How Much Lifting is Advised During Breast Augmentation Recovery?

Can lifting a toddler into the car seat during recovery be done?

Doctor Answers 9

Stresses to operative area after breast augmentation

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Different plastic surgeons obviously have different opinions on this but think of it like an orthopedic operation. The surgery, say a hip implant, has to be done properly but then you have to heal properly and then go through some rehab for the healed tissues. This will vary by the area and type of implant and isn't very exact or testable. 

Breast augmentation takes about two weeks to heal with most of it in the first 7-10 days. The incision needs about two weeks to build up strength for stresses such as tension or soaking. I recommend taking a week off with no stresses allowed for the upper body and using an elastic bra as a splint. During the second week I recommend avoiding specific stresses to the chest such as lying on it, getting hit there, and stressing the pectoralis major by heavy lifting or pulling the upper arm up or back above shoulder height. Basically you don't want to risk a stress during the second week but you can do quite a bit. After two weeks you should be healed and can start rehab to get back to full normal as after a bone break or joint repair. 

Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Lifting Limits After Augmentation

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I would discourage lifting your toddler into a car seat until 2-3 weeks following your augmentation.  If your child is not able to crawl into her/his car seat, you should enlist someone to help you.  In fact I ask my patients not to drive an automobile for 7-10 days following breast augmentations.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Lifting after breast augmentation

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It's probably a good idea to avoid any heavy lifting for the first few days after surgery. Depending on the weight of your toddler, you may be able to start lifting him or her sooner or later. I have found with my patients often it is not the weight that is the issue as much as their sharp knees and elbows that can cause the problems if they are very active.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Be very careful

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For a better result you should be very careful with lifting after an augmentation. The implants could move, specially in the first 2-4 weeks. In this time the implants are still able to move upwards, if they are under the muscle for example. If you lift something try to use your wrist, dont raise your arms above the shoulder. Good luck.


Massud Hosseini, MD
Düsseldorf Plastic Surgeon

Breast Augmentation - Lifting Children Post Surgery

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I recommend for the first 2 to 3 days post surgery that you do not lift your child.  If you lift your child too soon you could bleed.  Ask for help to lift your child those first few days.  After approximately 3 days, if you must lift your child lift him/her with your back and legs.  Lift slowly and use this method for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.

J. Gregory Kjar, M.D.
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon

Lifting after breast augmentation

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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 and tightness level progressively decreases with each day. Swelling decreases a great deal after one week. Most people return to work in some capacity.
Week 2) Unlikely to need any narcotic support except maybe at night. Swelling and tightness continues to improve compared to week 1
Weeks 3-6) May need tylenol or ibuprofen for intermittent discomfort. Swelling completely resolved. Tightness may continue as the implants over an additional few months into their final position.

As far as activity, here is a safe guide:
1) No heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 6 weeks. (use a gallon of milk as a guide)
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 as far as the little ones, I would recommend having help for basic needs like lifting into the car seat. You can cuddle with them while you are sitting down, but you should avoid the tendency to multitask with one child in your arms while you are busy doing other tasks.

Recovery and Lifting after Breast Augmentation

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Thank you for your question. I have included some typical expectations of breast surgery recovery and signs to watch for following breast augmentation:

  • Stiffness, swelling and bruising in the chest region: These are normal experiences as the skin, muscles and tissue heal. Pain medication and muscle relaxants will help you cope with any discomfort. Consistent sharp pain should be reported to your board-certified surgeon.
  • Hypersensitivity of nipples or lack of sensitivity: This is normal and will gradually resolve over time.
  • A mild to severe itchy feeling of the breasts is possible as healing progresses. An antihistamine like Benadryl can help to alleviate severe, constant itchiness. If the skin becomes red and hot to the touch, contact your board-certified surgeon immediately.
  • Asymmetry, the breasts look different, or heal differently: Breasts may look or feel quite different from one another in the days following surgery. This is normal. No two breasts in nature or following surgery are perfectly symmetrical.
  • Discuss returning to work with your board-certified surgeon, in our office it is typically 3-5 days post-surgery but you may not overexert yourself or do any heavy lifting.
  • You may resume exercise and your normal routine at six weeks unless your surgeon advises otherwise.
I recommend no heavy lifting for at least 4-6 weeks post breast augmentation. Please speak with your board-certified plastic surgeon for his suggestion on when you are able to resume lifting your child. 

Breast Augmentation recovery and lifting

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I recommend that my patients not do any heavy lifting, straining, or exercise of any kind for 2 weeks after surgery, and to avoid any use of the pectoralis muscle against resistance (if the implant is placed under the muscle) for at least 6 weeks and ideally perhaps 8-10 weeks to avoid tearing the muscle.  I would not lift your toddler into a car seat for 2 weeks.

Lifting during the first two weeks of recovery from augmentation is not recommended.

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I usually recommend attending to your own self care for 2 weeks.  Allowing the tissues and wound to heal is critical to avoiding problems postop and over-activity, lifting etc can potentually produce a problem.  Lifting limit is a 6 pack of soda in the first week and a 12 pack of soda in the second week.  Once the incisions are healed you will be better off.  I hope this information is helpful.

Ronald H. Stefani Jr, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

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.