Facial plastic surgery is a popular treatment that can reverse the signs of aging and improve skin texture and appearance. After plastic surgery, it’s not uncommon for patients to want to show off the results of their treatment and return to their normal routines, including exercise, as soon as possible. Because exercising too soon after surgery can increase the risk of complications, it’s important for patients to allow sufficient time for their bodies to recover. Dr. Greg Gaines provides each patient with a personalized exercise timeline after plastic surgery during consultations at his Gainesville, FL practice. Dr. Gaines can do the same for you when you schedule your consultation with us.

A General Exercise Timeline

Each recovery after plastic surgery is unique. Some patients may bounce back quickly, while others may take slightly longer to recover. Recovery times vary based on the type of surgery performed, how well patients follow instructions before and after surgery, and personal healing times.

Although some patients may feel recovered enough to return to their regular exercise routines shortly after surgery, it’s important to get physician approval before resuming moderate to strenuous activities to avoid the risk of complications. With that said, the following is a general exercise timeline that is commonly followed after plastic surgery, but should not be followed in lieu of your surgeon’s directions.

The First Three to Five Days after Surgery

The first few days after plastic surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and should be spent resting. Patients should expect some pain, bruising, and swelling during this time. Pain medication will be prescribed to help alleviate discomfort and ice packs may be recommended to reduce swelling. Patients should have someone stay with them to help keep activity minimal in the initial recovery phase and strenuous exercise should be avoided at all costs. Generally, around the third day of recovery, light activity, such as walking, will be recommended. Light walking can be beneficial to the recovery process because it promotes circulation and reduces the risk of developing blood clots within the legs.

One to Two Weeks after Surgery

Depending on the surgery performed, patients may begin to see an improvement in swelling and bruising, as well as reduced pain within two weeks after surgery. Some patients may be recovered enough to return to work, provided they refrain from strenuous exercise and heavy lifting. Although strenuous activity should be avoided, walking and light activity is generally encouraged. Some patients may even be advised to lengthen their walks or increase their activity in preparation for the coming weeks.

Two to Four Weeks after Surgery

By two to four weeks after surgery, many patients will be recovered enough to increase their activity and exercise level. However, before increasing activity or exercise, it’s important to receive physician approval. Upon approval, patients may be ready to begin light cardio, in addition to walking. It’s important to note that when introducing activities back into their routines, patients should take care to avoid exercising areas where surgery was performed, such as the arms if recovering from an arm lift, and to listen to their bodies to avoid injury.

Four to Six Weeks after Surgery 

Within four to six weeks after surgery, many patients will be sufficiently recovered and can begin more moderate exercise, including some weight training. Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should continue to be avoided until otherwise approved by a physician. Most patients will receive physician approval to return to their normal exercise routine, including strenuous activity, about six to eight weeks after surgery.

Learn More about Exercise after Plastic Surgery

For answers to your questions about exercising after plastic surgery, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gaines.