Lifting After Breast Augmentation

My doctor cleared me to return to my part-time serving job, which requires carrying up to 40 lbs of food with one arm at 3 weeks post-breast augmentation. I am excited to get back to work, but I'm also nervous that lifting or carrying things around with this much weight will cause problems due to my recent augmentation. Would other doctors agree that I can return to this type of work at 3 weeks post-op?

Doctor Answers 40

Limit Lifting to No More Than 15lbs for 4-6 Weeks Following Breast Augmentation

         Heavy lifting and strenuous activity following breast augmentation can result in post-operative complications. In some cases, heavy lifting can cause bleeding and resultant hematoma formation. In other cases, heavy lifting can result in implant displacement with resultant implant malposition.

         For these reasons, limitations are often placed on lifting in the post-operative period. We generally limit lifting to no more than fifteen pounds for four to six weeks following breast augmentation. In addition, we stress that patients not lift their elbows above their shoulders and that they avoid repetitive arm movements.

         In the short term, it may be necessary to make slight modifications in your life style to avoid complications. Make sure you discuss this issue with your surgeon prior to proceeding with breast augmentation surgery.

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Waitressing at three weeks

I clear my patients at four weeks. If you go back at three weeks make sure you are wearing a good supportive sports-type bra and that you keep your arms low while lifting. Good luck!

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Heavy lifting restrictions after breast implant augmentation surgery

If implants were placed over the muscle I don't see any reason why you could not return to heavy lifting. If placed under the muscle I would consider a 6 week restriction for heavy lifting.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Back to work questions

Congratulations on your surgery and your new look.

Back to work questions can be complicated. There's no strict formula for when it is ok to go back to work. Determinations are made based on some of the following factors:

1. Type of operation
2. Complications post-op
3. Your pain tolerance and narcotic pain medication needs
4. Your job

In my San Francisco area practice people are typically back to work after one or two weeks (usually closer to one week). Because this can be a complex issue make sure you've communicated with your surgeon the type of work you do and what your post-op concerns might be.

I hope this helps!

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Lifting After a Breast Augmentation

Lifting and exercise after a breast augmentation should not be a problem and will not affect your outcome.  If you have a textured gummy bear implant, the one restriction is doing repetitive motion like swimming laps, elliptical or rowing work outs for one month because there is a risk that the texture will not Velcro to your body and as a result may cause some fluid around your implants.I hope that helps.Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Returning to heavy lifting after breast augmentation

I advise all my patients they can return to attempting all normal manual handling tasks at 4 weeks post-op. This includes normal gym training and heavy lifting like the type you've described.
However, this is based on my patients having implants placed in a submuscular pocket. The key reasons why a surgeon wants patients to restrict heavy lifting etc is because you want the wounds to heal without excessive forces/strain and you don't want to compromise the implant pocket in any way. If the implant is under the muscle then it is subject to more force and strain with upper body heavy manual handling tasks compared to an implant placed on top of the muscle. At 4 weeks post-op in a submuscular pocket I'm happy that things have healed well enough internally to then return to normal activities.
With this in mind, returning to heavy lifting at 3 weeks (slightly earlier than my usual recommendation based on a submuscular implant placement) would be fine assuming you have implants placed on top of your muscle (subglandular placement).

Eddy Dona, MBBS, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Lifting restrictions after a breast augmentation

For your individual situation its best to speak with your surgeon regarding your limitations. Best of Luck!

Jeffrey Weinzweig, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Lifting food trays post breast augmentation

It is always best to follow the recommendation of your board certified plastic surgeon as to your exercise tolerance. Your surgeon will know about your tissues, how much he had to do with the pocket, etc. When you do get the OK, make sure to wear very good sports bras. Also ease into it. Don't run a marathon the first day. We see patients post op and let them know their limitations at their appointment. Running is usually about 8 weeks out. Please talk to your plastic surgeon and make a plan about your exercise/work limits.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

If your doctor says it's okay, then it should be okay

If your surgeon said it’s okay to get back tow work, and they know that you’ll be carrying heavy trays of food, then it’s probably fine to follow their advice. However, I suggest you take it easy at first, since you’ve been off for a so long. Don’t try to lift as much as you did before your surgery right from the beginning. Ease up to what you used to carry so your body can get used to it again.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Lifting after BA

I advise all my patients to avoid heavy lifting and straining for six weeks. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do.


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