A Guide to Exercising After Breast Uplift Surgery
“When can I exercise after Breast Uplift surgery” is a popular question among women undergoing mastopexy surgery. In this blog, Chester Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna aims to offer expert guidance on safely returning to your exercise regimen after breast uplift surgery. She will cover the typical recovery timeline, suggest suitable exercises for each stage of recovery, and provide tips on how to gauge your body’s readiness for physical exertion.
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What You Should Know about Breast Uplift Surgery
Breast uplift surgery, medically known as mastopexy, involves reshaping and lifting sagging breasts. The procedure includes the removal of excess skin and the repositioning of the remaining tissue and nipples to create a more youthful and uplifted breast contour. Anca may also resize the areola to fit the newly shaped breasts. This surgery is often sought by women who have experienced changes in their breast shape due to factors such as ageing, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or significant weight fluctuations.
During the surgery, incisions are made according to the chosen uplift technique, which varies based on the degree of uplift required and individual breast anatomy. Common techniques include the ‘anchor’ and the ‘lollipop’ methods. The ‘anchor’ technique involves three incisions: around the areola, vertically down from the areola to the breast crease, and along the breast crease. The ‘lollipop’ method includes incisions around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease. The choice of technique will be determined by Anca based on your specific needs and desired outcome.
Breast Uplift Recovery Timeline Overview
The recovery period following breast uplift surgery is a gradual process and varies for each individual. However, there is a general timeline that most patients can expect to follow:
- Immediate Post-Operative Period (First Week): During the first week, you may experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising. Rest is essential during this period, and any strenuous activity should be avoided. You will likely wear a surgical bra or compression garment to support healing
- Intermediate Recovery Phase (Weeks 2-4): In the following weeks, you should notice a reduction in swelling and discomfort. Gradual resumption of light activities, such as gentle walking, can be safe, but it’s crucial to avoid any activities that strain the chest muscles or incisions
- Later Recovery Stage (Weeks 5-8): By this stage, most patients feel ready to return to more routine activities and light exercises. Keep in mind that high-impact exercises and heavy lifting should still be avoided
- Full Recovery (Post 8 Weeks): Typically, by eight weeks, patients can gradually reintroduce more strenuous exercises, provided there are no complications and your surgeon gives the go-ahead
What to Do Immediately after the Surgery
In the first couple of days after surgery, there are several activities you should avoid to ensure a smooth recovery:
- No Heavy Lifting: Avoid lifting anything heavier than a small book. Lifting heavy objects can strain your incisions and affect the healing process
- Avoid Strenuous Activities: Any vigorous activity or exercise that could increase your heart rate or blood pressure is to be avoided. This includes jogging, running, or aerobic exercises
- Steer Clear of Baths and Swimming: Do not take baths, go swimming, or immerse your body in water. Showering may be allowed as per your surgeon’s guidance, but it’s important to keep the surgical area dry and clean
- No Driving: Refrain from driving, especially if you are still under the influence of anaesthesia or pain medication, as your reaction times may be impaired
- Attending to Personal Needs: Simple tasks like dressing or washing may be challenging. Loose, comfortable clothing that doesn’t need to be pulled over your head is recommended. Also, prepare meals in advance or arrange for someone to help with cooking
- Monitoring Your Health: Keep an eye on your overall health and the surgical site. Any signs of infection, such as excessive redness, heat, or unusual discharge from the incisions, should be reported to your surgeon immediately. Also, monitor your temperature; a fever could be a sign of infection
Resuming Physical Exercise – Weeks 4-6
Around the 4-6 week mark, you’ll be navigating an important stage in your recovery. It’s time to assess how well you’re healing. Key indicators of good healing include reduced swelling, no significant discomfort in the breast area, and closed incisions without signs of infection. Anca might schedule a follow-up appointment during this period to confirm that your recovery is on track. It’s important to get her approval before increasing your physical activity.
Once you’ve received the green light from Anca, you can start introducing gentle exercises. The focus should be on low-impact activities that don’t put excessive strain on your chest. Suitable exercises might include:
- Light Cardio: Start with brisk walking or using a stationary bike. These activities increase your heart rate without causing undue stress to your breasts
- Yoga and Stretching: Gentle yoga and stretching can be beneficial. Focus on poses that don’t involve chest pressure or heavy upper body involvement
- Light Strength Training: If you feel up to it, consider light strength training with small weights. Avoid exercises that target the chest muscles directly
- Caution with Upper Body Workouts: During these weeks, it’s still advisable to avoid any vigorous upper body workouts. Exercises like push-ups, bench presses, or heavy weight lifting should remain off-limits for now. These activities could jeopardise your surgical results and potentially cause harm to the healing tissues
- Prioritising Gentle Movement: Aim to engage in activities that promote gentle movement rather than intensive workouts. Activities like Pilates, light leg exercises, or using an elliptical machine without arm involvement are good options. Remember, the goal is to maintain overall fitness without compromising your recovery
This phase is about finding the right balance between staying active and respecting the limitations of your recovering body. By carefully listening to your body and following these guidelines, you can safely reintroduce physical activity and pave the way for a full return to your regular exercise regimen in the subsequent weeks.
Full Return to Exercise (Post 6 Weeks)
As you cross the six-week mark after your breast uplift surgery, it’s usually the time when you can consider resuming full exercise routines. However, this depends on several criteria:
- Successful Healing: Ensure that your incisions are fully healed with no signs of open wounds or infection
- Surgeon’s Clearance: Obtain a formal go-ahead from Anca, confirming that your recovery is complete and it’s safe to resume all types of physical activities
- Personal Comfort: Pay attention to how comfortable you feel while doing routine activities. There should be no lingering pain or significant discomfort in the breast area
Anca’s Recommendations for Safe Exercises
Upon meeting these criteria, you can gradually reintroduce various exercises, keeping in mind the changes your body has undergone:
- Cardiovascular Exercises: You can now engage in more strenuous cardio exercises like jogging, running, or high-impact aerobics, provided they don’t cause discomfort
- Strength Training: Resume upper body strength training, but start with lighter weights and gradually increase the intensity. Focus on maintaining proper form to avoid strain
- High-Impact Activities: Sports and activities that involve jumping or sudden movements, like tennis or basketball, can be reintroduced if they feel comfortable
Exercises to Approach with Caution
Even though you may be cleared for all types of exercises, some should still be approached with caution:
- Heavy Weightlifting: Be cautious with heavy weightlifting. Start with lower weights and gradually increase to avoid putting excessive pressure on your chest
- Chest-Intensive Workouts: Exercises that put direct pressure on the chest, such as push-ups or chest presses, should be reintroduced slowly and with lower intensity
- Contact Sports: If you participate in contact sports, consider additional protective gear and be mindful of the risk of impact to your chest area
Long-Term Care for Maintaining Results
- Regular Exercise Routine: Establish a balanced exercise routine that includes cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training. This will help maintain your overall fitness and the aesthetic results of your surgery
- Monitoring Changes in Breast Shape: Be aware of any changes in your breast shape or feel during exercise, and adjust your routine if necessary
- Wearing Supportive Gear: Invest in good-quality, supportive sports bras that provide adequate support during exercise. This is important to maintain the shape and position of your breasts
- Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Continue with a healthy diet and lifestyle to maintain your weight, as significant weight fluctuations can affect the results of your breast lift surgery
As you resume your full exercise routine, remember that patience and gradual progression are key. Every person’s body responds differently to surgery and exercise, so it’s important to stay attuned to your body’s signals and adjust your activities accordingly. By following these guidelines and maintaining regular check-ups with your surgeon, you can enjoy the benefits of both your surgical procedure and an active lifestyle.
FAQs about When Can I Exercise After Breast Uplift Surgery?
When can I start light exercises after my breast uplift surgery?
- In most cases, light exercises such as walking can be resumed within a few days after surgery, as long as they don’t cause discomfort. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to avoid any strenuous activity that could strain the chest area.
How long should I wait before resuming my regular workout routine?
- Most patients are advised to wait approximately 6 weeks before returning to their regular workout routines, including more strenuous activities. This waiting period can vary based on individual recovery rates and the specifics of the surgical procedure. Always get a clearance from your surgeon before returning to high-impact exercises.
Are there specific types of exercises I should avoid after a breast uplift?
- In the initial weeks post-surgery, it’s advisable to avoid exercises that involve heavy lifting, high impact, or direct stress on the chest muscles, such as push-ups or chest presses. Gradually reintroduce these exercises only after getting approval from your surgeon and start with low intensity.
Can exercise affect the results of my breast uplift surgery?
- Engaging in exercise too soon or with too much intensity can affect the results of your surgery. It’s important to follow a gradual approach to exercising, starting with light activities and slowly increasing intensity as your body heals and with your surgeon’s guidance.
What kind of sports bra should I wear when I start exercising post-surgery?
- Once you begin exercising, wearing a supportive sports bra is essential. Choose a bra that provides good support without being too tight, to avoid putting pressure on your breasts. Initially, avoid bras with underwires as they can irritate surgical incisions. Anca can provide specific recommendations based on your individual case.
Further Reading about Breast Uplift Surgery with Chester Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna
- Read more about How to Fix Saggy Breasts – Breast Uplift, Breast Implants or Both
- Read more about Breasts after Weight Loss
- Read more about How to Get Firmer Breasts
- Read more about Solutions for Saggy Breasts
- Read more about Internal Bra – A More Durable Breast Uplift Technique
- Read more about Recovery Timeline after Breast Uplift (Mastopexy) Surgery
Medical References about When Can I Exercise After Breast Uplift Surgery?
- What to Know About Sagging Breasts – WebMD
- Saggy breasts: Causes and solutions – Medical News Today
- Breast lift – Mayo Clinic
- Breast Lift (Mastopexy): Surgery & Recovery – Cleveland Clinic
- Breast Lift with and without Implant