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What is the usual recovery time after breast implants and when can you resume physical labor?

I will be moving in February and when I now my job will be to ride young horses. I really would like to get my breasts done before I go but I was curious as to how long the recovery would be before I could start riding?

Doctor Answers (13)

Time off Work post breast augmentation

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Light care of the horses may start after about 5 to 7 days. More physically demanding activities such as riding horses, may take 3 to 6 weeks. Consult with your surgeon as he or she knows the scope of the surgery and more specifics about you.


West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Possibly three to six weeks

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If your work involves heavy lifting, you should wait at least 6 weeks. If it is only physically demanding, which I assume it is, then plan to be off of work for 3 weeks. 

However, you should ask your surgeon for their advice. They may have different guidelines. Regardless, you should wear a good supportive bra whenever you ride the horses.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Physical Activity and Recovery after Breast Augmentation

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Dear Charla,
Thank you for your post. There are a lot of variables to account for after breast augmentation and what to expect in the recovery process. The following is an outline based on some of these variables.

1. Pain: In general, breast augmentation is tolerated very well. When the implant is placed sub-facial or sub-glandular, i.e. above the muscle, there is very little pain post-operative. The muscle is left in place and in general, when I perform this technique, women have surgery on Friday, and are back to work (as long as they are not lifting heavy objects) on Monday. When the implant is placed sub-muscular, then there more pain and soreness as the muscle has been elevated which is similiar to having a pulled or torn muscle. This creates more swelling and takes longer to heal. In these case, most women take at least a week off of work.

2. Swelling and Size: It is very common to be about a size bigger right after surgery than what your final result will be. Swelling starts to occur right after surgery and tends to peak in the first week. After about a month you will have lost most of the swelling, but still not completely at baseline. After about another 3 months or so, you will have lost 99% of your swelling, but still have a pretty good idea of your final size at 1 month. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on bras until 3 months though, as they might not fit perfectly after all the swelling goes away. Also, the more activity you have, the longer the swelling stays, the more that needs to be done as far as lift etc. with surgery, the longer your swelling stays. As stated above, going below the muscle tends to produce more swelling and lasts for longer.

3. Scars: The natural healing process undergoes multiple phases, but in general, the first phase is the inflamatory phase were any scar will be firmer and may turn red or darker initially. This tends to last for 3 months. After this phase is the resolution phase where the scar inflammation goes away and all scars will be at their baseline at 1 year. The scars are mostly at their baseline at 6 months. The scars should be minimal if placed well, and sutured properly. I also like to protect the scars from stretching or widening in the first few months with surgical skin tape. The incision will be weak at first and susceptible to stretch or widening.

4. Massage: Your doctor may recommend early or late massage, depending on what is trying to be accomplished. In general, early massage is to manipulate a high implant or stretch a constricted area, such as in tubular breast syndrome, and late massage is to help fight capsular contraction. Search 'Breast Massage' to find my recommendations on this.

5. Exercise: In general, I ask my patients to keep away from aerobic activities in the first 2 weeks following surgery. Increased activity can increase swelling and hyper-swelling can cause stretch marks. Following this, 'non-bouncing' aerobic activity is fine, such as speed walking or cycling, but would like to keep the implants from moving too much until the capsule that forms around the implant has a chance to heal and become stronger. At 6 weeks, I clear any type of activity.  As far as riding horses, I would avoid this for 6 weeks.

6. Infection: Infection after augmentation is very rare. Most surgeon give post-operative antibiotics to help protect you from infection.

7. Hematoma/Seroma: These are also very rare after augmentation. If the pocket for the implant that is made during surgery is a hand in glove fit, then there is very little room for any fluid to collect. It is important that the surgical pocket be free of any bleeding prior to closure to keep a hematoma from happening. If a hematoma does occur, it is important to drain the hematoma to prevent capsular contraction.

8. Sleeping: I ask women to sleep on their backs with their post-operative bra on after surgery to keep the implants in their proper position until the capsule that forms around the implant has a chance to heal.

I hope this has answered most of your post-operative questions.

Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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Recovery

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recovery goes in stages. the first few day are usually a little painful depending on your prior surgical hx. Some patients have no pain and most have gradually decreasing pain almost gone by 2 weeks. then you enter the long stage of healing which is around 3 months during which time your implants will settle

Jacob Freiman, MD, FACS
Miami Beach Plastic Surgeon
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Recovery time after breast augmentation

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Recovery time will vary based on the specifics of your surgery, but an estimate is around 6 weeks after the procedure.  You want to make sure that you wear a good supportive bra to keep bouncing to a minimum.

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon
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Breast augmentation Recovery

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What a fun job! With your particular job, it will be important to place your implants behind the pec muscle so that your implants will be well supported. I would advise you to avoid riding horses and bouncing type activites for 4 weeks. Best wishes!

Holly Casey Wall, MD, FACS
Shreveport Plastic Surgeon
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Horseback Riding After Breast Augmentation

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Due to the bouncing nature of this activity and the real risk of bottoming out due to an immature capsule, in our practice we suggest a 6 week recovery before horseback riding, jogging, upper body weight lifting, etc.  This is purely subjective but has worked well for our patients.

Christopher J. Schaffer, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Recovery after breast augmentation

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Recovery after breast augmentation varies from patient to patient. In my practice most of patients return to normal, non strenuous activity, within 2-4 days and increase activity over time. I don't recommend any activity were you are jumping or bouncing, like horseback riding,  for at least 3-4 weeks.

Frank Agullo, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Activity after breast augmentation

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Every surgeon will have slightly different instructions. 

I recommend resumption of non-strenuous activity about 2-3 weeks after surgery.  I think if you wait until 6 weeks after surgery to resume strenuous activity or high impact activity, you will limit your rate of complications.

Gordon Lewis, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Recovery

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Thank you for the question.

In all cases, total recovery can take from 4-12 weeks. For breast augmentation, it's advisable for the patient o start integrating activities after the second week. Always follow your PS post op instructions.

Dr. Campos

Jaime Campos Leon, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 165 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.