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Dr. Lloyd Van Wyck

Plastic Surgery Recovery: A Timeline for Exercise

By Lloyd G. Van Wyck, M.D. on April 06, 2017

A woman stretchingHere at our Ottawa cosmetic plastic surgery center, we want to make sure that all of our patients have a speedy and problem-free recovery. After undergoing body contouring surgery and other involved procedures, this can take a few weeks. During this time, patients need to focus on resting to prevent complications and manage surgical side effects.

A number of patients are eager to return to their normal lives after surgery, particularly when it comes to exercise and recreational activities they enjoy. Let's take a moment to go over some guidelines and timelines for exercise after plastic surgery.

Focus on Resting After Your Surgery

After undergoing plastic surgery, your primary focus should be on resting and wellness. That's why it's important that you take time off from work for a week or more. In addition, it's also important to avoid your normal exercise routine until you get the go ahead from your surgeon.

Exercising or exerting yourself too early can aggravate incision sites and lead to a number of serious complications. Be sure to avoid heavy lifting, activities that can accelerate your heartbeat, and so forth. Thankfully this is only temporary and you should be back to light exercise by the end of a month to six weeks.

Walk to Avoid Blood Clots

In the early weeks of surgical recovery, you may not be able to do yoga, jog, or lift weights, but you'll certainly be able to walk. Walking is an important part of recovery.

When people are sedentary or lay down for prolonged periods of time, they run a risk of blood clots forming in their legs. This is known as deep vein thrombosis. Should this occur, it's possible for the clot to travel to the lungs and cause a serious complication known as pulmonary embolism.

Walking promotes circulation and helps prevent these dangerous blood clots. Every day, you should walk just a little bit as advised by your surgeon.

A Timeline for Walking After Plastic Surgery

While walking times can vary to some degree, the following are solid recommendations for physical activity after your surgery:

  • First Week After Facial Plastic Surgery - Three 5-minute walks a day
  • Second Week After Facial Plastic Surgery - Three 10-minute walks a day
  • Third Week After Facial Plastic Surgery - Three 15-minute walks a day
  • Fourth Week After Facial Plastic Surgery - Four 15-minute walks per day

Some light stretching may be possible after the first or second week, but be sure to follow your surgeon's instructions in case they advise otherwise.

Returning to Light Exercise Five Weeks After Surgery

By the fifth week after surgery, you'll likely be able to return to light exercise. This means a little bit of walking and light weights, and perhaps even certain kinds of stretches and common exercises. Be sure to take things slowly, however. If you've undergone a major body contouring procedure such as a total body lift or an extended tummy tuck, you may need more time before you get into an exercise routine.

Increasing Physical Exertion from Week to Week

As weeks six rolls around, you can add a bit more intensity to your workouts. The emphasis is on a bit. Be sure to not push yourself to a point where you could be doing some harm. Making incremental increases in intensity is important from week to week.

Usually patients have returned to most of their usual exercise routine by the end of eight weeks. Though again, it varies from patient to patient, which is why following your surgeon's advice during followup visits is so important.

Learn More About Plastic Surgery Recovery

For more information about plastic surgery and whether or not it's an ideal option for you and your needs, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon today. Our team looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters in greater detail.

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