How Long After Breast Implant Surgery (Subglandular, Peroaeriolar) Can I Swim in the Ocean?

My surgery is scheduled for about 5 weeks before I go on vacation. My incision will be peri-aeriolar and I will be getting over the muscle implants

Doctor Answers 12

Swimming after augmentation

Swimming can be a very vigorous activity and if you are undergoing subglandular placement of implants, you must wait at least 4 weeks for the pockets to heal.  I am concerned about possibly dislocation your implant if you went swimming much sooner than that.  In terms of wound infection, the skin has to be healed and than can take a couple of weeks.  Certainly, patients can take a shower in a few days following surgery but vigorous activity can break your wound open.  This intial mechanical strength of the closure is determined by sutures alone and less than 50% of normal by 4 weeks.  Any minor trauma to your nipple may break the incision open.  I would not do any vigorous activity such as swimming until at least 6 weeks after surgery.

Best of Luck,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Return to Swimming after Breast Augmentation?

Thank you for the question.

Your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to guide you in regards to activity resumption after breast  augmentation surgery. From the healing standpoint most patients are able to swim again starting 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.

From the “strenuous activity” standpoint,  much of the timing of returning to swimming will depend on exactly what you mean by “swimming in the ocean”. For some people this means wading knee-high in the small waves;  for some people it may means swimming  long distances in choppy water.  For this reason, return to activities should be individualized  and gradual.  

I hope this helps.

Swimming After Breast Augmentation

Patients are eager to return to normal activity as soon as possible following breast augmentation surgery. Unfortunately, returning to normal activity too soon can result in an increased potential for complications. Swimming can potentially have negative consequences if resumed too soon.

Theoretically, once the skin edges have sealed in about 48 hours following surgery, these activities can be resumed. In reality, small absorbable sutures may break through the skin and become exposed. In this situation, infection could occur in a patient who is submerged in a Jacuzzi, pool, pond or ocean. Each of these environments may have unique and in many cases, antibiotic resistant bacteria that could lead to a significant infection.

In addition, plastic surgeons generally don't recommend resumption of strenuous activity for at least six weeks following breast augmentation surgery. Swimming can create significant strain on the core muscles and should, therefore, be avoided in the immediate post-operative period.

It's important to realize that every patient's procedure and post-operative course is unique. For these reasons, make sure you consult your plastic surgeon before getting into the water.

Swimming in the ocean 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. Swimming will depend on many variables, including how strenuous your swim is going to be. Are we talking long competitive swims in the ocean, or cooling off in the pool? Please talk to your plastic surgeon and make a plan about your exercise tolerance.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Swimming Five Weeks After Breast Augmentation

At 5 weeks after your surgery, you should be okay to go underwater. However, this is only if your surgeon says it's okay and your recovery has been going well. Please ask your surgeon for their advice.

Regardles, however, please make sure you cover up your incisions from sun exposure, as not doing so can make your scars much more noticeable. 

How long after breast lift surgery can I swim in the ocean?

Hello! Thank you for your question! On average, a period of approximately 3-4 weeks on average is typical. Submerging in stagnant water, be it bathtubs, jacuzzis, pools, lakes, oceans, etc. can certainly increase your chance for infections. I usually await the incisions to be fully healed prior to allowing for this type of activity. If you do have any wound issues or delayed healing, expect that you will be restricted from doing such things. However, I allow my patients to shower and clean incisions at 3 days postoperative. Regardless, the answer will vary amongst plastic surgeons and you should discuss this with your surgeon and follow his/her instructions. Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

10 days

As long as your incisions are completely healed, you can swim in the ocean  with no risk of infection.  Swimming is going to be too much movement for that part of your body which will increase the risk of hematoma (blood clots inside your breasts around the implant) which will require additional surgery to correct.  Getting in the water is ok, but swimming is too much. I prefer my patients to wait 3 weeks before having vigorous exercise such as swimming. If your concerned about the status of your incision, check with your surgeon.  You certainly don't want to get a strange infection from unusual organisms in ocean water.  Some surgeons will let you go in the water as long as you have a waterproof dressing over the incision.  The long and the short of it is, Don't take any chances.

E. Anthony Musarra II, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

No swimming in the ocean for six weeks or longer if you have a complication or open wounds

Thank you for your question. The standard answer for this type of question is six weeks but obviously you should ask the surgeon who is doing your surgery for specific instructions.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Six weeks

I generally have my patient's wait six weeks before getting into a pool or the ocean.  Please discuss with your surgeon.

Swimming after a breast augmentation

I would recommend waiting 6 weeks afterward so that your scars are as strong as they're going to be after your breast augmentation.

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.