Best Time for Breast Surgery - Before or After Menstrual Cycle?

I heard that we shouldn't have the surgery land on our menstrual cycle time, so I was wondering, if it's better AFTER the cycle, or BEFORE the cycle?

Doctor Answers 15

Surgery can be performed at any time during the menstrual cycle . . . but, there ARE subtle differences!

First of all, it is absolutely true that any kind of elective surgery can be safely performed during any phase of the menstrual cycle. In fact, often the psychological stress or pre-operative "butterflies" can often send a woman into her cycle prematurely--all surgeons who have been operating more than a few years have seen this, since absolute predictability is impossible!

But, as physicians, we also understand that the female body undergoes significant and profound physiologic changes with each menstrual cycle in order to prepare for the possibility for fertilization of an ovum and resultant pregnancy. These changes affect the uterus primarily, but also the breasts, and to lesser degrees, the rest of the woman's body. Just ask a dozen women or so--they'll tell you! Obviously, some women notice these effects more than others, and surgeons who operate on lots of women start to notice these effects as well.

Of course, since women choose their surgical dates on the basis of personal schedule, work requirements, time off requests, help at home, children's schedules, spousal or partner availability, etc., we operate on women at all phases of their menstrual cycle, and we do it safely and effectively. So that should put to rest the "urban legend" that is is "unsafe" or that there is potentially serious risk of bleeding if operations are performed during a menstrual cycle.

BUT . . .

It would be equally incorrect to state that there is NO identifiable difference in women at various phases of their cycle. Many surgeons, myself included, have operated on enough women to be aware of these differences, and I recommend, all things being equal, that if possible, a woman schedules her surgery a week AFTER her period rather than the week BEFORE. At least with breast surgery, and perhaps with other operative areas as well, there is less bleeding, more easy coagulability, and less "boggy" tissues in the operating room, as well as less bacteria in the breast ducts, less tenderness, bruising, and swelling post-op, and as a result of these factors, perhaps less likelihood of capsular contracture. I would cheerfully admit that this is not a statistically significant, double-blinded, peer-reviewed scientific fact, but something that has become clearly evident to me in over 25 years of breast surgery in thousands of patients.

So, if possible, why not? And if not possible, I know to be just a little bit more cautious, and a tiny bit longer on the vessel coagulation, and a smidgen more restrictive on my patient activity recommendations. That's the art that goes along with the science, or perhaps the experience that goes along with the skill!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Breast Surgery and Menstrual cycle.

After their menstrual cycle. I advise my patients to have cosmetic breast surgery right after their menstrual cycle. If you have the breast surgery before then keep in mind you will swell as your breasts become engorged before your menstrual cycle. This will often cause pain and can put more pressure on the incision lines. For this reason, I recommend right after. Most patients feel uncomfortable and embarrassed having to go to the operating room with a sanitary pad on and this is understandable. There have been conflicting reports in regards to breast cancer surgery timing and survival. These reports are not a concern if your breast surgery is cosmetic in nature. I hope I have given you some useful information.

Sharon Theresa McLaughlin MD
Long Island City Plastic Surgeon

Menstrual Cycle Timing and Breast Surgery

Breast Augmentation During Menstrual Period - It doesn't make much of a difference.

Breast Surgery is one of the most common procedures I do, especially Breast Augmentation. Over more than a 25 yrs I have often operated on women during their menstrual period and  I have not found it to be a problem .

It is not an uncommon to do breast surgery including augmentation during a menstrual cycle.  My experience even in women as "regular as a clock" with surgery scheduled between periods often start the day before, day of or within a few days after surgery or contrarily can be late. Menstrual cycles can become irregular at times of stress, from surgery and anesthesia. It should not be a problem.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

An individual's breast symptom history is the best guide to timing.

I have found a an individual's breast symptom history to be the best guide to timing surgery. Fortunately most patients do not have much variation in symptoms with menstruation and timing is independent. However, for individuals with highly sensitive breasts, it would be wise from a symptom perspective to time the augmentation when it is least discomfort. Risks of physical surgical complications from menstrual cycle changes are not documented.

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Mentrual cycle can affect breast size; surgery best one week after

Hi Dina24,

Thank you for your question.  Since the breasts usually swell right before and during the menstrual cycle, I usually try to avoid surgery the week before the patient's period will begin.  However, some patients report that their breast size does not change much just prior to and during their period, so there is no need in these patients to plan around their period.  Other patients notice significant size changes in their breasts during their period and are naturally concerned that the increased size of their breasts could throw off the surgeon's intra-operative assessment of the breast size, whether it is breast reduction or breast augmentation. So if your breast size changes during your period, then I would try to schedule your surgery for the week after.  Agree with previous comments that occasionally the stress of surgery seems to bring periods on early; so not uncommon for patient expecting period the following week to come in for surgery and has her period.  This is not a problem and is handled very tactfully, with no embarrassment for the patient.  Hope this helps.

Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS


Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Best Time for Breast Surgery - Before or After Menstrual Cycle?

My vote is after the cycle ends. Less swelling occurs. Great question for all to read our responses. Thanks for asking it. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Timing of breast surgery around menstrual cycle

Hi Dina, Theoretically, it might be best to have it after your menses, but practically I did not notice any diffference in postop pain, healing  or other issues. Due to the stress of surgery I had a few patients who experienced menstrual bleeding right after surgery which did not coicide with their regular schedule.

George Marosan, MD
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Menstrual cycle and breast augmentation

I never really noted whether or not there was an increased risk for surgery with the menstrual cycle and I have not seen any studies suggesting any.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast augmentation

I personally have never tried to time the surgery based on a patients menstrual cycle. Sometimes a womans breasts will become slightly larger during certain phases of the menstrual cycle and this will continue to occur after the surgery.

David E. Kim, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Breast surgery is best done right after your period.


For most women this is not a big issue.  And if periods are not regular, it is hard to plan.  But the least ideal time to have a breast reduction or other breast surgery is right before your period.   At this time the breasts are engorged, and there is more bleeding.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 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.