After a breast augmentation, one of the patient’s main concerns about their recovery may be how soon they are able to return to their routine physical activities without jeopardizing their results or health. Being active and getting adequate amounts of exercise daily can be very important to people. It can make you feel good and put you in a better mood, so it’s only natural to want to resume your normal activities as soon as possible. Many would like to immediately jump right back into their daily activities, but it is important to allow the body some time to heal.
Generally, walking and being lightly active is encouraged after a breast augmentation, especially if there were no complications with the procedure. But the main concern is straining the pectoral muscle. Since some breast implants are placed under the pectoral muscle, it is important to allow the muscle to rest. The muscle needs to do a lot of healing, after surgery, before any stress can be placed on it. Putting stress on the muscle before it is healed may lead to complications and the results can be affected.
Motion and stress on the upper body can increase the amount of bleeding and swelling you experience and ultimately cause capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is a complication which can occur after augmentations, due to the scar tissue/capsule around the implant tightening and constricting. Capsular contracture can change the appearance of the affected breast and cause a lot of pain. To prevent any complications from occurring, it is important to create a plan with your surgeon during your consultation. Your surgeon can help you create a routine specific to your needs and type of augmentation to slowly help you become active again. Every patient is different and will have a plan customized to their specific needs, but here are some basic guidelines that may be recommended after your augmentation.
48 Hours After Surgery
Right after surgery, it is expected for you to be very sore and swollen, and it is generally recommended to not be overly active. However, patients should typically begin slowly walking for short periods of time, around the room or house, to promote blood circulation. It is perfectly fine for you to get up and make yourself some water or a cup of tea. It is also a good idea to sit upright to minimize the amount of swelling you experience. This should continue for the first two weeks after surgery. It is also important to not lift, push, or pull anything that weighs more than 10lbs to avoid strain on the pectoral muscles. This can include car doors, children, and even heavy purses. Typically patients are able to return to work about a week or two after surgery.
2-4 Weeks After Surgery
Two weeks after surgery, patients can begin some light cardio such as walking on a treadmill or uphill, as long as there are no bouncing motions. Some other exercises that can slowly be added in are exercises (without weights) specific to the lower body such as lunges, leg presses, and squats. All exercises involving the chest, back, and arms should be avoided. This includes push-ups, pull-ups, planks, dips, and some yoga/pilates poses. During any physical activity after a breast augmentation, you should make sure to wear a sports bra to make sure there is no strain on the skin or muscles.
After 4 weeks
During your 4-week post op visit, the doctor will look at your progress and determine whether you are ready to slowly add arm and chest exercises back into your routine. However, at this point, you should still generally try to steer clear from very heavy lifting. Heavy lifting, aerobic exercise, and sexual activity should typically be avoided until the 6-week mark. After six weeks, if there are no complications, patients should expect to be healed, and they will be able to resume all exercises. But it is important to listen to what your body is telling you. If you are performing an exercise or movement that causes you to experience swelling or weakness, you should stop and wait a little while longer before you try it again. If your breasts start to feel abnormal or you start to feel unwell, you should contact your plastic surgeon right away. Eventually, the complete strength of the pectoral muscles will return.
Dr. Steinbrech is a board-certified plastic surgeon who was selected by the Consumers’ Research Council of America as one of America’s Top Plastic Surgeons. Breast augmentations are one of his most requested procedures due to his expertise. He aims to use surgical techniques that can minimize the amount of downtime during your recovery process. Dr. Steinbrech performs breast augmentations in Manhattan and Los Angeles. If you would like to schedule a consultation with him, you can call his office at (347) 983-9560.