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How Safe Is It to Swim After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

By: Dr. Rolando Morales


For many patients, one of the most exciting things to do after tummy tuck surgery is to show off a new-and-improved look by the pool or at the beach, but it is critical to understand when it may be safe to do so. Both sun exposure and swimming too soon after tummy tuck surgery can have adverse consequences and potentially delay the healing process and/or compromise the results of the procedure. To better understand when you’ll be able to resume your favorite activities after a tummy tuck, including swimming, review the information below from Houston, TX board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rolando Morales and the knowledgeable team at Morales Plastic Surgery.

How does tummy tuck surgery work?

Tummy tuck surgery is an extremely popular cosmetic body contouring procedure that allows men and women to sculpt and reshape their midsection through skin removal, fat reduction, and other techniques. Most often, tummy tuck surgery is performed to reverse the consequences of pregnancy, childbirth, weight loss, and aging, including:

  • Loose stomach skin
  • Belly pooch
  • Stubborn tummy fat
  • Abdominal stretch marks
  • Diastasis recti
  • Wrinkled stomach
  • Muffin top

During a tummy tuck in Houston, TX, Dr. Morales will begin by creating a horizontal incision just above the patient’s pubic region on the lowest part of the abdomen. If needed, liposuction will be used to remove stubborn pockets of abdominal fat. For patients with diastasis recti or separated abdominal muscles, Dr. Morales will restore natural muscle position and reinforce the abdominal wall. Finally, excess skin will be trimmed away, and the belly button will be repositioned. Dr. Morales will then pull the remaining skin over the abdomen and close the incision with sutures for a smooth, slender, tight new contour.

What is tummy tuck recovery like?

The details of your tummy tuck recovery will depend on the extent of the procedure, whether any additional surgeries were performed simultaneously, and other factors specific to your case. In general, patients should expect to have drains placed in their lower abdomen to collect fluid, and patients who undergo liposuction as part of their tummy tuck will need to wear compression garments to diminish swelling. Most patients are able to return to work and other light activities within about 2 – 3 weeks, with more strenuous physical exercise being safe after about 6 – 8 weeks. Before starting or resuming any level of activity after tummy tuck surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor.

When can I go swimming after tummy tuck surgery?

There are several things to consider when determining when it may be safe to swim after tummy tuck surgery. First, your tummy tuck incisions will need to be fully closed and healed before they can be submerged in a bath, pool, hot tub, or any other body of water. Swimming or submerging your incisions too soon after tummy tuck can lead to infection and other complications. Additionally, patients will need to wait until their drains have been removed and the drain insertion sites have also fully closed and healed. Because the internal tissues and structures will continue to heal even after the incisions have closed, patients should wait at least 6 – 8 weeks (or until cleared by Dr. Morales) before swimming after a tummy tuck. Once you are able to return to the beach or the pool after a tummy tuck – which patients consider well worth the wait – be sure to avoid direct sun exposure and keep your tummy tuck scar protected with sunscreen to prevent darkening or discoloration.

Rock that bikini with a custom tummy tuck in Houston, TX

Pregnancy and weight loss can wreak havoc on your body, but you don’t have to live with the unwanted cosmetic changes associated with these (and other) life events. Take the first step toward looking and feeling more like the person you want to be by calling Morales Plastic Surgery to schedule your Houston, TX tummy tuck consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rolando Morales today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.