Which Plastic Surgery Procedures Require More PTO?



Any time you have surgery, some (if not a lot) of your body’s tissue is manipulated. This means there is always going to be at least a small amount of time for your natural tissue vitality to be restored.

Patients considering a procedure who have a full-time job often inquire as to which plastic surgery procedures require more PTO.


It’s an important question because planning ahead is going to give you the best odds for faster healing. Especially for procedures that have a longer recovery time.

Some Plastic Surgery Procedures Require More PTO Than Others

In a previous post, we looked at procedures with the shortest average recovery times. We say ‘average’ because no two patients will ever have the same experience. Depending on a number of factors, some of the so-called ‘shorter’ recovery time procedures end up being longer than anticipated.

Nevertheless, we’ll look at some of the more complicated procedures here and what you can expect in terms of arranging for that paid time off.

  1. SMAS Facelift

A SMAS facelift is not to be confused with the simpler in-office or ‘lunchtime’ lift (also known as MACS). The SMAS facelift is considered by many surgeons to be the only true facelift, as it is more than just a skin-supported facelift.

With a SMAS facelift, muscle and connective tissue are manipulated. As such, the recovery time is much longer. Nurse care may even be required for the first night or two.

Generally speaking, it takes about two weeks before the bruising dissipates enough that makeup becomes effective. So if you’re choosing this procedure, start saving up those days now.

  1. Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

The tummy tuck is the next biggest contender for most PTO required after a procedure. Similar to the SMAS facelift, nurse care may be required for the first night or two.

Because of the complexity of this procedure, it is crucial to do sit-ups for at least six weeks. That doesn’t mean you’ll need to take six weeks off though! Most people do well by planning to take a week and a half to two weeks off.

You may find you’re ready to go back after five days or so. But whatever the case, you’ll still need to wear a compression garment and avoid heavy lifting for four to six weeks.

  1. Nose Job (Rhinoplasty)

The good news is, rhinoplasty doesn’t require aftercare nursing. And the pain will likely be mild for only a couple of days.

Unfortunately, the under-eye bruising is significant for a solid week – regardless of any efforts to conceal it. So if you’re in the public eye, the recommended time off for rhinoplasty is one week.

  1. Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)

The general recommendation for time off after a BBL is three to seven days. It all depends on your ability to tolerate pain.

There is going to be swelling after a BBL procedure so you’ll be required to wear a compression garment for eight weeks. This also means that you shouldn’t sit or sleep directly on your buttocks for one to two weeks. You can sit on a donut cushion though and sleep on your side.

  1. Breast Reduction/Lift/Implants

Much like the BBL, the recommendation for time off after a breast reduction/lift/implant is in the three to seven-day range.

A breast reduction removes excess tissue and fat and raises the breasts without manipulation of the pectoralis major muscle. This fact means there will only be some discomfort – though you can expect swelling and bruising.

Additionally, in the case of a breast lift that does NOT require manipulating the pectoralis major muscle, the discomfort may also not last too long. The bruising and swelling could stick around for seven to ten days though.

Meanwhile, in an augmentation procedure where the implant is placed under the pectoralis major, there is going to be more discomfort for an average of four to seven days.

At the end of the day, the amount of time you opt to take off for any of these breast procedures will depend largely on your ability to deal with pain.

Be Realistic When Considering the Time Off You’ll Need

While the above plastic surgery procedures require more PTO than many others, it’s important to remain realistic about what you need during recovery.

There will be times post-op when you feel more discomfort than other times. You’ll want to prepare for those.

So if you’re considering a procedure, be sure to contact us to get the low-down on what you might expect from your own recovery based on how you specifically heal. Then you can more comfortably go from there.