Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of respiratory physiotherapy (walking, cough and kinesiotherapy) on lung function in patients during the postoperative period of upper abdominal surgery. Methods: A total of 30 patients (14 female and 16 male; mean age of 53 years) were evaluated clinically and by pulmonary function tests, measurements of respiratory muscle strength and arterial oxygen saturation. Patients were randomly included in Group A (walking and coughing) or Group B (walking, coughing and kinesiotherapy – diaphragmatic exercises during sustained and non-sustained inhaling). Rresults: Compared to preoperative values, the forced expiratory volume during the first second decreased 24% in Group A and 31% in Group B during the first postoperative day; a 7 and a 14% (non significant) decrease was maintained in the fifth postoperative day. The forced vital capacity decreased by 27% (Group A) and by 33% (Group B) in the first postoperative day; a 12% (non significant) decrease in Group A, and a 20% decrease in Group B was maintained in the fifth postoperative day. The maximum inspiratory pressure decreased 16% in the first postoperative day (Groups A and B); a 4% (non significant) drop was maintained in the fifth postoperative day (both groups). The maximum expiratory pressure decreased 20 (Group A) and 18% (Group B) in the first postoperative day; a 14% decrease (Group A) and 15% decrease (Group B) was maintained in the fifth postoperative day. Cconclusion: The progression of Group A was similar to that of Group B (which had a higher risk of complications), suggesting that adding kinesiotherapy was beneficial.