It is important to understand the post-operative care involved after underogoing breast augmentation top surgery, formerly referred to as MTF top surgery or MTF breast augmentation. In this article, we provide information on the physical limitations during your recovery period, including the restrictions on aerobic exercise and weightlifting. Our team is here to support you on your gender confirmation surgery journey so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for any questions or concerns.
If you’re considering a breast augmentation, it is important to make sure you have enough time in your schedule for a full recovery. Because breast augmentation is a significant surgical procedure, you will need time off from regular physical activity to allow your body to heal.
Your surgeon will provide you with specific aftercare instructions, and there are also a few general rules and timelines that can ease your transition back into regular physical activity.
A breast augmentation is usually completed in less than two hours. Once completed, you will be transported to a recovery area to be monitored. As you gradually wake up from sedation, it’s likely that you will experience some grogginess, soreness, and in some cases, nausea.
After you have been cleared for release (typically the same day as surgery), you will need a friend or relative to drive you home. Your body will be exhausted at this point, and you should avoid significant physical activity.
You will need to schedule plenty of time for rest and recuperation as you recover from surgery. The first few days of recovery should be spent mainly resting. Swelling, bruising, and discomfort are all common during this stage of recovery.
Getting enough rest will minimize pain, discomfort, and other possible complications after surgery. You shouldn’t lift anything heavier than 5lbs (about the weight of a gallon of milk) and you should avoid any high intensity exercise until you are cleared by your surgeon. Beginning the day after surgery, you can resume light physical activity, such as taking a walk around your neighborhood.
Aerobic exercise does more than give you a good workout. It also changes your body’s chemistry, increases your heart rate, and elevates your blood pressure. Though this is considered normal and healthy, it can cause delayed healing following major surgery.
To ensure a safe and speedy recovery, you should avoid aerobic exercise for at least three weeks, including sexual intimacy. When resuming aerobic exercise, you should start with light cardio, gradually increasing to a heavy cardio workout in 5-6 weeks.
At the three week mark, you may still experience some pain, tenderness, and discomfort when engaging in physical exercise, especially if you are running or jumping. Though this may be uncomfortable, it will not harm your final outcome. The easiest way to minimize discomfort during exercise is to wear proper breast support (e.g., a sports braor an athletic top with a built-in bra).
Like aerobic exercise, heavy lifting should be very restricted during the first three weeks of your recovery. This includes weight lifting exercises as well as heavy lifting that you may do during your normal daily activities. You should also avoid lifting your arms above your head during this initial phase of recovery.
Once a few weeks have passed and you feel comfortable, moderate lifting (e.g. half of what you generally lift) can be resumed. Any heavy lifting that directly targets the chest muscles (e.g., push-ups, chest presses or chest flys) should be completely avoided for at least 8 weeks.
The most important thing to remember when resuming any physical exercise is to pay attention to your body’s particular needs. If you don’t feel ready, or if an activity causes significant pain, you should stop until you start feeling better.