When Can I Start Raising my Arms over my Head After BA?

I'm a flight attendant and will need to raise my arms above my head to close the overhead bins. I do run on a regular basis so feel I'm pretty 'in shape'. When can I expect to return to work and would it benefit me to wear a tight sports bra for the first few weeks as well? I've waited a long time for my boobs and don't want to mess things up. Thanks

Doctor Answers 20

Rapid Recovery After Breast Augmentation

The rapid recovery system following breast augmentation completely reduces "down time."  By using scheduled doses of ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and arm exercises my patients are back to their normal routine within a few days.  I've had patients go to work the day after surgery.  By raising the arms above the head until elbows touch ears the pec. muscles are stretched.  This decreases stiffness and increases blood flow which decreases swelling.

I don't mind if my patients get back to the gym a day or two after surgery as long as they don't do heavy pec. work.  Most surgeons are concerned that this could cause bleeding and a hematoma.  I've been doing this system for over 2 years and have never had a hematoma. 

So go ahead, raise your arms and go back to work.

Raising arms after breast augmentation

Post-operative instruction will vary among plastic surgeons.  You should follow your plastic surgeon's recommendation.  In my practice, my patients are allowed to raise their arms to perform daily activities such as brushing hair, taking shower, etc soon after the surgery.  I ask them not to push, pull, jump, or carry heavy objects for 2-3 weeks. They wear surgical bra or sports bra for three weeks.   If patients have non-active desk jobs, they normally return to theirs jobs within 3-4 days.  As a flight attendent, I know that you have to close heavy overhead bins and doors.  You probably need to take about three weeks off before returning to your work.

Raising your arms after Breast Augmentation Surgery

You should really ask your surgeon what he/she recommends and follow the post operative instructions that are given to you by your surgeon.  I ask my patients to wear a surgical bra for 4 weeks and during that time, to also limit their arm movements and NOT lift anything over 10 lbs.  The less you move your arms (and therefore the pectoralis muscle), the better for recovery after breast augmentation surgery. I ask patients to keep the elbows to their size for the 1st 2 weeks after presentation surgery. Patients are also asked to refrain from any heavy lifting or strenuous upper body exercises for at least 6 weeks. Best wishes.

In about a week or two

Generally, I advise patients that they can start doing more intense physical activity at 3 weeks, and upper body strength exercises at 6 weeks after surgery. If you don't lift heavy luggage in your job or things like that, then you can probably return to work in a week or two  if your recovery is going well. However, you should ask your surgeon as they may have different guidelines. A good supportive sports bra will help reduce swelling and is a good idea, but again you should ask your surgeon.

Activities after a breast augmentation

The only activities I would restrict a patient to after a breast augmentation would be not to lift greater than 20 pounds and avoid activities where the breasts bounce up and down for 6 weeks. Atlanta Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Z

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Lifting your arms.

The answer depends a bit on how your implants are placed.  Depending on this, full activity within a week, in my experience, is often realistic.  There are cases where I suggest waiting longer.

Scott E. Newman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Raising arms above head after Breast Augmentation.

Patients typically wait about 1-2 weeks before lifting their arms above their heads after Breast Augmentation.  The main thing to remember is don't do anything that is uncomfortable or causing pain.  You should be able to return to work in about 1-2 weeks, but lift your arms slowly at first, and return to normal as you continue to feel no discomfort.  Do not lift anything at first, but after one week, you can start lifting light things and progress to heavier things as long as it does not hurt.  Some tightness may still be present, but that is normal after surgery.  If wearing a sports bra is more comfortable for you then you should wear it until you feel your ready to switch back.  Make sure to follow up with your surgeon for his opinion on when to advance your acitivity.

Raising arms after breast augmentation surgery

I recommend that my patients start carefully lifting their arms same day as surgery.  I feel doing this light exercise helps minimize discomfort. However, be mindful of your body and don't over do it.  Additionally, do not lift weights or other heavy objects for 2-4 weeks after surgery.

Jeffrey Hartog, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Movement after breast augmentation

I do not limit movement after breast augmentation.  I have the patient refrain from extensive activity for about 1 week.  After that,  no limitations unless it causes excess pain.  Donald R. Nunn  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Activities, bra and return to work after breast augmentation.

I would recommend that you ask your plastic surgeon about his restrictions on your activities after breast augmentation, because they are mainly based on each surgeon's preference, experience and the type of procedure. Since you are under the care of your plastic surgeon it is more appropriate that you follow his or her instructions and recommendations, so in a case of complication you are not blamed that you did not follow the instructions. 

There are a lot of variation in the postoperative instructions from one surgeon to another. Being very conservative, in our practice we instruct our patient  after submuscular augmentation to refrain from pulling, pushing or lifting the elbow above the level of the shoulders for 3 weeks. The reason being that the implants are under pectoral muscles and there is a lot of strain and stretching of the muscle as well as some cuts. Early stretching or forcefully contracting that muscle could result in tearing of the fibers of the muscle and possibly bleeding under the muscle causing Hematoma (blood collection). 

Regarding the bra, we do not recommend sports bras since they have tendency of pushing the implants to the side due to the curvature of the chest. Immediately after surgery we use breast band on the upper part of the breast , to stretch the deeper tissue and apply some compression; then later on we recommend a very supportive under wire bra to prevent ptosis.

Most patient are able to return to work in one week, if they can follow the above mentioned restrictions at their place of employment. These explanations should not be considered as medical advice and are only for information purpose.

A. H. Nezami, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 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.