Returning to Exercise After Chest Reconstruction Top Surgery (formerly FTM/N Top Surgery)

It is  important to remember that  chest reconstruction top surgery is a major surgical procedure. This means you will  need time to rest and recover before going back to  work, exercise, and your normal routines. Following The Gender Confirmation Center’s post-surgical instructions is a good way to ensure a safe and successful recovery.

Physical limitations during recovery

You should resume light activities, like walking, as soon as possible, as these will promote healing. However, you should avoid any physical exertion (including sexual intimacy) that may cause you to sweat.

You should also avoid lifting anything heavier than 5 lbs (about the weight of a half gallon of milk ) during the first few weeks of your recovery. Physical exertion will increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to increased swelling and other complications.

Once a full three weeks have passed, you may gradually begin resuming light cardio, as long as you do not use your arms much. In most cases, you should be able to resume your normal exercise routine, including weight bearing exercises, within 5-6 weeks of surgery.

When can I return to work?

If you have a sedentary job, you should be able to resume work within 7-9 days of surgery. If your job requires a lot of physical activity, you will be required to take additional days off from work or modify your normal daily activities.

In most cases, your employer is required to grant you enough time off for a safe recovery. Your surgeon can  provide you with written documentation you can provide to your employer to state that you need time off from work. This note will not include any confidential information about you or your surgery or other medical information.

Resuming moderate-to-heavy lifting

Weight lifting and chest exercises are only recommended (for patients who desire to engage in these activities) once you reach a full recovery from chest reconstruction  top surgery. Chest-focused weight lifting can enhance the contour of your chest.

Your surgeon  will provide you with personalized instructions following surgery, but most patients feel up to resuming moderate weight lifting within three weeks of surgery. Heavy lifting using the chest muscles can be resumed 5-6 weeks after surgery. To explain further, you can lift 5 lbs max until day 21, then 20-25 lbs until end of week 6 (day 42) then no limit on weight. People should gradually increase the weight at the recovery points.

Bodybuilders and other heavy lifters who have undergone double incision chest reconstruction top surgery should not do heavy chest focused workouts while healing from surgery and for up to three months in some cases, to avoid pulling or stretching the incision lines. You can talk to your surgeon about when you might be able to expect to get back to heavy lifting.