5 Ways to Physically Prepare for DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

By: Courtney Floyd


Can you physically prepare your body for DIEP flap reconstruction? 

Yes!  Improving your core strength and cardio endurance before undergoing DIEP flap breast reconstruction can help during recovery. By toning up and physically preparing you can better prepare your body for the extra effort it will take to get around the first couple of weeks after surgery.

Here are five easy exercises to incorporate into your daily routine while preparing for the DIEP flap:

Stationary lunges

The stationary lunge is a great movement for developing the thighs and strengthening the hips. You will need to use your leg muscles often when going from a sitting to standing position and then back down.


The ultimate body workout! The plank works almost every main muscle including the deltoids, biceps, triceps, obliques, rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, pectorals major, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and hamstrings! You will be ready for anything after a few weeks of doing planks.


Bridges are a great exercise to increase gluteal strength! You will need a strong backside when getting up and down after surgery.

Chair Dips

Chair dips are a convenient way to increase upper and lower arm muscles. You will find you use your arms more often than you think for helping yourself up and down.


There are so many benefits to cardio. Everyone should get at least 30 minutes of movement in a day! By making sure you have your cardio endurance up before surgery it will make getting around after surgery a little less taxing on your body. Grab a group of your girlfriends and get out there!

Learn More About DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction


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  • PRMA

    I had this procedure - a patient of Dr. Ledeux - I had 4 major back surgeries before the breast cancer/reconstruction. I think most of your blogs are really unrealistic. U get diagnosed and have surgery/reconstruction at same time - not a lot of time to get in shape for this. I read most of what you write and shake my head.

  • PRMA

    I’m sorry you feel this way Barbara! I am so sorry to hear you had to undergo 4 major back surgeries prior to your journey with breast cancer! I can’t even being to imagine the extra stress that put on your body! You are definitely a champion! Although finding time or being physically capable to physically prepare for the DIEP flap is not always an option for some, we do encourage those who can to try, which is why we wanted to share this information. I hate hearing your think most of our blogs are unrealistic. It is no way our intention to be misleading or unrealistic about the breast reconstruction journey!

  • PRMA

    Barbara, you were diagnosed, had back surgery and reconstruction? Wow! Talk about a triple dose challenge. I can’t imagine how difficult this was for you. I’m sure you have had days that most of us will never have to face. However, I must respectfully disagree with you about PRMA’s blogs being unrealistic. I , too, am a PRMA patient and have survived breast cancer twice. Like you, I read most of what they write. I find that PRMA has always had the patient’s best interest in mind. They are fully aware that each post they write is dependent upon individual circumstances and that patients are faced with multiple challenges. I find their blogs and information informative, comprehensive and most importantly evidence-based. They are to be used as a tool and guidance in the breast reconstruction process and in healthy living in general. I believe if Dr. Ledoux was sitting in front of you he might say, “Barbara, I wish you could follow the steps in this blog but we know you face multiple challenges at the moment. We’ll do what we can to support your healing.” I only write this statement in reflection of what I have heard from my own plastic surgeon and other staff members at PRMA. I wish you support, no matter where you turn to get it, in your continued healing through your multiple surgeries and diagnosis.

  • Terri Coutee

    I see the comment from the patient regarding her back surgery. I wish her continued healing and health. I would like to offer my perspective since I too, write a blog for breast reconstruction patients. In as much as we would like our blogs to be able to apply to all who read them, it is unrealistic. We can only offer topics frequently discussed and those topics most requested to share information about. The blog on exercise, although it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone, is a well written list of things to do before and after surgery. They are exercises I did because I was able to. I certainly wouldn’t expect this blog to apply to everyone. I have utilized PRMA’s website and blog as a valuable resource for patients who have questions about breast reconstruction. I am grateful for the information and look forward to more education about the process of this difficult decision. Thank you for your continued efforts and concerns always for patients.

PRMA Plastic Surgery