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Day 8 → Day 11 (or after your first post op appointment)

CONGRATS! You are probably drain-free or close to it at this point. They’re generally removed when you have 30cc’s or less of drainage over 24 hours. Sutures may be taken out too. It will likely take about 2 days for your drain wounds to close. You may need to apply antibiotics and gauze. Follow your provider’s recommendations. You will likely need to be in compression until 4-6 weeks post op to avoid seroma, hematoma, edema, etc. Compression also helps with scar healing and soft tissue adhering in the chest wall. Be gentle when bathing! If you are off narcotics, your doctor may clear you to drive.

If you have nipple grafts, add daily dressing changes as instructed by MD (my partner took antibiotics and used xeroform with telfa pads).


  • No lifting anything greater than 8 pounds (about a gallon of milk)!
  • Consider compression socks during exercise if you have help to put them on

Italics indicate what's different from Day 1 - 7 exercises

GOAL (REST and listen to your body when it is telling you to stop! If you don’t do everything here, don’t stress!)Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11
Breathing exercises: 360º / diaphragmatic breathing (slowly) 10-15x every (waking) hour
Walk around the house/ up to a couple miles slowly; keep heart rate low; no huffing/no sweating!!____min____min____min____min
Shoulder active range of motion: Limit arm movements to shoulder height or lower (T rex arms for approx 1 more week!); can do gentle shoulder rolls, scapular squeezes, shoulder external rotation (be careful), shoulder circles, shoulder shrugs, and shoulder flexion and abduction to tolerance under 90º (NO WEIGHTS)
Neck active range of motion (to tolerance): Rotation, Flexion, Extension
Elbow, wrist and finger flexion/extension to tolerance
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (neck, shoulders, back, and arms only, NO CHEST)

360 Breathing

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

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.