FTM and FTN Chest Reconstruction Recovery and Back to Exercise

The goal of FTM/N chest surgery (top surgery) is to create a more masculine looking chest. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Mosser and Dr. Facque remove chest tissue, excess skin, and in some cases, resizes or repositions your nipples.

FTM/N chest surgery is a positive, life-changing event for most transmen, non-binary and gender expansive patients who have had previous experiences with chest dysphoria or discomfort. It’s also important to remember that it’s a major surgical procedure. This means that you’ll need time to rest, recover, and recuperate before resuming work, exercise, and your normal routines. Following The Gender Confirmation Center’s post-surgical instructions is the best way to ensure a safe and successful recovery.

Physical limitations during your recovery

You should resume light physical activities, like walking, as soon as possible. Light physical activity will promote healing. However, you should avoid any physical exertion (including sexual intimacy) that may cause you to sweat for at least three weeks.

You should also avoid lifting anything heavier than 5 lbs. (about the weight of a heavy laptop computer) 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 the arms aren’t used too 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 your job is largely sedentary, 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 grand you adequate time off for a safe recovery. Dr. Mosser will provide you with written documentation for your employer. This note will not include any confidential information regarding the nature of your procedure.

Resuming moderate-to-heaving 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 FTM/N top surgery. Chest-focused weight lifting can enhance the contour of your chest.

Dr. Mosser or Dr. Facque will provide you with personalized instructions following surgery, but most patients feel up to resuming moderate lifting within three weeks of surgery. Heavy lifting using the chest muscles can be resumed 5-6 weeks after surgery.

Bodybuilders and other heavy lifters who have undergone double incision FTM/N chest reconstruction (which results in two horizontal scars underneath the pectoral muscles) should restrict heavy chest focused workouts for even longer – in some cases up to 3 months – to avoid pulling or stretching the incision lines.