True That I Will Not Be Able to Lift Anything for 1-2 Months After Surgery?

I want to get Breast implants but don't know what to do about returning back to work after surgery. I heard many opinions and would like to get more. I currently work in a hospital, on geriatrics unit as a nursing assistant, which involves washing and turning patients. I'm also a single mother to a 2 yr old. Is it true that I will not be able to lift anything for 1-2 months after surgery?

Doctor Answers 10

True that I will it be able to lift anything for 1-2 months after surgery?

Thank you for your question! The "rapid recovery" breast augmentation is a newer philosophy with many surgeons to expedite activity and expedite recovery following the breast augmentation procedure. In my practice, utilizing the fast track technique after breast augmentations, women are readily able and doing most things virtually immediately after this procedure. It is the similar techniques as described and is really gaining popularity. She is even recommended to go out for dinner that evening. Pain is minimal and you will likely be on a scheduled antiinflammatory regimen/pain control along with early exercises/range of motion techniques immediately. However, follow your surgeon's instructions for postoperative care and restrictions, but it is common for most women to resume many of the preoperative activities and duties within a week. I typically restrict heavy lifting and vigorous exercise for approximately 4-6 weeks Swelling and settling of the implant typically occurs over a 6-12 week period along with placement in a compression-type bra for the same time period, while your incisions commonly resolve to its final appearance in up to a year. Hope that this helps! Best wishes for a great result!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

True That I Will Not Be Able to Lift Anything for 1-2 Months After Surgery?

 Thank you for the question. Your plastic surgeon will always be your best resource when it comes to returning to specific occupation/activities. He/she knows exactly what was done, how you are progressing (every patient has a different experience after breast surgery), whether or not you have experienced any complications or setbacks, and exactly what type of activities you wish to return to.

On average, I ask patients to take off  5 days to 1 week after breast augmentation surgery (desk job).  For some professions (such as yours), I may suggest a going back to work with a lighter workload (or in your case, having someone else do the lifting etc.. that would involve the pectoralis muscle).  Ideally, I ask patients not to lift anything heavy or do things ( like pulling/pushing) that contract the pectoralis musle for at least 3 weeks.  Ultimately, it will be important for you to “listen to your body”,  apply common sense, and return to activities/exercises in a  gradual fashion. Best wishes.

Breast augmentation and return to work

I tell patients to take it easy for a few days after surgery. Simple desk job work can be accomplished and restarted within a week after surgery. However, I would not recommend heavy lifting of patients for at least 6 weeks. Anything that can increase yoru heart rate and blood pressure alot and also causing vigorous work-outs of your pec muscles should be avoided so that you do not develop a hematoma. Hematomas are the enemies of implants.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Most breast augmentation patients go back to work in 3 or 4 days.


That's silly!  The recovery from breast implants is not bad.  Because of the kind of work you do, I suggest 2 weeks from work.  All our patients in Manhattan exercise without restrictions after 3 weeks.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Follow your plastic surgeon's advice

Follow the advice of your plastic surgeon as far as activities following a breast augmentation. For my patients I allow light lifting for the first week, up to 15 pounds. I believe that it is most important to restrict activities that make the breast bounce up and down. This includes high impact aerobics, running, jogging, trampoline and horse back ridding. This is for the first 3 - 4 weeks depending upon individual anatomy and implant location.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Lifting considerable weight possible a week after surgery

Young Mommy,

Well, you got the whole spectrum of answers with this question. Every plastic surgeon has their own protocols for their post operative breast augmentation patients. And even these protocols can be violated to accommodate work and family responsibilities.

In general, you will NOT FEEL like lifting anything heavy for the first week after surgery. After that, your soreness will subside and you may be capable of lifting considerable amounts. After that first week, I usually allow my patients to do whatever is comfortable. Your body will let you know what is too much.

Consider this. You may be a candidate for an above muscle placement of your implants. This location is used for very athletic patients, weight lifters, body builders since it does not involve any work on the pectoral muscle and the sequelae that go with it, including the restriction on lifting. Your board certified plastic surgeon can determine if this implant location is available for you. Good luck!

Full activities resume 4 weeks after breast augmentation

While most Plastic Surgeons don't want any heavy lifting during the post operative period, we all make allotments for work issues. The general management is no lifting the first week. Increasing activity for the next 3 weeks. Then full lifting or activity after 4 weeks.

The reality is that everyone has a job and/or family that may require lifting and activity. If a patient is healing well, without abnormal swelling or bruising, we encourage some activity early on in the process. Most women who desire augmentation are also physically active and do not want to limit exercise for 4 weeks. We individualize the treatment, to be safe, and allow quick return to normal activities.

Let your Plastic Surgeon know about your work situation pre-op, so you are both on the same page. This way you know how quickly you can get back to work without any confusion.

Good Luck.

David A. Dreyfuss, MD
Orland Park Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Lifting should be minimized for 3 weeks after Breast Augmentation

First of all, you will find as many different answers to your question as there is no definite right or wrong answer to your question. It is definitely advisable to try to avoid excessive lifting after breast augmentation surgery, or any major surgery for that matter. In particular with breast implants, I restrict my patients from lifting more than 15 lbs for at least 3 weeks, after that, they can gradually increase lifting until approximately 6 weeks when they are free to resume full activity and lifting.

During your initial time of healing, your body and the muscles need time to heal and adjust. If you were to get back to your regular work routine too fast, you are liable to hurt yourself (or someone else if your strength gives way!). Make sure to have a full discussion with your surgeon and find out what his or her routine is and what most patients experience.

In your situation, it may be helpful to speak to other patients who have had surgey by your doctor to find out what their experience has been. Any board certified plastic surgeon should have patients that you may speak to for reference in a confidential manner. Good luck!

Brian S. Glatt, MD, FACS
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Early activity after breast augmentation recommended

I encourage early activities. I allow 25 pounds at one week and 40 pounds at two weeks.  Nurses routinely go back at 2-3 weeks. However, you still have to be careful. It is just not the lifting.  Children or patients can bump or hit your chest as well.  You should be fine.

William H. Huffaker, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Not true

While it is advisable to avoid heavy lifting after breast augmentation, gradual, balanced lifting of your children has never caused a problem in my years of practice. I would advise you not to perform your regular daily tasks at work however and that you restrict your lifting to 20 pounds or less at work for 8 weeks.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.