Keeping Fit Post-Surgery After A Liposuction, Tummy Tuck Or Breast Augmentation


Exercise may be an important component of the healing process after having undergone surgery, but just how ready is your body for fitness?

We all know that regular exercise is important in maintaining our physical and mental health. However, those who just underwent plastic surgery may want to refrain from hitting the gym too soon, especially immediately after your procedure.

As an increase in blood pressure may result in inflammation and swelling at the surgery site as well as an increased risk of bleeding, exercise, an activity that raises blood pressure, is discouraged. “In fact, in addition to increasing risk of bleeding and swelling, any moderate to intense activities can cause the healing incisions to re-open, which can worsen any post-operative scarring and making the patient more susceptible to infection,” said Dr Darren Ng, Specialist in Plastic Surgery, Raffles Skin & Aesthetics Centre. “It is recommended that patients avoid any intensive activity for at least six to eight weeks.”

However, that does not mean that you should be confined to your bed during this period. You can still enjoy the benefits of exercise without compromising your health by doing some light activities. Ms Tan Yen Fang, Physiotherapist, Raffles Rehabilitation Centre, suggests gradually returning to your exercise as tolerated. “It would be even better if patients start building up or maintaining their fitness before their operation, as this allows them a quicker return to their daily routine.”

Tips to ease you into your usual exercise regime

1. Take it easy

Don’t resume your routine until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. When you do, build up the intensity of your exercise slowly to give your body time to recover.

2. Drink more water

As body fluids will be lost during exercise, staying hydrated is important in replenishing them.

3. Eat healthy

A well balanced diet containing anti-inflammatory foods may help to reduce your healing time. Have more tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, as well as fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Limit foods that may cause inflammation such as refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries, French fries and other fried foods, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage), hydrogenated fats, shortening, and lard.

Ultimately, your body will let you know when it is ready to resume exercise, so don’t push yourself, take things slow, and listen to your body!


Had liposuction, tummy tuck or breast augmentation done and anxious to start working out? Check out these suggested exercise regimes suited for each procedure.

Liposuction & tummy tucks

Liposuction involves the removal of fats from specific areas of your body using a suction device, such as the thighs, love handles, and abdomen, are removed using a suction device.

Tummy tucks, or abdominoplasty, is done to remove excess abdominal skin and also tighten the abdominal muscles.

  • Start by taking short walks lasting about 15 – 30 minutes as soon as you feel up to it.
  • Once you are cleared by your doctor for more intensive exercises, you may wish to engage in exercises that strengthen your core muscles such as pilates:

1. Shoulder Bridge Level I

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your arms at your sides and raise your hips without arching your back, tighten the muscles of your buttocks and hamstrings, and hold for 10 seconds. Do five reps of this exercise.

2. Shoulder Bridge Level II

Extend one leg straight up and point the foot. Kick the leg down and out, flexing the foot while keeping the hips raised. Repeat the above, exhaling as you extend the leg up and inhaling as you kick it down. Keep your torso steady and your other foot firmly on the mat. Hold this position for about five seconds. Do five reps with each leg.

3. Kneeling Side Kicks

Begin by kneeling on the mat. Leaning to the left, place your left hand on the mat under the shoulder and your right hand behind the head with the elbow pointing upwards. Raise your right leg till it is parallel to the floor. Kick the leg to the front and then to the back, keeping your knee straight while holding your torso steady. Do 10 reps for each side.


Breast Augmentation

Breast implants may be placed over or under the pectoral muscles to upsize the patient’s breasts.

Shoulder range of movement exercises

  1. Assisted forward flexion of shoulder x 20 reps
  2. Assisted abduction of shoulder x 20 reps
  3. Assisted internal rotation (hand-behind-back) x 20 reps
  4. Pendulums (clockwise/anti-clockwise) x1 min
  5. Shoulder circumduction (clockwise/anti-clockwise) x 15 secs