Exercise after breast augmentation
Breast augmentation is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures in our practice. Given its popularity, I feel that it is important to provide proper preoperative and postoperative instructions to my patients. An important element of the postoperative recovery and a common question from our patients is when it is safe to return to working out.
So here is our protocol, plain and simple:
First 3 weeks – No exercise
No exercise. Do not raise your heart rate above 100 beats per minute to minimize your bleeding risk. Small blood vessels that are controlled during surgery may start bleeding if you raise your blood pressure too soon after surgery. Even minimal exertion like a brisk walk or stationary bike can lead to higher blood pressure and possible bleeding.
Three to 6 weeks – Lower body low intensity exercise
You may return to light to moderate intensity exercise to your lower body only. At this time, your bleeding risk is minimal, but implant displacement and malposition can occur. Light exercise will get your heart rate up, but it will not lead to significant forces that may displace your implant.
Six weeks to 3 months – Higher intensity exercise
You may return to intense workouts at this time. The breast implant has now formed a thin layer of scar tissue around it, which will decrease the risk of implant malposition. It is still important to avoid any strength or weight exercises that target the chest (pectoralis major) muscles.
After 3 months – Upper body strength exercises
After 3 months, it is ok to return to upper body strength exercises. Your breast implant is now surrounded by a mature layer of scar tissue that will prevent it from displacing under any arm or chest movements.
For the lifetime of your breast implants
A breast implant is essentially a weight placed under your breast, and it will be forever subjected to the forces of gravity. To prevent implant malposition or stretching out of your breast skin it is important to properly support your breast implants (with a sports bra or two) and to avoid frequent chest muscle exercises. These exercises include push-ups, bench press, inverted yoga, burpees, etc.
Large breast implants are more prone to displacing and stretching out tissues than small breast implants. Saline breast implants are also more likely to experience these problems because water is just heavier and “harder” than silicone. This is why we encourage patients to choose their breast implant conservatively and to avoid saline implants unless motivated by other factors.
About 50% of our breast practice is dedicated to placing breast implants for the first time, and about 50% is dedicated to correcting issues associated with older implants. As always, our team is available to discuss this exercise protocol or any other matters surrounding breast implants. We are here for patient education and to elevate the standard of care in aesthetic plastic surgery.