Exercising and Resuming Sex After Tummy Tuck Surgery

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If you've recently had a tummy tuck, you likely want to know the best time to resume exercise and sexual relations after the procedure. Also known as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a surgery to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen. The procedure also tightens the underlying muscles if it is necessary. Here's what to expect in terms of resuming activities after a tummy tuck.

When to Exercise

Initially, after your surgery, you may be asked to walk around a little bit to help promote blood circulation. This will help you heal faster, but don't do this alone, as your balance and strength could be compromised because of the surgery. Also, don't let this little jaunt fill your head with grandiose ideas of cleaning house and working out. Those activities will still need to wait.

During the first 24 hours after surgery, you may shower with assistance as well as take short walks. Each day after your procedure, walk a little bit longer and a bit farther, increasing your strength. Light activity, such as walking on a flat surface, will likely be OK about two weeks after surgery. If you lift weights, start with light weights about four weeks after surgery. Weight lifting can put a significant strain on the incisions and the sutures, so you want to approach strength training slowly and cautiously. It could be six months or more before you can begin to do ab exercises, such as crunches.

Modifying Your Daily Activities

As for your daily activity, you also want to stay away from lifting heavy objects. Avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling objects over five pounds for six weeks. Just as with weight-lifting, doing so will put pressure and stress on your incision site. It's hard to remember at the moment that you are recovering from surgery, but this isn't time to be a hero. It is time to listen to your body (and your doctor) and take it easy.

You will need to ask your surgeon how long to stay home from work. Her answer will depend on the type of abdominoplasty you had. For more extensive tummy tucks, expect to take about four weeks off. This may seem like a lot of time, but it will allow your pain to dissipate and you to wean yourself off pain medication. In fact, you should not drive until you have reached these milestones.

Other Things to Consider During Your Recovery

It may take a while until you feel normal again. So, you'll not only be curious about when you may exercise again but about when you can resume your normal eating, sleeping, and sex routines. Review the following tips on how to address lifestyle issues during your recovery from abdominoplasty.

  • Eat lightly after surgery initially, increasing your intake and types of food as tolerated.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach until all soreness has subsided. You may find that sleeping on three pillows under your back/head and/or two pillows under your knees may reduce discomfort. This is known as the semi-Fowler's position, and should be used for two weeks following surgery to avoid excessive straining on the incision and to reduce scarring. Additionally, you will find it easier to transition from a lying to a sitting position due to less stress on your abdomen.
  • Sex after a tummy tuck should be resumed when your surgeon states that it is okay and, more importantly, when you feel ready.
  • Pain medications may cause constipation. You may take an over-the-counter stool softener, such as Colace or Docusate to avoid constipation.
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Article Sources

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  1. Grant RT. Guidelines for exercise after a tummy tuck procedure. MD Mag. May 8, 2014.

  2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Five things to consider before getting a tummy tuck. February 23, 2018.

  3. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Tummy tuck surgery. 2009-2019.

  4. Regan JP & Casaubon JT. Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). StatPearls (internet). Updated November 22, 2018.

Additional Reading

  • Shestak KC, Fedele GM. Abdominoplasty. In Evans GRD, ed. Operative Plastic Surgery. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

  • Aly A. Abdominoplasty and Lower Truncal Circumferential Body Contouring. In Thorne CHM, Beasely RW, Aston SJ, Bartlett SP, Gurtner GC, Spear S, eds. Grabb and Smith’s Plastic Surgery, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 2007.