Can I go back to work four weeks after a tummy tuck, and breast augmentation?

Dr. Pane evaluates the case of a woman who is unsure whether she can safely return to work and other activities.

The Question

One common question we receive at Atlantic Coast Aesthetics doesn’t concern cosmetic surgery as such, but rather what the usual parameters for returning to regular activities after common procedures is. While this varies from patient to patient, and there’s no single “catch-all” answer that applies to every patient, body type or situation, there are some basic markers a patient can look for to determine whether they are ready to return to their normal life. An example is this patient who follows ACA on Facebook. She asks, “Can I go back to work four weeks after a tummy tuck, and breast augmentation?”

The Case

In this case, no photos of the patient or surgical areas were provided. For this reason, Dr. Pane can only evaluate the situation generally. The patient is advised to follow up with the surgeon who performed the initial procedures if she is still unsure. This answer is purely for informational purposes.


The Answer

In almost all cases in Dr. Pane’s practice, most patients are able to return to work within one week after even relatively major procedures. A great deal depends upon the type of work the patient does. Someone who has a mainly sedentary job, such as office, clerical or computer programming work, could return to work 2-3 days after surgery, while a fitness trainer, construction worker or someone whose daily work requires intensive physical activity may need to ease into their regular routine with a brief period of light duty before resuming full activity.

Dr. Pane notes that generally, he likes to have patients up and around on light activity the same day as the initial procedures when possible. This is to help facilitate the healing process and to help identify any potential problems so they can be addressed earlier. About 2-3 weeks in, heavier lifting and activity while still using compression garments is generally well-tolerated and by 6 weeks, the patient should be able to resume all usual activity with no restrictions.

Four weeks is normally considered a long time to be off work, unless significant complications arise. Dr. Pane says that under his care, there is an exceptionally low incidence of complications and other side effects. This being the case, the usual recovery arc runs as follows:

  • Light activity on Day 1-2 as tolerated. If needed, painkillers and antibiotics may be prescribed to help ease the initial discomfort.
  • Depending on the patient’s occupation, the patient may return to work by Day 2-3, but normally no later than 5 days after surgery unless complications develop.
  • Compression garments should be worn until advised by the surgeon, but generally around Week 4, the patient should have healed sufficiently to no longer require them. Note: Do not discontinue the use of compression garments, medications or other aftercare protocols until approved by your cosmetic surgeon!
  • By 6 weeks postop, the patient should be able to return to full, normal activity including lifting, exercise and other daily functions.
  • By 3-6 months postop, any scarring from the procedures should have mostly resolved. While internal healing may continue for another 6-9 months from this point and the scars may continue to “settle” for an extended period, the patient should be completely back to normal and the final outcome of the procedures should be clear.

Every patient heals differently and at their own pace. Failure to follow aftercare protocols and abstain from environmental and habitual factors which may retard healing, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and other similar activities may lead to complications or extend healing time significantly. By adhering to proper aftercare practices and staying in contact with your surgeon during the healing process, you can get back to your normal life and the results you want faster and with less chance of problems occurring.

If you have a question about cosmetic surgery, we at ACA always welcome the opportunity to address your interests, needs and concerns. Simply call us at (561) 422-4116, send us an email through our website at or contact us on Facebook and Twitter. Your question may even be the topic of an upcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, allowing us to help get information to others who also want to know about these subjects. Remember, at ACA, we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!



*Individual results may vary

Site developed by MJD Websites. All trademarks are property of their registered owners. Procedure Content Copyright © 1994 - 2014 MJD Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Reproduction of any portion of this website on any digital or other medium without prior written consent of MJD is strictly prohibited. Photographs are models for illustrative purposes only. Before and after photographs may not be patients of the doctor featured in this website.

Internet Marketing Company Online Advantages.