Following breast surgery, many patients are eager to return to their pre-op workout routines as soon as possible. Given we all know the positive impact staying fit and active can have on physical and mental health, in theory this seems like a good idea. Indeed, doing the right exercise after some types of surgery can aid the recovery process and even enhance treatment results. But how soon after breast surgery is it safe to get back to your old fitness programme and favourite sporting activities? And what kind of exercise is best?
It’s important to remember that since no two patients are the same – and surgical breast procedures can vary greatly in invasiveness – there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach to recovery or exercising after breast surgery. That’s why individually tailored, post-procedure aftercare advice is always provided by your Coppergate Clinic surgeon prior to discharge. Whether you’ve undergone fat transfer to breast, inverted nipple release surgery, breast mastopexy with augmentation or any other surgical breast procedure, your recovery progress is continually assessed at each follow up appointment and updated aftercare advice will be issued at each stage. This said, there are some general principles to returning to exercise after breast surgery that may apply to an ‘average’ patient, which we’ll cover below.
Weeks 0-2 post breast surgery
As a general rule of thumb, the top priority for the first 14 days or so following a surgical breast procedure is to get as much rest as you can. During this period, activity of any kind should be kept to a minimum, to ensure the smoothest possible recovery process. Take this as your green light to relax and recuperate, using these first couple of weeks as an opportunity to take things easy and put your feet up as much as you can. It’s particularly important at this stage to limit upper body activities, giving the surgical site plenty of time to settle and heal. During this period, you will most likely be required to wear a compression garment and TED compression stockings to lessen the risk of blood clots and limit swelling. Because by their very nature these garments are restrictive, you will be limited in the amount of activity you can comfortably do in any case.
2 weeks post breast surgery
Around two weeks after surgery, patients can generally expect the go-ahead from their surgeon to resume light cardio activities. The ideal level of activity at this stage tends to be a gentle walk, with the goal being not to let your heart rate get too high. As always during the recovery process, it is important to listen to your body, which will tell you if you are overdoing things as you start to consider light exercise after breast surgery.
6-12 weeks post-surgery
Usually, around six to twelve weeks after a surgical breast procedure, patients are advised during a follow-up with their surgeon that they may return to more strenuous exercise such as swimming. This is naturally assessed on a patient-by-patient basis and the exact timescale for taking up intensive exercise can differ greatly according to the extent of the surgical procedure and the speed of recovery. Until you have your surgeon’s approval, It’s essential to avoid swimming and other strenuous exercise such as high-impact aerobics, jogging or lifting weights until you have your surgeon confirm that you are sufficiently healed and ready to do so.
How can I find out more?
Prior to undergoing surgery at Coppergate Clinic, you will have multiple consultations offering the opportunity to chat to your surgeon in person about the full range of treatments available to you. During these appointments, there will be a chance to discuss every aspect of the procedures you are considering, including the expected recovery timescales for each. Following breast surgery, you will have continued support and guidance from your surgeon on the correct aftercare, with the rest of the clinic team also on hand and happy to assist you in adhering to the necessary post operative care. If you would like to find out more about breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast mastopexy or indeed any other surgical breast procedure at Coppergate Clinic, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly front of house team today.