Post-operative physiotherapy


The main aim of post-operative physiotherapy is to assist the individual’s return to normal activities following their surgery.

After surgery, patients will be seen by a physiotherapist to establish their rehabilitation goals. Routine post-operative physiotherapy intervention comprises of breathing exercises, circulatory exercises, and early mobilisation to prevent complications.

Breathing exercises

Doing regular breathing exercises are important following surgery to help lower the risk of developing a chest infection. These exercises should be performed at least 3-5 times a day, preferably while sitting up straight.

The breathing exercises are as follows:

Breathing control: This is gentle, normal breathing using the lower chest while relaxing the upper chest and shoulders. It is important to return to this pattern of breathing between the more active techniques, to allow the airways to relax.

Deep breathing: Here, the patient will take a deep breath to maximum expansion and then hold it for three counts. The upper chest and shoulders should remain relaxed while doing this.

Huffing with breathing control: Huffing is the act of taking in a small breath and forcing the breath/air out by tightening your abdominal muscles while keeping your mouth open. Note that your head and shoulders should be relaxed while you do this.

A period of breathing control should follow one or two huffs to prevent the airways tightening and shortness of breath.


It is important to maintain blood circulation following surgery to reduce the risk of getting deep vein thrombosis due to immobility. TED stocks should be provided by nursing staff post operation.

These exercises should be repeated two times every hour, they can be done in either a bed or chair.

The exercises themselves are placing both feet together and lifting them up and backwards, your calf muscles should feel a little pull, and then back down again.

The next is maxing circular motions with your foot.


Early mobilisation is a key factor in reducing post-operative complications to allow a fast recovery and timely discharge from the hospital. You will be assisted to get out of bed by your physiotherapist or nurse on the day of the operation or the following day. You will be working with your physiotherapist to begin to increase your mobility and a stair assessment will be completed if required.

Contact a Birmingham Physiotherapist today to book yourself for a consultation.