What follows is an instruction sheet that I give to my patients regarding their post-operative workout regimen. These are guidelines that I use as a start, and I discuss this in detail with my patients and modify the plan based on the procedure they are having:
Training After Cosmetic Surgery
There is a reason for most everything, but if you don’t know why a particular recommendation is made, you may not adhere to it. That is why you have received this instruction sheet. This will explain how you may return to training after your surgery, as well as why you should follow these suggestions, based on a few scientific principles. You may get away with a more rapid return to your routine, but on the other hand, you may be increasing the risk of unwanted complications. If you don’t understand the reasoning behind any recommendation, just ask about it.
In the past, it was often routine to restrict activities following surgery for up to six weeks. While some restriction is beneficial, both you and I know that six weeks of sitting around without exercise would be unbearable for someone who is accustomed to a high level of activity. By gradually returning to training after surgery, we can avoid cabin fever and still nurse our bodies in a way that we can minimize the risk of complications. In fact, certainly some benefits are likely with early exercise.
A Few Initial Points:
- Always wear any protective or compression garment for the specific time period recommended. This will help both with comfort and healing.
- Avoid exercises which directly stress the area of your surgery for a full four weeks unless otherwise instructed. You will still be initiating exercises in that area faster than has been traditionally suggested.
- Whenever something hurts, avoid it. This is not a time for a “no pain, no gain” philosophy.
- If it keeps hurting despite adherence to #3, call your surgeon. In fact, call with any concerns to avoid bigger problems.
- Write down your questions so that you don’t forget them. And ask your surgeon, not your training partner. Everyone has brilliant ideas for post-operative care and recovery, but only your surgeon knows what your specific case requires. Most of your friends’ recommendations won’t be harmful, but always ask first.
What People Say About Us!
“44 y/o male who had mild/moderate gynecomastia. I put off the surgery for years but finally scheduled it for Dec 2021. I selected Dr. Silverman because of his experience, reputation and demonstrated results. His costs were very reasonable as well. He and his staff were very responsive to all my questions and made me feel comfortable and prepared. The surgery in Back Bay was quick and went very well, and the results so far are incredible. I'm completely happy with it-- almost no visible scarring and I'm back to exercising after a few weeks. I expect the results will only get better with time. I recommend Dr. Silverman completely for this procedure and wish I had gotten it done sooner!”
First Week Post-Op
During the first week after surgery, you want to avoid activities that raise your blood pressure. This could cause bleeding at the operative site, which could result in a hematoma (collection of blood). This can lead to other problems, so…
- Take it easy.
- Read a book or watch TV.
- Walking is an underrated, excellent form of exercise, especially during this week.
- You may usually shower beginning two days after your surgery, unless otherwise instructed.
- Wear your garment all of the time, including at night.
Second Week Post-Op
You’ve been sort of lazy for a week, so get back into it gradually. Cardiovascular activities are best at this point, such as riding a stationary bicycle or brisk walking, either outside or on a treadmill or Stairmaster. Running at this point may be premature, depending on the type of surgery you’ve had. Stretching can be incorporated at this point to prepare you for the next week and to prevent injury. Be gentle.
After gynecomastia surgery: Toward the end of the week, lower extremity training can be introduced. Start with light weights.
The reason to avoid stressing the surgical area has to do with healing and scarring. During the early phase of healing, one must avoid irritation around the operative site, as this can worsen swelling and fluid accumulation. This could cause development of a seroma (fluid collection) or cause problems with the wound (dehiscence or opening of the suture line, or widening of the scar). Even though the skin is closed, there are many activities taking place beneath the skin.
Third Week Post-Op
Some light weight lifting can be introduced at this point. Avoid your operative site and keep on your garment, even during workouts. Yes it may get a little smelly!!
After gynecomastia surgery: Increase the weights in the lower extremity and initiate light upper extremity exercise and abdominal exercises. Use machines rather than free weights, and absolutely NO chest!!
Fourth Week Post-Op
By the end of the week, you’ll be getting back to normal except at the operative site, where you’ll just be reintroducing part-specific exercises. With that in mind, you’re gradually increasing weights for unaffected body parts and increasing your cardiovascular training.
One Month Post-Op
Now you can resume full-body training. Remember that you’ve been working at a reduced level, so that you should be gradually increasing weight and level of training over the next two weeks. By the time you are six weeks post-operatively, you will be nearing your pre-operative level. Think about the fact that in the past, you would have just been starting back into it at this point.
During your recovery, always remember that if something doesn’t seem quite right, it probably isn’t right. Back off for any pain or discomfort, and be attentive to signs of swelling, infection or other local problems around the operative site. Call your surgeon with questions to prevent little concerns from becoming big complications. A little patience and intelligence will get you back to your pre-operative level of training safely and in a timely fashion.
How Do I Return to Exercise After Surgery?
When you are used to spending your days at the gym for your health, hobby, or fitness career, it can be daunting the idea of sitting around after you have had surgery. Dr. Richard Silverman is a board-certified plastic surgeon in the Boston, MA, community who specializes in providing aesthetic surgeries for bodybuilders, fitness trainers, and other health-minded adults. When returning to exercise after your procedure, it is vital that you follow his instructions and recommendations to reduce the risk of potential complications. Be sure to give yourself enough time to heal and slowly ease into procedures as approved by your doctor. You will need to know your limits and consider alternative exercises or stretches until you are able to return to your previous regimens.
What Is Considered Strenuous Exercise After Surgery?
You've likely heard from other providers that you need to avoid "strenuous exercise" after surgery. But what exactly is considered "strenuous?" In most situations, strenuous exercise includes certain activities such as contact sports, sexual activity, jogging or running, tennis, and body conditioning, including push-ups, sit-ups, and weightlifting. Other activities, such as lifting a child or performing household duties, may also be limited by Dr. Richard Silverman.
What Surgeries Take the Longest To Recover From?
Dr. Richard Silverman of the Boston community always consults with patients about what to expect from their surgery. This includes the recovery time. Many complex procedures, such as knee and hip replacements, often require the longest recovery time and include physical therapy to get patients back to where they were. However, many of the aesthetic procedures performed by our team do not require as long of recovery as our patients may realize.
What Are Some Tips for Easing Back Into Routine Exercise Post-surgery?
After your procedure, Dr. Richard Silverman will advise you as to how you can slowly ease back into your normal routine while reducing your risk of complications. You should stay active in ways recommended by your doctor and ease into cardio as approved. Listen to your body and make sure that you are not experiencing unusual or significant discomfort when performing exercises. If this happens, contact your surgeon as soon as possible to discuss.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make After Surgery That Can Slow Recovery?
- Doing too much too soon after your procedure
- Staying in bed, which can increase the risk of blood clots and pressure ulcers
- Not taking medications as prescribed by the doctor
- Not eating and drinking enough to stay energized and hydrated, stalling recovery
- Skipping rehabilitation, including physical therapy
- Returning to work too soon
Do I Need Physical Therapy After an Injury or Surgical Procedure Before Returning to Exercise?
Depending on the procedure you have performed, you may be prescribed physical therapy as you heal and recover from the surgery. Dr. Richard Silverman will talk to you about any post-rehabilitation recommendations before the procedure so you are prepared to integrate physical therapy into your schedule after surgery.