Will Breast Implants Affect Exercise and Activities Such As Crossfit, Competitive Paddling, Golf?

I am a very healthy, fit 45 year old woman (5'5" 122lbs) and would love BA; from 34B- wanting 34C+ or D-. My concern, I play a crazy amount of golf always walking & pushing cart/clubs; I paddle on a competitive dragonboat team (we are competing in Italy for the World Championship!) this is not the leisurely paddle, hard core stroke a second paddling for guts and glory. And crossfit 3-4x a week. Will I be able to perform at this level w/ my sports? Also how long before resuming activities?

Doctor Answers 11

Returning to Activities after Breast Augmentation

Most of my patients are comfortable to return to a desk job or class in a matter of days.   So if you have your procedure on a Thurs or Fri, you should be fine to go to class on Monday.   But no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 3-4 weeks.  I will clear my patients to start exercise as tolerated or resume heavy lifting in 3-4 weeks after their surgery *gradually*   The key word here is gradually.  You should be cleared to resume your activities without restrictions 4 weeks after your procedure.  Many of my patients have your activity level and some are semi-pro athletes or fitness professionals.  All have been able to return to their baseline strength and activity level without difficulty.  Please talk to your PS about his/her specific recommendations.  Best wishes. Dr. Basu Houston, TX

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 209 reviews

Will Breast Implants Affect Exercise and Activities Such As Crossfit, Competitive Paddling, Golf?

 Thank you for the question.
There are pros and cons to the placement of breast implants and the “sub muscular” position versus the "sub glandular position”.  There are also pros/cons associated with the use of saline implants versus silicone breast implants. I will try to outline some of the differences here;  you may find the attached link helpful as well.
I think it is in the best interests of most patients seeking breast augmentation surgery to have implants placed in the “dual plane” or sub muscular position.  This positioning allows for more complete coverage of the breast implants leading to generally more natural feel/look  of the implants in the long-term. This position will also decrease the potential for rippling and/or palpability  of the implants (which may increase with time, weight loss, and/or post-pregnancy changes).

The submuscular positioning  also tends to interfere with mammography less so than breast implants in the sub glandular position. The incidence of breast implant encapsulation (capsular  contraction)  is also decreased with implants placed in the sub muscular position.
On the other hand,  sub glandular breast implant positioning does not have the potential downside of “animation deformity” ( movement/ distortion of the breast implants  seen with flexion of the  pectoralis major muscle)  they can be seen with breast implants placed in these sub muscular position.  Also, the immediate recovery period may be  more comfortable  after sub glandular breast augmentation as compared to sub muscular breast augmentation surgery.
  In your case, I would probably suggest the sub muscular ( dual plane) augmentation procedure understanding there will be a delay of many months before you can return to pull-ups, push-ups…  Remember also that there  probably will be some movement of the breast implants as your pectoralis contracts during exercise.  Also, given that you probably  will have very little adipose tissue/soft tissue coverage of the breast implants,  you may want to consider the use of silicone gel breast implants. I think that you will find, with  exception of some flexion animation/movement, that submuscular breast implants will not interfere with your training.
I hope this, and the attached link (dedicated to active patients) helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Competitive Athlete for Breast Augmentation

Thank you for your question.   I live in a very physically fit community and several of my patients are competitive swimmers/triathletes.   In cases of professional athletes who utilize their pectoralis muscle, I recommend subfascial or subglandular implant placement.

this will minimize your risk of implant displacement during your activities and should not affect your ability to compete.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Augmentation in a fitness conscious patient

If you wish to do everything you say, you have to consider subfascial or subglandular placement so your chest strength will not be impacted, nor distort with muscle contraction.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Breast Augentation

It is possible for your activities to be affected, but most people do not notice a difference.  If your pecs are very well developed, you may want to consider subfascial or subglandular implantation.  There are pros and cons to each implantation plane option.  Be sure to speak to a board certified plastic surgeon in your area about your specific case.


Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Will Breast Implants Affect Exercise

Congratulations on your Dragonboat team's success. That is definitely hard work. You will have to restrict your vigorous activities for a few weeks after breast augmentation, but after that you will be back to all your usual activities. Implant placement behind the muscle (the more common technique) requires a little more time off than if they are in front of the muscle, but for most patients the appearance may be more natural when the behind muscle positioning is used.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

After complete convalescence breast augmentation will have no effect on athletic activity

After you have recovered from the breast augmentation you will be able to return to any athletic activity that you engaged in prior to the operation.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Extreme Sports and Breast Implants

Most patients do not notice any difference with competitive sports following Breast Augmentation.  In your case, I would complete the World Championship competition in Italy before considering Breast Augmentation.  Good Luck!!

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Will Breast Implants Affect Exercise and Activities Such As Crossfit, Competitive Paddling, Golf?

For the overwhelming percentage of patients, the changes in strength and so forth are trivial. However, for the high end athlete it is a different story. When patients ask me a question like this, I say that if you were a tennis pro earning $1 Million a year, the slight change in your swing could result in a new job coaching 10 year olds at the club. 

I would certainly finish your competition, then think about implants. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

The Stiffest Tree Is Most Easily Cracked, While The Willow Survives By Bending With The Wind

There is a general answer to your question, and then there is a more specific answer.  The general answer we tell our patients who are athletic and contemplating a breast augmentation is that most patients do not notice any significant change in their athletic performance after they have completely recovered from their surgery.  This is generally true.

However, we have had patients who compete in sports at an elite amateur or a professional level.  For these patients, even a slight change in their body can have a small but perceptible effect on their stroke, speed, balance, etc.  In most cases, the athlete can adapt to these changes with practice over time.  

However, each case is unique and a function of the sport, the patient's physique, and the idiosyncracies of her form and technique.  As a general rule, if you have any concerns about the effects of the breast augmentation on your ability to perform athletically, elect to choose an implant size toward the lower end of the size range you are considering. 

Peter Lee, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 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.