Is it normal for running to be painful 6-weeks post-op; I've been able to resume other exercise (incl dumbbell bench press)?

I had a "moderate sized excision and a lot of lipo", according to my surgeon. I started using elliptical (no arms) 3 weeks out, gradually increasing use of arms from weeks 4 to 6 (today). I did some barbell squatting (no arms -- safety squat bar) in week 4 to present. I have even done dumbbell bench press (high reps with only 25-30 lbs). But I still cannot run without pain behind my nipples. Running does not hurt if I hold/compress my chest with my hands, however. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 7

Discomfort running after liposuction

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It's normal to have discomfort doing any impact exercise after liposuction for several weeks, even months. It seems you must have had a breast procedure as well. It's also normal after a breast procedure to be uncomfortable with impact exercises. Be sure to wear something very supportive during your exercising.

San Antonio Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Resuming Exercise 6 Weeks Post Op

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Dear bigbaby123,

In short, yes - patients who are returning to exercise tend to have some sensitivity at the surgical site. It sounds like you had a breast reduction, so the bouncing from the running motion can still cause discomfort even though you are cleared to return to exercise. Try using a more supportive sports bra and running at 50% of your pre surgical ability, and then gradually increase from there. Hopefully slowly re introducing your body to normal activity levels will help to alleviate some of the discomfort you are feeling. Good luck!

Is it normal for running to be painful 6-weeks post-op; I've been able to resume other exercise (incl dumbbell bench press)?

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Thank you for your question and congratulations on your surgeries.  Unfortunately it is not clear if and what type of breast surgery you had performed but 6 weeks is the earliest that I allow patients to resume running after an augmentation or reduction. Running places a lot of strain on the tissues and with the increased heart rate and blood flow can cause swelling to worsen, causing discomfort.  I would recommend voicing your issues to your surgeon as they know the full details of your procedure and can offer you the appropriate reassurance.  Best wishes. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Pain with running

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What you describe is not abnormal.

Most patients can engage in all aspects of physical activities at six weeks but some people require substantially longer.

Consider following up with your plastic surgeon if you think there's a problem otherwise give it more time. Paragraph best,

Mats Hagstrom M.D.

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Surgery - still painful to run after 6 weeks

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Thank you for your question -
  • Unfortunately it isn't clear to me what surgery you had.
  • Perhaps a breast reduction?
  • If so, the nipples can be sensitive for 6 weeks or longer to the impact force of running.
  • Have you tried wearing a snug sports bra? It should provide the support you need.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes. Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS


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I am assuming you had gynecomastia surgery based upon you description. Some discomfort is possible when you start to resume vigorous activity.  If concerned, see you surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Is it normal for running to be painful 6-weeks post-op; I've been able to resume other exercise (incl dumbbell bench press)?

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Hello dear, thanks for your question and provided information as well.. This is the surgical procedure that revolutionized cosmetic surgery becoming one of the most performed cosmetic procedures. Subcutaneous tissue or fat is removed in order to contour the body in a way that is harmonious and pleasing to the senses. It can be performed in almost all regions of the body such as the neck, chin, abdomen, back, buttocks, thighs, arms and ankles. Usually done through a small incision in the skin through which a cannula connected to a vacuum is applied, it can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures. After liposuction your body is going to be really swollen for at least 2 to 4 months after your surgery. It is important for you to wear your compression garment for at least 6 months, the first 3 months 24/7 and then the last 3 months at least 12 hours per day for your body get use to not having the faja for so many time. When you remove it, your body can get swollen and also you can have pain. Remember to also compress your body to prevent a seroma which is an accumulation of liquid that has to be drained, it is hard to touch and also really painful. Bruises are completely normal for almost 3 months from surgery, that’s why is better for you to use a bruising cream and apply it all over your body 3 times a day. To prevent bad circulation and swollen legs, use compression socks. Brazilian butt lift can be performed with the same procedure and for a month it will be swollen and it will drop a little bit without losing it’s shape if you use your garment.. If you’re going to perform liposuction on your inner, outer, anterior, lateral, postetior thighs, be careful and consult with your surgeon what’s best for you, sometimes we have more extra skin than fat, that can cause severe sagginess on our legs, which can be only be reversed performing a thigh lift…

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 441 reviews

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.