What Is A Realistic Recovery Time From A TummyTuck?

Q: Dr. Eppley, what is the true recovery time from a tummy tuck? In my consultation, the plastic surgeon said around two weeks. But I have read online that it can be as long as six to eight weeks. What is the truth? I am a nurse in a hospital and work in an Oncology unit. I don’t lift patients but I am up and down all the time and constantly running around. 

A: The concept of recovery can mean different things to different people and understanding what that is is of great importance in a tummy tuck…where the recovery should never be underestimated and often is. The concept of a two week recovery from a tummy tuck is not a realistic one. While you may be up and around the house and doing many normal activities, that is too early to feel comfortable doing strenuous activities. Work for many people is strenuous even though it may not seem so until one is less than 100%. Short of lifting, constantly having to be up and down is a very strenuous activity to be doing just a few weeks from a tummy tuck. A more realistic approach would be to consider going back half-time, if possible, the third week after surgery and then going back full-time by a month after the tummy tuck. This will allow you to ease your way back into work. While some people will not have this luxury for recovery time and simply have to go back after two weeks (and suffer through it), a three to four week approach as described is going to be a lot better.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana