How Long After Tummy Tuck Can I Swim (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4 – 6 weeks

Tummy tuck surgery is a procedure that facilitates flattening of the abdomen or tummy area by removing extra fat and skin from the area. In medical terms, doctors refer to this as ‘abdominoplasty’.In this procedure, the muscles are tightly tucked into the abdominal wall, and the procedure differs from the liposuction procedure.

It is suitable for both, men and women who intend to reduce or remove the extra belly fat and skin, sometimes even after losing weight. There are two procedures- complete abdominoplasty and partial or mini-abdominoplasty. A person should choose a procedure according to their need and with relevant intervention from a doctor or medical practitioner.

How Long After Tummy Tuck Can I Swim?

A tummy tuck may not be an extensive process but it does require an adequate healing period. Since the abdominal muscles have been tightened and pulled inwards, they will require anytime between 3 to 6 weeks to heal. It is necessary to try and avoid the risk of infection soon after the surgery.

The drains that were placed during or after the surgery need to be removed, only then can you can be assured that the area is sealed and the thought of going for a swim can be realized.

It is advised that anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks after the surgery is a good time to enter the water. Each person has a different body type and healing time. Depending on your body, how much strength you have, and other personal factors, you must decide whether or not you can enter the water to swim.

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There are several instances where a small cut or opening in the skin has led to infections even 6 weeks after the tummy tuck procedure. That is why you must always check for yourself and get a check or consultation with a doctor if it is feasible to go for a swim at that particular time. It is important to note that you must start with only short swims to determine how well the body can take it.

Depending on your body’s response to the water and strain, the rest of the course can be determined. If there are any complications during or after swimming, it has to be brought to the attention of a medical practitioner immediately.

Why Can I Swim that Long After Tummy Tuck?

There are two types of tummy tuck procedures:

  1. Complete Abdominoplasty- wherein the cut is from hipbone to hipbone and involves shifting of the belly button. This procedure may need the drainage tubes to be inserted. This is a more tedious procedure and therefore may require additional healing time. Anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks is the average healing time
  1. Partial Abdominoplasty- this is a considerably less invasive procedure and may take only a few hours to complete. It is more likely to keep the belly button in its original place and work on only the fat below the navel. Recovery in this case is considerably easier and faster. It may take anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks for the area to heal and for you to begin basic normal tasks.
    Even though the two procedures sound different, the healing time is almost the same and both should be treated with equal care. Before 4 weeks the skin has not fused completely and healed. It is very risky to be exposed to the sun or water during the healing period. Exposure to sunlight can cause the darkening of the scar or mark.
    The tummy tuck surgical procedure may take anywhere between 1 to 5 hours. This surgery is done under anesthesia. It takes a certain amount of time, depending on the anesthesia given, to gain sensitivity in the area. Certain medications have to be put on hold or avoided for a while.All this must be discussed with the doctor beforehand, to allow a smooth and easy post-surgical period.
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Conclusion

After the tummy tuck surgery, anytime between 4 to 6 weeks is when the area has healed and one can try to go for a swim, taking proper precautions. It is necessary to start with small swims and then accordingly move to longer ones. A tummy tuck can be a fairly simple procedure but has a long healing or recovery period like many surgical procedures.

It is not a substitute to exercise and must be used only as one’s last option. Smoking and other medication should be under check to allow a complication-free procedure and recovery.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4473816/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431058/

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