How soon can I do exercise after breast augmentation surgery?

Written by: Mr William Townley
Published: | Updated: 07/12/2018
Edited by: Jay Staniland

Breast augmentation is a popular plastic surgery operation designed to both increase the size of the breast and also improve the shape. It is performed under general anaesthetic and the majority of patients go home the same day. Once you’ve had breast augmentation surgery, you may want to know how long you should wait before getting back to your exercise routine. Leading consultant plastic surgeon, Mr William Townley answers your questions about exercise after surgery, and what the procedure involves.


Breast augmentation: which breast shape and size is best for me?


There are many different shapes and sizes of breast implants and the breast implant is matched to your goals for surgery. In other words, the look you’re hoping for and also your natural anatomy.


What are the risks of breast augmentation surgery?


Breast augmentation is a routine procedure and the vast majority of patients do not experience any problems whatsoever. However, there are some complications that patients need to be aware of, and these include general things such infection or bleeding. These are actually very rare in breast augmentation surgery occurring in about 1 in a hundred patients, but it can be a reason why you may have to return to theatre.

In a minority of patients, bleeding after the procedure may result in swelling in the breast pocket around the implant and require a further operation to remove the blood clot.

There are some things which are common to all patients. These include having some degree of nipple numbness, or numbness of the skin around the breast. This usually improves over a period of six weeks to six months. There will also be swelling, which usually takes several weeks or months to settle down.

Another common issue is that the breast implants often sit quite high early, and can take some time to settle down into their natural position. This process is called fluff and drop, and can take up to six months before the final result is seen.


The breast surgery scar


The breast surgery scar is very small, around 4cm or so in length and is placed directly in the fold underneath the breast. Over time, the scar fades, and because of its location becomes very inconspicuous.


Is breast surgery painful?


The amount of pain experienced varies from patient to patient. The majority of patients require regular pain killers for the first four or five days. By day four or five, most patients are relatively pain free, moving comfortably and not requiring any further analgesia.

I usually recommend patients to take a week off work and it’s four or five weeks before they can return to strenuous exercise such as lifting weights, running, and swimming.


Exercise after breast augmentation surgery


I encourage all my patients to be up and walking on the day of the surgery. In the next week or two after surgery, they’ll be walking around going out to the shops, looking after themselves but not lifting more than about 5kg in weight.

I usually recommend patients to wait at least four weeks before they begin intense physical exercise such as lifting weights, swimming, or running. At that stage, they can perform any unrestricted activity.

At the end of the operation, a support bra is used to support the breasts but there are no other dressings and no drains.


Revision breast surgery


About 15% of patients who have breast augmentation surgery will have a revision procedure within 10 to 15 years.

However, if there are no issues with the implants and patients are pleased with the shape of their breasts, then there’s no need for revision or to have the surgery redone.

The most common reason for this is scar tissue build up around the implant. This is termed capsular contracture and is one of the more common reasons why patients undergo revision surgery.

The implants used nowadays are very durable and robust but in a minority of cases, it is possible that they may rupture, requiring revision surgery.

Sometimes patients just want a change in the size of their implant or a further breast reshaping procedure such as a lift.

If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, and want to discuss it further, you can make an appointment with a specialist here.

By Mr William Townley
Plastic surgery

Mr William Townley is a consultant plastic surgeon who runs a busy cosmetic practice in London with a special interest in rhinoplasty and all aspects of facial and breast aesthetic surgery. Practising from his two private cosmetic clinics in London, he strives to provide the highest standard of care to his patients, placing great emphasis on quality, safety and innovative techniques to deliver natural and beautiful results. He is also Head of Department at the largest teaching hospital in London (Guy's & St Thomas'), where he is a core member of both the facial palsy and head and neck cancer multi-disciplinary groups and sits on several national advisory boards relating to facial palsy and complex cancer reconstruction. Mr Townley studied and trained in London, Oxford and Cambridge before gaining further subspecialist training and experience in Toronto, Canada and British Columbia. He has a keen interest in clinical research and improving clinical outcome, publishing almost 30 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and authoring several book chapters. 

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