Lifting After Breast Augmentation

My doctor cleared me to return to my part-time serving job, which requires carrying up to 40 lbs of food with one arm at 3 weeks post-breast augmentation. I am excited to get back to work, but I'm also nervous that lifting or carrying things around with this much weight will cause problems due to my recent augmentation. Would other doctors agree that I can return to this type of work at 3 weeks post-op?

Doctor Answers (27)

Waitressing at three weeks

I clear my patients at four weeks. If you go back at three weeks make sure you are wearing a good supportive sports-type bra and that you keep your arms low while lifting. Good luck!

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Limit Lifting to No More Than 15lbs for 4-6 Weeks Following Breast Augmentation


         Heavy lifting and strenuous activity following breast augmentation can result in post-operative complications. In some cases, heavy lifting can cause bleeding and resultant hematoma formation. In other cases, heavy lifting can result in implant displacement with resultant implant malposition.

         For these reasons, limitations are often placed on lifting in the post-operative period. We generally limit lifting to no more than fifteen pounds for four to six weeks following breast augmentation. In addition, we stress that patients not lift their elbows above their shoulders and that they avoid repetitive arm movements.

         In the short term, it may be necessary to make slight modifications in your life style to avoid complications. Make sure you discuss this issue with your surgeon prior to proceeding with breast augmentation surgery.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Lifting during breast augmentation recovery


For three weeks following breast augmentation surgery, I recommend that patients try not to lift more than five pounds. I also ask them not to lift their elbows above their shoulders. Many of our patients are young women with young children and cannot strictly adhere to the five pound rule. The five pound rule, however, gives them a good idea as to how careful we want them to be during that period.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

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Heavy lifting restrictions after breast implant augmentation surgery


If implants were placed over the muscle I don't see any reason why you could not return to heavy lifting. If placed under the muscle I would consider a 6 week restriction for heavy lifting.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Back to work questions


Congratulations on your surgery and your new look.

Back to work questions can be complicated. There's no strict formula for when it is ok to go back to work. Determinations are made based on some of the following factors:

1. Type of operation
2. Complications post-op
3. Your pain tolerance and narcotic pain medication needs
4. Your job

In my San Francisco area practice people are typically back to work after one or two weeks (usually closer to one week). Because this can be a complex issue make sure you've communicated with your surgeon the type of work you do and what your post-op concerns might be.

I hope this helps!

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Lifting after a breast augmentation

We allow up to 20 pounds during the first 2 weeks, and then slowly increase after that so that by one month you can lift as tolerated. I think for safety sake I might say to make a more frequent run and have the trays filled a little less since it will be a good amount of weight in a static position on only one side. I would say 4 week is better if you can do it while doing the lighter tray before.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Lifting post-op


In my practice, I allow you to lift as much as you like as of one month post op but no more than 15 pounds for that whole first month. Best of luck.

Christopher J. Davidson, MD, FACS
Wellesley Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Lifting or Exercise After Breast Augmentation


I recommend that patients avoid heavy lifting for at least 3 weeks after surgery and certainly exercise for 3 weeks after. By 4 weeks one can resume all activities with no restrictions.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Lifting restrictions after breast augmentation


Typically, I recommend patients wait a minimum of two weeks before doing any lifting greater than 20lbs.  I also have them avoid any otherwise strenuous activity.  After the two week period, I tell them to exercise common sense, and use the concept, "if it hurts, don't do it."  However, every patient is different when it comes to their recuperation after surgery.  Although is is cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation is surgery just like any other.  It's vital to avoid prematurely rushing back into one's normal activities.

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Recovery After Breast Augmentation


Breast Augmentation is outpatient surgery. After surgery, you may experience some soreness that should be easily managed with one-two pain pills every 6 hours. Usually, my patients do not require pain medications beyond 3-5 days. After surgery you will have swelling in the upper pole of your breast. This swelling resolves over 2-3 weeks. I recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 3-4 weeks after surgery. Usually, 24-48 hrs after surgery, most patients feel comfortable doing regular daily activities (minus any heavy lifting or strenuous activity). After 3 to 4 weeks from the date of your surgery, I clear patients to resume activity as tolerated.

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

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.