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Day 1 β†’ Day 3

CONGRATS! You are home! You did it!

  • Keep hydrated to help reduce constipation / coughing / throat pain from intubation with water and tea. (Eat and drink slowly when coming out of surgery.)
  • Download an app (i.e. β€œMax”) or use medication log to help manage medication; Stay ahead of the pain per your doctor's instructions.
  • Milk and empty drains every 8 hours (see JP drain log to keep track of drainage)
  • Brush teeth 3-4x/day to reduce pneumonia risk
  • Use pillows under affected arm(s) for sleeping/sitting to keep your shoulder(s) in neutral position
  • Sponge bathing only


  • No lifting anything greater than 5 pounds!
Goal (you will be tired so REST! If you don’t do everything here, don’t stress!)Day 1Day 2Day 3
Breathing exercises: 360ΒΊ / diaphragmatic breathing 10x (slowly) every (waking) hour (helps with inspiration, reducing risk of pneumonia, rib mobility and lymphatic drainage)
Walk around the house or down the street (no inclines); should be max 10-15 min (keep heart rate low); no huffing/no sweating!!____min____min____min
Shoulder active range of motion: Limit arm movements to shoulder height or lower (T rex arms for 10 days-2wks); can do gentle shoulder rolls, small arm circles, and gentle shoulder flexion and abduction to tolerance under 90ΒΊ (NO WEIGHTS, daily activities will probably give you the movement you need)
Neck active range of motion (to tolerance): Rotation, Flexion, Extension
Elbow, wrist and finger flexion/extension to tolerance (no weights)
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (neck, shoulders, back and arms, NO CHEST)

360 Breathing​

Manual Lymphatic Drainage​

contact surgeon if
  • Fever 101ΒΊ or higher
  • Excessive bleeding, swelling or abrupt stopping of drainage (<30ml in 24 hours), redness, odor or heat to touch on skin around incision, excessive pain
Please remember that every body is unique. This is a GENERAL guideline. It is best to seek guidance from a rehab professional (OT/PT who specializes in top surgery rehab) and listen to your own body. If any recommendations are painful or cause negative symptoms, STOP! Discuss these guidelines with your surgeon as surgical protocols may vary.