When to Resume Exercising after Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast reduction surgery is a good option for both men and women whose excessively large breasts are a cosmetic concern and lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. The surgery is also known as reduction mammoplasty. The surgical procedure involves the removal of skin, fat, and excess tissue to minimise the size of breasts and give you a more proportionate body. Over time, the surgical techniques have improved, and the discomfort after the surgery is greatly reduced. If you are an exercise fan, you probably want to know how soon you can resume exercising after breast reduction surgery. There is a right way to return to your exercise routine after the surgery. First, you need to ensure that your tissues have healed fully.
Guide to Breast Reduction
Post-Surgery Care after Breast Reduction
Swelling and bruising are common side effects after any kind of surgical procedure including breast reduction surgery. In order to minimise the swelling, it is recommended to sleep on your back and keep it in an elevated position.
Starting an exercise routine too soon after a breast reduction surgery will disrupt the healing process and lead to an increased risk of swelling and bruising. Once the initial two weeks have passed, you can resume light walking. Light walking will not cause any form of straining on your chest and can prevent blood clotting.
Listen to Your Body when Resuming Exercising After Breast Reduction
Once your doctor gives you a go, you can return to your usual exercise routine. It is important to start slow with low impact workouts such as walking, elliptical, or stationary bike, and then gradually build up your strength. Always listen to your body while working out. At any point, if you experience any pain, discomfort, breathlessness or dizziness, take a break and drink some water. Nothing is worth ruining the results of the surgery.
Exercising after Breast Reduction
Until you are sure that you are thoroughly healed, you need to avoid all sorts of exercise routines that involve the action of the chest muscles. Stay clear of aerobic activities such as rowing, running, swimming, or chest workouts till you are fully healed.
Generally, you need to take a break for one to two months after the surgery. However, it is important to remember that every individual heals at a different pace.
Considerations and Precautions
You need to listen to Dr Hunt’s instructions when it comes to post surgery healing. You will need to wear a compression garment for a period of six to eight weeks. It helps with the swelling, keeps your breasts supported and offers protection.
Any sports that might cause a blow to the chest such as football, soccer, and basketball should be avoided for four to six weeks in order to prevent any kind of injury to the breasts. When you start to work out, pay attention to the following signs: shortness of breath, chest pains, and heart beating out of rhythm. If you experience any of them, you need to stop.
Most patients will experience fatigue after breast reduction surgery or any other surgical procedure. Anything over the top can lead to serious complications. Always be on the lookout for the signs of infections such as redness, drainage, heat, odours, and swelling that can develop after the surgery. Reach out to Dr Hunt immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Timeline for Exercise after Breast Reduction Surgery
It is crucial to remember that every single individual heals at a different pace. It is important to be patient with your body after the surgery. Here is a general overview of what to expect in the weeks following the surgery:
Week 1 to 2 Post Breast Reduction Surgery
Now you can take walks. Do not overexert yourself. A slow, ten-to-fifteen-minute walk will suffice. Light walking will prevent blood clotting, and stiffness, and can make you feel better. During this time, aim at sleeping at least eight hours a night and rest during the day. Light activity during the initial two weeks will improve the oxygen levels in your body, boost blood circulation, minimise blood clotting, relieve your discomfort, and release endorphins in your body.
Week 2 to 4 Post Breast Reduction Surgery
By the end of week two, you will be able to resume most of your household activities. This is the time when you will be allowed to go back to work (if you don’t have a physically intensive job). You can also begin light, lower body workouts that don’t cause any form of straining on your chest. It is also a great time to increase the duration of your workouts. Make sure to invest in a good quality sports bra while working out. At any point if you feel tired and out of breath, take a break and rest.
Week 4 to 6 Post Breast Reduction Surgery
At this point in your recovery phase, you will begin to feel like yourself again. Most people can resume moderate-intensity workouts at this point. Always check in with Dr Hunt before doing so. Chest exercises are still a big no at this point because your tissues are still healing.
Week 6 to 8 Post Breast Reduction Surgery
Chances are, you will be healed completely by this point and you can return to your pre-surgery exercise routine. Start slow and gradually build your strength up. It is ideal to work with a professional who specialises in people who have just undergone the surgery. Slow and steady is the right way to return to your usual workout routine.
Dos and Don’ts of Exercising after Breast Reduction Surgery
Now that we have discussed the exercise timeline and general precautions, let’s look at a few dos and don’ts of exercising after breast reduction surgery:
Walking every single day is highly recommended after any kind of surgical procedure including breast reduction surgery. It is beneficial for you and can make you feel healthy and happy.
Stretching can also work wonders for the tightness and stiffness in your body, once your incisions are healed. Gentle stretching workouts help your muscles to stay healthy, repair damage and help with stiffness. Make sure to get confirmation from Dr Hunt prior to starting stretching. Begin with a basic five-minute stretch and gradually shift to a more intensive exercise routine.
· Consult Dr Hunt
Always consult with Dr Hunt before starting any kind of workout routine. Stick to all the instructions given by Dr Hunt. At any point, if you experience the following: shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, take a break.
· Avoid Jogging in Initial Recovery Stages
If you are used to jogging every single day, it is very hard to give it up even if it is for a few weeks. However, you have to quit jogging for at least six weeks of recovery. Jogging can put a lot of pressure on your incisions, stitches, and chest muscles.
· Avoid Lifting Weights
Weight lifting is an amazing way to pack on muscle and look toned. It is advised to avoid lifting weights or anything heavier than 2 kg for at least four to six weeks after the surgery. When you do decide to lift weights, do not expect yourself to go back to your pre-surgery strength. Start slow and gradually build up your strength.
Tips for a Smoother Recovery
- Focus on resting as much as you can. A good 8-hour sleep coupled with naps throughout the day is essential for recovery
- Always sleep on your back with your head in an elevated position
- Make sure you have someone to help you around the house for the first few days post breast reduction surgery
- Do not take baths, soak in hot tubs, dive in swimming pools or visit hot saunas for at least 2 weeks after the surgery
- Eat home-cooked, healthy meals. Make sure that they are packed with fibre and low in sodium
- Keep your body well hydrated by drinking at least 2 to 3 litres of water a day
- Quit smoking, alcohol, and avoid consuming blood-thinning medications during the initial phases of recovery
- Take a minimum of two weeks off from work to rest and recover. If you have a physically intensive job, take more time off
- Take all the medication prescribed on time
- Take special care of your incisions
- Walk regularly for 10 to 15 minutes at a slow pace to prevent blood clots and boost the healing process
- Wear compression garments to minimise swelling and bruising
- Don’t skip any of your follow up appointments
FAQs about Breast Reduction Surgery
Here is a list of frequently asked questions we get regarding the breast reduction surgery and recovery:
How extensive is the recovery phase after breast reduction?
- Most patients will recover fully in around 4 to 8 weeks. This is just a generalised timeline and everyone will heal at a different pace.
When can I start working out after breast reduction surgery?
- The recommendation is to wait for at least six to eight weeks before getting back to your exercise routine. Even when you do get back, start slow and gradually build up the intensity.
What exercises are suitable to do immediately after breast reduction?
- The only kind of exercise you are allowed to do immediately after the surgery is walking. You can start walking a day after the surgery. Start with 10 to 15 minutes a day and gradually build up the pace or duration.
When can I return back to my usual activities after the breast reduction surgery?
- You can start walking almost immediately after the surgery. Most people are cleared to do housework in 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery and can also go back to work. If you have a physically intensive job, you have to wait for more. Ideally, you should wait for 6 weeks before returning back to your full-blown exercise routine.
What happens if I exercise too soon after breast reduction surgery?
- It is not recommended to exercise too soon post-surgery. Otherwise complications such as swelling, bleeding, and other side effects can occur. Keep in mind that this can ruin the results of the surgery.
How long will the swelling last after breast reduction surgery?
- Most of the swelling will be gone in about six months’ time after the breast reduction surgery. The residual swelling can linger on for a few months.
Can I skip on the compression garment after breast reduction surgery?
- You shouldn’t if you don’t want your swelling to linger on for longer. Similarly, not wearing a compression garment will slow down the healing process. Hence, it is not recommended.
What kinds of bras are suitable to wear post breast reduction surgery?
- You will be wearing a compression bra for the first four to six weeks after breast reduction surgery. Then, it is best to transition into a sports bra for a month. After that, you can wear any bra of your choice.
What foods should be avoided after breast reduction surgery?
- Try to eat home-cooked meals as much as possible. Stay clear of salty foods as they can lead to prolonged swelling.
When will my incisions heal post breast reduction surgery?
- Generally speaking, incisions heal around the third-week marker. However, everyone is different and might heal at a faster or slower pace.
When can I see results after breast reduction surgery?
- You will be able to see a difference immediately after the surgery. Most of the swelling will be gone by the eight-week marker and you will be able to see the results. It is important to remember that the residual swelling will take some time to go away and might take a few months to subside.
Further Reading about Breast Reduction Surgery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Breast Reduction Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Breast Surgery page
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Breast Reduction Patients Before and After Photos
Medical References about Breast Reduction
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing breast, body, face and nose surgery. He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing cosmetic and plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is optimal for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and, through his guidance, can achieve good results.
Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has given thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia the aesthetic results they desire.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If breast reduction is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.