There are several aspects of healing that can be compromised by exercise.
1. In the first 10 days after surgery, there is a risk of pulling open a blood vessel and getting bleeding into the wound. For this reason, we encourage limited exertion and movement in the surgical area after any surgery.
2. The first three weeks after surgery are critical to the skin/fat layer reattaching to the fascia/muscle layer. If the two layers don’t reconnect, there can be a permanent space that will fill with fluid (Seroma). We recommend use of an abdominal binder as a splint to remind our patients to avoid movement across the abdomen for the first three weeks after surgery. After that, patients can begin exercise, but should avoid any movement that causes pain (pain being a sign that the early wound is being aggravated).
If a repair of diastasis/fascial/hernia repair is performed, then we also recommend avoiding any strain on the muscles of the abdomen until 6 weeks post-op. Typically, our patients are back on ellipticals by three weeks post-op.
3. At 6 weeks after surgery, healing is not complete, but the wound strength is about 50% of normal and should allow for normal exercise to begin. Even at 6 weeks, energy levels will be down, and we recommend a gradual return to normal exercise and work duties over the next 4 weeks.