Activity Limitations After Breast Reconstructive Surgery

Last Modified: May 8, 2009


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

What activity limitations do I have after breast reconstructive surgery?


Rachel McKenna, MSN, CRNP, Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, responds:

While the drains are in you cannot take a bath or submerge yourself in water. Showering with the drains in is fine. You also want to limit reaching and excessive stretching of your arms immediately after your mastectomy. Once the drains for the breasts are removed you may be given exercises to start. Generally these range of motion exercises are not started until 48 hours after the drains are removed.

If you have had tissue taken from your abdomen you will not be able to lift anything more than 7-10 lbs or do any strenuous exercise for 6 weeks. Walking is fine and can actually speed your recovery.