the car.  Thus for most patients it’s about 3 weeks after the tummy tuck surgery – but everyone is different.  But if it’s driving a vehicle that requires much getting in and out of the car – such as a forklift – one would usually want to wait 6 weeks.  Getting in and out of a vehicle requires activation of core muscles which could potentially disrupt tummy tuck sutures.  See what I mean about this being a complex question with complex answers?

When can one go back to work after Tummy Tuck surgery?

  • Desk work only:  2-3 weeks.
  • Heavy lifting greater than 10 pounds: 6 weeks.

These are just rough guidelines.

When can one go back to lifting greater than 10 lbs?

After 6 weeks.

When can one go back to doing core exercises such as sit ups?

After 6 weeks.

What exercises can I do during the first 6 weeks after a Tummy Tuck?

Mainly walking.  In fact we encourage walking the day of your tummy tuck surgery – the same day – after the surgery.

See explanations at these valuable posts we made regarding core exercises, lifting, and going to work after Tummy Tuck Surgery:

So quick answers to the question: What’s the Recovery like after Tummy Tuck?

  • Back to desk work in 2-3 weeks
  • Back to usual activity lifting more than 10 lbs and exercising again in 6 weeks.

Please see us or your tummy tuck plastic surgeon to discuss your individual case.  Above info is just a generallization.

Dr. Tammy Wu & Dr. Calvin Lee.   Surgical Artistry, Modesto, CA. (209) 551-1888

Dr. Tammy Wu & Dr. Calvin Lee.
Surgical Artistry, Modesto, CA.
(209) 551-1888


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About Calvin Lee, MD

I'm a board certified general surgeon who is married to a board certified plastic surgeon (Dr. T. Tammy Wu). Together, we founded Surgical Artistry in 2006 in Modesto, CA. I arrived in Modesto in 2003 and originally worked as a general and trauma surgeon. I now have a practice focused on Acupuncture, Botox, Fillers, and Veins. My wife's practice is broad based plastic surgery which includes Tummy Tuck, Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift, Liposuction, Cosmetic Eye Lid and Eye Brow Surgeries, Face Lift, Neck Lift, etc. I was originally from New York. New York City in fact. I went to College at Brown University. Then I continued there for Medical School for a total of 8 years. I did the initial portion of my surgery residency at Case Western Reserve then continued on at Southern Illinois University where I was able to join my wife in her first choice plastic surgery program. My office telephone number is (209) 551-1888 if you want an appointment. Disclaimer: Please see your physician in person for specific medical advice, this webpage is intended for information, not advice directed towards you.