Walk after surgery to speed up healing, or remain still?

Following a mommy makeover procedure, are patients advised to walk around to speed up healing, or remain still to avoid swelling? I'm reading some doctors say you must not move much for the drains to do their job and reduce swelling, but others say to walk around and get blood moving... should I do a combination of both?

Doctor Answers 17

Post-op ambulation

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Walking short distances after mommy makeover surgery is important to lower your risk of developing a blood clot (DVT, PE).  While it is important to avoid strenuous activity, exercise, and heavy lifting for 6 weeks after a tummy tuck, early ambulation is important to lower the risk of developing blood clots after a general anesthetic.  Over the first few days, walking from the kitchen to bedroom to washroom, etc. is sufficient.  Within the first week of surgery, you should be able to progress to short walks in your neighborhood during your recovery.

Stephanie Power MD, MSc, FRCSC

Walking After Surgery

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Gentle #walking may increase circualtion and help to alleviate swelling. But you must not strain or push yourself. Healing after a  #MommyMakeover will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake.  Your #healing will continue for 2-3 months for the early period. This includes some swelling, bruising, malposition, color differences. Sensation in the breasts may also be abnormal and scars will be evolve. Tingling, burning or shooting pains in the breasts will disappear with time and should not alarm you. It is simply a result of the regeneration of your sensory nerves. If these sensations cause pain, repeated, local self-massage per your surgeon's permission may help. The purpose of the post-procedure #garment is to provide some gentle #support and to reduce swelling following a #TummyTuck or #Abdominoplasty. If it feels too tight or causes pain, take it off. Patients wear the #elastic garment for several weeks after surgery, as directed by their doctor. Some choose to wear it longer for several months for comfort. 

If you have concerns about your #healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Balance between rest and activity

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Dear MonoDi_Mom,

It is actually better to keep your activity level on the low side early after a tummy tuck so that you do not develop fluid collections under the abdominal skin flap. On the other hand, if you are too sedentary it is risking forming blood clots in your calves, so at a minimum when you are in a recliner or in bed you should frequently pull your toes towards your face or while standing, stand on tip toes to keep contracting and squeezing the calf muscle so you do not get blood stagnating and potentially forming a blood clot.

I hope this has been helpful.

Robert D. Wilcox, MD

Robert D. Wilcox, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Resuming ambulation after a mommy makeover.

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In my own practice I want patients ambulating the day of the operation. I encourage them to walk liberally going forward. Specific limitations on activity should come from your own surgeon however.

Mommy Makeover / Tummy Tuck / Liposuction / Breast Augmentation/Breast Implants

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I appreciate your question.

I would recommend that you discuss this question with your surgeon.  Your surgeon is your best resource as he/she is most familiar with your medical history and how you will be healing following surgery.  I have my patients up and walking with assistance the same day as surgery.  Every surgeon as different post op protocols so please discuss with yours.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.
Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Walking after plastic surgery

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Thanks for your question.  Walking after surgery is important to decrease the risk of blood clots, improve breathing, and improve the motility of your gut, especially if you are taking narcotic pain medications which can lead to constipation.  Walking around the house the day of surgery and more the next day is usually recommended.  However, I would also minimize strenuous activity or exercise such as running or any heavy lifting for 4-6 weeks, per your plastic surgeon's instructions.  Hope this helps…best of luck!

Mommy Makeover - Walking After Surgery?

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Thank you for your excellent question. I have my patients out of bed and walking the night of surgery, and then walking 4 times per day for at least 15 minutes. This will minimize your risk of developing a blood clot. You will feel weak and tired following surgery, so this will probably be all you can handle for the first one to two weeks. Please discuss your post-op activity level with your plastic surgeon as everyone has different protocols for their patients to follow. Hope this helps.

Post op "walking"

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Basically, you want to be somewhere in the middle when it comes to post op walking. Short, slow bursts of walking are going to help with circulation and prevent blood clots. But you don't want to overdue it as that will interfere with your healing. Talk with your surgeon as to the best plan of action for you. 
My best,
Dr. Sheila Nazarian
@drsheilanazarian on Instagram

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Walking After Surgery

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Great Question. I always tell my patients that the number 1 rule after surgery is to get up and walk. Not only does this keep your circulation moving and preventing blood clots, but it will also help you get over the soreness much faster.

Lawrence Bundrick, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Mommy make-over - how much walking after surgery

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Thank you for asking about your mommy make-over.

  • A great question -
  • The most feared complication after a mommy make-over is leg blood clots.
  • These are much more likely if you stay in bed.
  • Being up and around as much as possible is important for your circulation.
  • After this operation however, that can be painful and difficult.
  • Using a walker (rented from a medical supply pharmacy) helps a lot.
  • Having Exparel injected into the muscles at surgery helps enormously.
  • I remove drains early and have not found that activity increases drainage.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.