How long should I expect to be out of work after breast augmentation if I'm a server?

My operation is August 5th (Friday) the receptionist said I could go back to work as soon as the following Tuesday. I've been asking other girls who have had the surgery and they said I should take at least 2 weeks off from work. I know everyone is different, but are there generally any expectations on the limitations I will have of the use of my arms and for how long? If I had to carry a tray full of drinks, would I be able to?

Doctor Answers 3

How Fast Can You Get Back To Work As A Server After Breast Augmentation?

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Obviously, there are individual variations.  Some may take days to get back to physical work while some may take weeks.
Each plastic surgeon will have different theories based on his or her own personal experiences as well as technique, incision, over or under, textured or smooth, etc.
The patient's judgement as to how quickly they can get back to work depends on what their personal plastic surgeon tells them, i.e. managing expectations.  If your plastic surgeon tells you it will take two weeks to get back to work, then it will take two weeks.  Conversely, if your expectation is that you can get back to work in one week, that will be your expectation.  

If you were my patient, I would suggest that you may return to serving on the 5th post operative day.  I would also suggest that you alert your co-workers and your employer that you may not be able to work a full shift.  In my experience of over 7,000 breast augmentations, most of my patients who were servers were certainly able to work on the 6th post operative day and more than likely on the 5th.
I highly recommend you speak directly to the plastic surgeon who will be performing your surgery to find out when he or she recommends that you can return to serving.

How long should I expect to be out of work

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It can take about six weeks for an area of surgery to become fully strong once again. That does not mean that one cannot perform activities. What is important is to isolate your activities so that it does not put stress on the chest muscles. If one is a server, for example, if your elbows are at your side, you are not using your chest muscles. Some activity is permitted, just not heavy stress on the chest muscles. It also depends on the technical details of your surgery. It is always wise to check with your surgeon regarding limitations.

Retiring to work after breast augmentation

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It's important to follow your surgeon's recommendations. More than 90 percent of my patients go back to work on the fifth day after surgery if they work in an office setting. Women who must use their arms to lift, push or pull (such as nurses, hairstylists or waitresses) normally return to work toward the end of the second week, around the 14th day after surgery. Although they may experience a little discomfort, they manage. My preference is for women to wait until the 21st day to resume activities that involve lifting, pushing or pulling. At this point, most soreness is gone. For more information on this and similar topics, I recommend a plastic surgery Q&A book like "The Scoop On Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths."

Ted Eisenberg, DO, FACOS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 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.