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Exercises to Perform After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Breast reconstruction surgery leaves your body in a delicate state. While time is the best healer, there are gentle exercises that you can perform to help regain your body’s strength, motion, and mobility.

Give Your Body Time

Breast reconstruction surgery can inhibit your ability to perform simple movements—even raising your arms above your head can be difficult. It is important to allow your body time to heal. For the first two weeks following your reconstruction surgery, avoid:

  • Lifting your arm above shoulder height
  • Stretching your arm behind your back
  • Carrying anything heavier than five to ten pounds

Take It Slow

Whatever you do, make sure you do not push yourself too hard, too soon. Your body has gone through a lot of traumatic changes, and as such, it is important that you are patient with your body as it heals. Make sure to listen to your body and do not push yourself too hard as you slowly incorporate more tasks into your daily routine.

Get Moving with Gentle Exercise

Performing basic exercises supports your body as it heals and can help you regain full motion and mobility. With the permission of your reconstructive surgeon, start moving with gentle exercises as soon you as you are able to.

For the first two to three weeks, try:

  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Shoulder rolls
  • Shoulder raises
  • Arm swings
  • Seated body turns

When comfortable, usually around three to four weeks, and with the blessing of your surgeon, you can start to experiment with a fuller range of movement.

At three to four weeks, try:

  • Reclined arm lifts (lifting your arms above your head)
  • Walk your fingers up the wall
  • Walk your fingers sideways
  • Beach pose
  • Chest stretch

With each of these exercises, start with five of each and gradually work your way up to ten (when applicable, work up to ten in each direction). While the exact time it takes you to recover will vary depending on the type of reconstruction you have decided on, most women feel comfortable with their recovery around six weeks.

We are Dedicated to the Success of Your Recovery at UCI Plastic Surgery

As simple as these exercises seem, they truly can work wonders and can help you get back to your normal activities in a timelier manner.

For detailed instructions of these exercises, please visit Exercises are courtesy of Cancer Research UK.