Can't Lift Arms After Breast Augmentation

I am almost 3 weeks post op and cant lift my arms much higher than shoulder height. (under muscle 265cc) Dr is concerned and wants me to find a physical therapist. Why doesnt HE know how to handle my post op issue? He is not recommending massage, just find my own therapist. What do I do???

Doctor Answers 3

Arm exercising after breast augmentation

Thank you for your question. You definitely want to follow your own surgeon's post-op activity instructions. This is a general guide I give to my patients as to the recovery
Week 1) Discomfort level progressively decreases with each day. Swelling decreases a great deal after one week. Most people return to work in some capacity. Driving is feasible if you are not on narcotics.
Week 2) Unlikely to need any narcotic support except maybe at night. Swelling continues to improve compared to week 1. You can start breast massage and slowly increasing your range of motion.
Weeks 3-6) May need tylenol or ibuprofen for intermittent discomfort. Swelling completely resolved. You should steadily regain your range of motion. May need additional few months for implants to settle into their final position.

As far as activity, here is a safe guide:
1) No heavy lifting or strenous activity for 6 weeks.
2) Resume walking at a leisurely pace right after surgery (e.g. 2 mph)
3) At 2 weeks, you can walk 2 miles at 2mph
4) At 3 weeks, you can walk 3 miles at 3mph
5) At 4 weeks, you can walk 4 miles at 4mph
6) At 5 weeks, you can jog 5 miles at 5mph
7) At 6 weeks, you can resume all activities, but listen to your body and use discomfort or tightness as a guide so you don't over do it.

So in summary, I would try every day to increase your range of motion and use discomfort and tightness as your guide.  I would also not hesitate to visit with a physical therapist if you are getting stuck.

Lifting arms after breast augmentation

Your muscles may have been compromised by surgery and the best way to strengthen them may be to get assistance from a  therapist. I'm sorry to hear that this has happened to you, but rest assured that it sounds like it may be corrected with exercise.

VIDEO for arm exercises after breast augmentation

These may help if permitted by your surgeon. I have prepared two videos: one for arm exercises and the other for breast implant massage.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 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.