What is the Recovery Time for Breast Augmentation?

I work a job that requires lifting 30 lb maximum. How long would it take for me to recover from a breast implant? I would like to know when I can go back to work and resume normal activity?

Doctor Answers 23

Lifting restrictions after Breast Augmentation

Quiet activity immediately, but no heavy lifting more than 10 pounds for the first few weeks, then less than 20 until 6 weeks. In your case of needing to lift 30 pounds my advice is to wait until after 6 weeks. Most important is to listen to your surgeon who will give you specific advice for your procedure.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Breast Augmentation Recovery

Thank you for your question. I have included some typical expectations of breast surgery recovery and signs to watch for following breast augmentation:

  • Stiffness, swelling and bruising in the chest region: These are normal experiences as the skin, muscles and tissue heal. Pain medication and muscle relaxants will help you cope with any discomfort. Consistent sharp pain should be reported to your board-certified surgeon.
  • Hypersensitivity of nipples or lack of sensitivity: This is normal and will gradually resolve over time.
  • A mild to severe itchy feeling of the breasts is possible as healing progresses. An antihistamine like Benadryl can help to alleviate severe, constant itchiness. If the skin becomes red and hot to the touch, contact your board-certified surgeon immediately.
  • Asymmetry, the breasts look different, or heal differently: Breasts may look or feel quite different from one another in the days following surgery. This is normal. No two breasts in nature or following surgery are perfectly symmetrical.
  • Discuss returning to work with your board-certified surgeon, in our office it is typically 3-5 days post-surgery but you may not overexert yourself or do any heavy lifting.
  • You may resume exercise and your normal routine at six weeks unless your surgeon advises otherwise.
I also suggest consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Best of luck.

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

About 6 weeks if heavy lifting is involved

Generally, I advise patients that they can start upper body strength exercises and lifting heavy things at 6 weeks after surgery, so that's probably how long you would need if your recovery is going well.  However, you should ask your surgeon as they may have different guidelines. 

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Heavy Lifting Post Breast Augmentation

Each surgeon has his or her own guidelines for recovery. Typically, patients can return to light activity after 5 to 7 days. More strenuous activity may take 3 to 6 weeks. Consult with your board certified surgeon as he or she will understand the scope of the surgery and the specifics of you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

BBA Recovery

It really depends on a few factors. Adequate pain control is likely the most important. Individual pain tolerance differs greatly. I find that women who have had children generally have less post-op pain, as they have a much higher pain tolerance. From a surgical point of view, there are several things the surgeon/anaesthesiologist can do to decrease your post-op pain.

I generally perform breast blocks prior to making any incisions with a mix of short- and long-acting local anaesthetics. I have found this greatly reduces post-op pain. I also encourage patients to take the prescribed pain killers regularly every 4 hours especially for the first 24-48 hours. If you don't stay on top of the pain in the immediate post-operative period, it is extremely difficult to "catch-up". Most of my patients experience very little post-op pain after breast augmentation.

Of course, the type of augmentation you have will also determine your post-operative discomfort. Larger implants, and subpectoral implant placement will also increase post-op discomfort. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get large implants, or place them under the muscle - you simply need to know what to expect. Many women also experience difficulty with sleeping in the first few weeks after augmentation due to the weight of the implants on their chest. This is more significant in back-sleepers.

To answer your question about time off work, my experience has been that there is a huge range. I have patients that go back to work the next day (against my advice), and I have had patients take as much as 2 weeks off of work. It really depends on what you do for work, and how you feel. As for taking care of your kids, if your implant is placed under the muscle, it will be a few weeks before you feel comfortable enough to pick them up.

As for scars, I tell patients it will take a year to see the absolute final result. Practically, however, by 3-6 months the scar will be very close to the final result. I suggest 3M paper taping, and have a specific scar massage protocol I use to help speed scar resolution.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Sincerely,

Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Returning to 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 13 reviews

Wait awhile for heaving lifting after breast implant surgery

I recommend patients avoid heaving lifting of more than 10 pounds for  6 weeks after breast augmentation.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Quick Recovery Breast Augmentation

Your recovery should be quick.  We recommend you return to normal daily activities 24 hours after surgery.  Avoid lifting over 30 lbs. for three weeks, when you can do all vigorous exercise.  You should be able to walk and lift two lb. weights before then. Plan to return to work in a couple of days if you have a desk job.  For your job, I would plan to take up to a week off.  Good Luck.  All the best, "Dr. Joe" 

What the Recovery Time is for Breast Augmentation...

The recovery time for a breast augmentation is fairly short in comparison to other surgeries.  Providing you feel well enough, you should be able to return to work about 3 to 4 days after surgery.  As far as lifting goes, it is recommended that you wait about 2 weeks, and then start with lighter objects and gradually work your way up to lifting 30 pounds (it may take 2-4 weeks in all).  You may continue to lift more as long as it doesn't hurt or cause swelling.  Make sure you know your surgeon's post operative rules to ensure the best results.

Breast augmentation

The actual recuperation is fairly quick. Most patients go back to work within a week.  As for heavy lifting, I would avoid lifting hevay objects for 3-6 weeks.

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