This is a great question and one that comes up very, very frequently. It comes up a lot because many of the women that I perform a breast augmentation (BA) on exercise regularly and want as little interruption as possible.
In general, I am more progressive than most other surgeons in that I allow my post BA patients to get back to exercising sooner . I do ask that they don’t significantly elevate their heart rate for prolonged periods of time for the first week. A suggestion here is going for long walks, at a comfortable pace, but nothing more strenuous than that.
After the first week, they can do things like take a spin class or use the elliptical machine essentially, anything that will elevate their heart rate but without a lot of bouncing movement. The elliptical or spin bike provide a much more comfortable experience than trying to jog, as an example. They can also begin strength training for their lower body, as well as for biceps and triceps. At this stage, they should avoid chest exercises or difficult back exercises. I believe gentle stretching is very helpful from the beginning, and should become easier after the first week.
Most of my hard core runner patients will start running after 2.5-3 weeks. I always advise starting easier (shorter distance and shorter time) for the first few times out running.
Chest exercises such as push ups should be held off until 4 to 6 weeks post-surgery. Start lighter and go easier during the first few sessions. When you are contracting your pectoral muscles, it is very normal for your breast implants to be displaced upwards, while the muscle is contracting. They will return to normal immediately, and it does not do any harm.
Two of my most notable patient stories on the topic – and these women certainly represent the exception, not the rule!
- I performed a breast augmentation on a very close friend of mine. She and her husband were the couple that got me into doing triathlons and Ironmans. I did a BA on her before she moved to Florida. She did a half Ironman (1.3 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13 mile run) after only 5-6 weeks from her BA. She is the exception, not the rule!
- A number of years ago, I performed a breast augmentation on a woman who clearly did a lot of weight lifting. I saw her a week after her BA and she mentioned that she never stopped doing her pull ups after surgery. I have never had a patient do this before. She did no harm, so this does show you that it is hard to really hurt things. She did run the risk of increased bleeding or bruising, but she experienced no problems, despite her pull-up regime.
Have questions about this procedure? Please call my office at 703-406-2444 to schedule a private, complimentary consultation with me