Breast Enlargement for Active Women, How Long Until I Could Ride Horses and Jog?

I had my first consultation last night. I am 5"11 slim / athletic build, currently 34A. I was recommended i could have Natrelle, Anotomical textured 520cc implants, style 410 as this suited my frame best. I was then informed i couldnt ride / compete my horses even after an ample 2 months healing time. Also that i wouldnt be able to jog in the summer as both these activities could cause bleeding and further complications later on? Is this correct?

Doctor Answers 12

Breast enlargement for active women--when it's safe to jog and horseback ride.

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You ask appropriate questions, and your consulting surgeon seems to prefer (excessive) restriction compared to many of us who would still vote for safe and gradual return to activity to minimize the risk of bleeding, re-operation, or capsular contracture. It's all a matter of how much is enough! Or, too much!

First, let me establish my bona fides, if you haven't read my biography, or those of my colleagues who offer excellent comments as well. As an ABPS-certified plastic surgeon, I perform well over a hundred breast augmentations per year, operate at my own AAAASF-accredited surgical facility and several local hospitals and surgical centers, and am in my 24th year of private predominantly-cosmetic surgery practice. So I get asked this question a lot!

I personally recommend nothing that raises blood pressure or pulse for 2 weeks after breast augmentation surgery. By 3-4 weeks gradually-increasing cardio and toning exercises are allowed, though jogging and horseback riding are to be considered only after 4 weeks, and then very gradually, and while wearing a couple of stretch or jog bras for support  of the still-healing tissues. For my patients that kickbox, compete in contact karate, or want to go bowling or skiing down double black diamond trails or hit the bumps on the back bowls, I suggest waiting for 6 weeks. After that, the only restriction is avoidance of sun or ultraviolet (tanning bed) on the healing scars for 6-12 months.

I have seen patients bleed after breast augmentation (requiring re-operation) from day 10 all the way to day 27 after surgery, and it's usually because they felt so good they thought they could do anything. Having to re-operate for bleeding is an expense, hassle, and risk nobody wants, so go easy on yourself, and visit your horses, but do not ride too soon. Jogging this summer (assuming surgery in the near future) is certainly possible and will not cause you increased risks for anything but breast discomfort or nipple abrasion if you don't wear supportive and immobilizing bras while you run.

I don't think your surgeon is "wrong" per se with these recommendations, but the over-caution makes me a bit suspicious about this surgeon's experience or confidence. I also share Dr. Pousti's concerns about textured anatomic implants, especially below the muscle. This would not be a recommendation by the majority of surgeons with lots of experience with breast surgery. You would be best able to asses that, however. Best wishes and happy running and riding!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Listen to your surgeon

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I generally advise my patients to avoid all exercise for 3 weeks, and then to avoid any upper body muscle work for an additional 3 weeks. If you can ride without straining on the reins, then I think 3 weeks is sufficient. If, however, you expect there to be sudden pulling etc, I would advise to wait until 6 weeks. Its best, however, to ask your surgeon as every one of us has slightly different protocols. And remember to wear a very good bra to minimize "bounce".

Take it easy after breast augmentation

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For my patients, you may resume non-impact cardio at two weeks and no strenuous activity -- weight lifting, running, horseback riding, etc. -- for about six weeks.  Each surgeon has different instructions.  Follow the instructions of the surgeon you choose.  Best of Luck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Breast Augmentation for Active Women, How Soon to Exercise, Jog and Ride Horses

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Of course you need to follow the advise of the surgeon who performs your Breast Augmentation.

That said I typically allow patients to return to normal activity at 2 weeks and vigorous exercise like swimming, jogging, spin aerobics and horseback riding at 3 weeks with a good supportive bra.

This depends on your healing. If you are well healed, suture out and doing displacement exercises then I hold to the 3 weeks rule. If there are any negative wound healing issues then I wait 6 weeks.

Exercise after breast augmentation

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There is no definitive or scientifically proven answer to this question. It is based on the habit of the surgeon more than anything. It is like how much elastic pressure is needed after liposuction. It started as three months, then two, then one, then two weeks, then one week, and now I use five days although I think it doesn't matter for most areas beyond the initial swelling phase since there is nothing to heal around (like an implant) or edges to heal back together. 

In general, at least for standard, smooth surface, round implants, the healing of the capsule around the implant is complete by around 10 days but there's no way to test or be certain of this. The incision needs two weeks to build up about 80% of its strength but this is also under lab conditions. I use one week of continuous elastic bra support to keep the implant in the proper place for healing and reinforce the control of the inframammary crease level. I recommend the patient take this first week off from any mandatory activities. The second week the bra is still used for support and protection but not continuously. Restrictions include lying on the front or sides and any significant stretch or force on the pectoralis muscle. At two weeks it sort of like getting a cast off your leg -- you're healed but there is rehab. Bra and restrictions are lifted at 2 weeks but the patient needs to work back into full physical activities as in being out of shape or after a sprain. 

The only reason I can think of to prolong restrictions would be in a textured surface implant where the surface of the implant is supposed to integrate into the capsule that heals around the implant and too much activity too soon might disrupt this. Again, there is no test or way to know when this can be established and full arm or running (bounce) or lying activity allowed. I don't feel anatomic shape or textured surface offers any advantages to the usual cosmetic breast augmentation and there are some potential problems that are avoided by smooth surface, round implants (saline-filled or gel-filled). I would also guess that 520 cc is too big to fit properly behind your breast. The cc's of the implant are best determined by the width of the breast and the forward profile of the implant although this wouldn't apply to an anatomic shape. The textured surface also adds volume effect compared to a smooth surface implant. I would also still recommend sub pectoral placement of the implant with dual plane release of the pectoralis muscle out of the lower pole of the breast (partial subpectoral positioning). 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation recovery is 4-6 weeks until no physical restrictions

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For all women but particularly very physically active women, a breast augmentation is associated with some physical downtime.

I counsel my patients that they must take at least 3-4 weeks off any aggressive physical activity that raises their heart rate and blood pressure during this initial healing period.

For extremely physical activities such as horse back riding, fast running and heavy weight training, it may be 4-6 weeks until you are safe to resume these sports without any restrictions.

The rule is usually "listen to your body".  If you are unsure about whether it is alright to do an activity, contact your surgeon and be honest about what you are wanting to do.  It is only by educating yourself about WHY you should not do an activity after surgery that you can exercise judgment (in addition to exercising your body!) and have the smoothest recovery possible. 

Karen M. Horton, MD, MSc, FACS, FRCSC

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation

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Every surgeon has different post-op instructions, but I usually allow patients to start aerobic activity by about 3-4 weeks if everything is healed.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Excercise after Braest Augmentation.

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Each surgeon will have differing opinions about return to activity after surgery.  I allow my patients to return to exercise after three weeks.  Blood vessels become weaker after surgery and start to fibrose and get stronger after the second week. After the third week the risk of bleading is minimal.

I recommend a slow progression as tolerated to upper body exercises after the third week.Too much too soon will make you sore, but the use of your pecs after 3 weeks will actually massage and help the implants settle.

Each surgeon has his or her own implant preferences. I am personally not a big fan of the anatomical textured implants for cosmetic breast augmentation.  They were created to look  "more Natural" but I think they look less so. Because they are textured they just stick there.  They are textured so that the implant doesn't turn sideways, but occasionaly they do and require reoperation. I prefer an implant that moves within the pocket. I think movement tends to look more natural.

While a round smooth silicone gel implant is technically not a teardrop, gels tend to take on a teardrop shape when upright in the body. If a round implant rotates around it makes no difference.

hope this helps.


Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Return to physical activity after augmentation

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Each surgeon has their own protocol for the postoperative recovery period. However, I think two months is a bit long before you can return to full activity. Three weeks is usually satisfactory depending on your postoperative course up to that point. You should follow your surgeon's recommendation, but should also discuss your concerns as needed.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon

Breast Enlargement for Active Women, How Long Until I Could Ride Horses and Jog?

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Like the other consultants, I let my patients start getting back to normal activities after 2 weeks but I do tell them to limit their activities based on fatigue and discomfort. I don't see too many patients that are comfortable jogging before 6 weeks. I have no experience with patients having post operative bleeding after the first day or two from surgery. Several studies have shown no long term benefit from anatomical shaped implants and they do have some problems not seen with the smooth round implants. Most of us no longer use the anatomicals. They are textured to minimize rotation, and textured implants may have a slightly higher failure (leak) rate, they have thicker walls and are more palpable, and they do sometimes shift anyway and create a very bizarre appearance. My only personal experience with the anatomical implants has been removing them from unhappy paatients and replacing them with the smooth round style. But of course other very good doctors may have other opinions.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 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.