How Long is Breast Implants Recovery Time?

I am a phys ed teacher and would like to get breast implants. I want a very natural look and do not want anyone to know. I am afraid that if I take additional vacation time either before or after winter or spring break, everyone will notice. Is it possible to be back to work after only a week of recovery?

Doctor Answers 152

Breast Implant Recovery Time

I tell patients no heavy lifting for about 6 weeks.  The amount of pain depends on where the implant is placed above vs below the muscle.  Below tends to hurt more.  Also peoples pain thresholds are very different.  Overall patient recovery with breast augmentation is relatively quick.

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Breast Implant Recovery

The recovery from subpectoral breast augmentation used to be a rather unpleasant experience, but it no longer has to be. A space for the implant must be developed behind the pectoralis major, and a portion of the muscle's inferior origin must be released. Surgery on a muscle in most cases produces significant postoperative pain, and that is certainly true for breast augmentation. However, by using a local anesthetic infusion device (the On-Q 'Pain Buster') for the first two to three days after surgery, the pain associated with this procedure can be reduced quite dramatically.
While breast augmentation patients in this practice receive a prescription for a mild narcotic pain medication for use after surgery (just in case), most of them never take it. Most patients report little to no pain in the evening following surgery, and perhaps some mild discomfort on Postop day one and two. Patients can resume all normal, non-strenuous activities of daily living immediately after surgery, and can begin pec major range of motion exercises on the evening of their procedure.
Patients are seen in the office the day after surgery, and again on Friday for removal of the Go-Pump catheters (which is painless). Working patients usually return to work the Monday following the surgery; stay-at-home moms may need some help with toddlers for the first two to three days after surgery. Exercise is limited to walking only for the first two weeks; in weeks three and four some light exercise is permissible. Patients can gradually increase their exercise/workout level in the second month (weeks five through eight), however it is a full eight weeks before patients are allowed to return to activities that require forceful, repetitive, sustained pec major contraction - such as pushups and heavy weight lifting. It is important to ensure that the breasts are well supported in snug fitting sports bra (or two) when returning to impact exercise such as running or aerobics.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Women often worry (unnecessarily) that everyone will notice after they have breast implants.

It seems students notice a lot about their teachers.  I have women in male-dominated professions who worry that the results of breast implants will be obvious and everyone will notice.  Usually this is not the case.  Women are often wearing padded bras before they have surgery.  One week off work is almost always sufficient for non-physical jobs.  Of course this applies to breast cup sizes up to about a C/D, which you probably don't want to exceed anyway as a phys. ed. teacher. I have attached a link in case you wish to read more.  It will take about a month before you can

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Breast implant recovery time

Dear Geneseo,
Most of my patients are back to work in 3-4 days, however most sit at a desk.  The majority of implants are placed partially under the pectoralis major muscle and thus patients are instructed not to use their arms or chest for any exercise for 6 weeks. The recovery from implants placed over the muscle is faster, but many patients are not candidates for this or do not want the added risk of capsular contracture. Given that you are a phys ed teacher, the best thing to do would be to wait until the summer where you can take the entire 6 weeks off.  However, if you can go back to work in a "light duty" capacity, or you control the workouts and can avoid having to demonstrate or perform any upper body workout or activities that make you chest bounce for that period of time, then you can consider doing it over winter or spring break. Best of luck. 

Luis H. Macias, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Breast Implant Recovery Time

What a great question.  Depending on your job description you may be able to return to work within a few days of your breast augmentation.  You will be given pain medication for your immediate post-operative time.  When you are no longer taking the pain medication you may drive.  I also instruct patients that there is no heavy lifting over 5-10 lbs for 4-6 weeks.  By placing the implant under the muscle will help you to achieve a more "natural" look and by choosing an implant that is appropriate to your body size.

Mark Deutsch, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Breast Implants, Breast Augmentation Recovery Time

Breast augmentation recovery with return to normal activity including driving takes about four days or less for 95% of my patients and three days or less for 85%.  I recommend that patients keep their heart rate under 100 for two weeks.  This keeps their blood pressure down and lessens the chance that they could have bleeding into the pocket after surgery. This seems to work since the incidence of bleeding or hematoma has been about 1/10th of one percent in the last 23 years. Sixty-five percent of patients have no bruising at all and another thirty percent have minimal or slight bruising.

Normal activity is defined as the ability to lift normal weight objects, raise your hands above your head sufficiently to wash your hair, and to drive. If you are a physical education teacher requiring aerobic activity you could certainly return to work, but I would advise against running around so much that your heart rate exceeds the rate of 100. You could have a period of brisk walking or similar activity, but followed by a rest so you stay at or under the 100 limit. This does not mean you would have a problem if you exceeded the limit, but as an arbitrary guideline, it seems to work.  Patients with office-type jobs usually go back to work in three or four days, as soon as they feel comfortable. For example, with surgery on Friday, patients would go back to work on Monday or Tuesday. Patients who have to use their arms a lot, like restaurant servers, usually take five to eight days off, sometimes longer.

After surgery, my patients are advised to lift their arms overhead five times an hour. We start them in the recovery room. This helps hasten recovery by stretching out the pectoralis muscle. They don't wear any special bras or have drains. Specific details of recovery can be found on my website. You should consult your own plastic surgeon for specific guidelines on when to return to work and return to any specific activity.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Recovery after surgery

If you were my patient, given your active strenous job, I would have you wait till your summer break.  Elective surgery should minimize complications.  If you overdo it early, you may be unhappy with result.  I think one week is plenty for people who are at a desk. 


In my experience, most patients are able to return to work within a week’s time.  In fact in my practice it is not uncommon for a patient to have surgery on a Thursday and return to non strenuous work on Monday.  However, there are physical restrictions for a few weeks after surgery.  I request my patients avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting until at least three weeks out or more depending on the patient’s recovery.  Being a physical education teacher taking it easy for a few weeks may not be optimal but if arrangements could be made to limit the physical demands of your job, returning to work with limitations after one week would be possible.  I recommend you continue to research on RealSelf for board certified plastic surgeons.  Then schedule a consultation for a thorough exam to confirm that you are a good candidate for breast augmentation.

Be well and good luck!


How long is breast implant recovery time

This is a very common question since patients are anxious to know when they can go back to work or school. Recovery is dependent on the patient and the location of the implant. Some people have a better pain tolerance than others, however, pain medication can help with this initial discomfort. Also, implants placed behind the muscle tend to be more painful. Typically patients will complain of muscle soreness for one week and will take an oral narcotic for the first 2-7 days. The second week, patients are taking an over the counter medication like Tylenol or Advil. Most of my patients will return to work in 2-3 days and return to excercising in two weeks. 

Recovery after breast implant surgery

Different people recover at different rates after breast implant surgery. I advise my patients to take it easy with no exercise or heavy lifting for at least 2 weeks after surgery. The pain/ discomfort after surgery is affected by how large an implant has been put in (the larger the implant, the more strain on the tissue and the increased chances of post operative pain).

One week off work is reasonable, but try to make sure that you are on "light duties" for the week after that.

Good luck with your surgery!

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.