Should I be Moving Around Immediately After Breast Augmentation?

My doctor is saying to get up even at night every 1-2 hours for 4 days following surgery. Is this what is recommended? Also, some doctors recommend resuming normal things (light housework and exercises with your hands above your head) immediately. My doctor says not to put my hands above my head for the first week.

Why are there such conflicting instructions for the same surgery? I found the same confliction regarding icing breasts after surgery. Could I get some answers to these? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 21

Should i be moving around

there are no set answers because medicine is a biologic science not a physical science. there are variations in everything patients, healing abilities  etc.  in a perfect world surgeons would have you do nothing after any surgery so thye healing would be better. however this can cause the blood clots we are all afraid of.  life gets in the way. most people have to go to work , raise kids etc... so we all have to compromise.  i tell people no more than 10-15 lbs of lifting for 10-days to 2 weeks .  my 2 most recent hematomas were after bowling at a week and amorous activity at 10 days.  common sense is really important!!

Newark Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Follow your surgeon's advice

Every surgeon has different guidelines and advice. This is based on their expertise and the specific details of your surgery. For example, this is what I normally recommend:

For the first three days restrict your arm movements and leisurely walk around.

After three days, you can begin doing non-strenuous activities except lifting.

You can start exercising at 3 weeks but wait 6 weeks before doing upper body training and more strenuous activities.

Exercise after breast augmentation

It is a good idea not to remain in bed for prolonged periods after any surgery including breast augmentation.  However, I think you may have misunderstood you doctor about getting up every 1-2 hours at night.  Movement of the leg muscles will help prevent blood clots or DVTs from forming in the legs.  Just make certain you aren't doing anything too strenuous (anything that would make your heart race or cause you to sweat) for the first tow or three weeks after the augmentaion as those types of activites can increase blood pressure and cause bruising or bleeding. 

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Confusing postoperative requirements following a breast augmentation

Plastic surgeons, like people in general, have their own preferences and ideas as to what works and what may be best. However, that doesn't mean that such things are always prudent, necessary or even effective. Waking up and moving around every 1 - 2 hrs after surgery is rather excessive and unnecessary in my opinion. Nevertheless, since your plastic surgeon is the one who operated on you and is responsible for your care, you need to discuss these issues with him/her.

My recommendation for my own patients is to be up and around after surgery, doing activities in moderation. Laying in bed or just being largely inactive can be detrimental for your progress and may increase your risk for the development of clots in your legs. There is no heavy lifting for at least 3 weeks. Supportive stockings can be worn for the first few days after surgery though this is not a critical point for most patients.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Activity Levels Following Breast Augmentation

Unfortunately, not every issue in plastic surgery is clear cut. There are many gray areas and for this reason, plastic surgeons don't always share the same philosophies.

In the case of upper extremity movement, two schools of thought have developed. Some surgeons feel that early movement decreases the potential for post-operative bleeding, while others feel that early movement actually increases the potential for bleeding. Unfortunately, there aren't studies available to clarify this issue.

It's also not unusual for surgeons to recommend early ambulation to avoid the development of deep venous thrombosis in the port-operative period. These blood clots can potentially have fatal consequences. Although each surgeon's protocols may have slight differences, they all recognize the importance of early ambulation following surgery.

It's important to discuss these issues with your surgeon prior to surgery. Your surgeon has protocols in place that have worked in the context of his surgical approach to breast hypoplasia. It's not unusual for these protocols to vary from surgeon to surgeon.

Movement after breast augmentation

Getting up in the middle of the night, while you should be sleeping, doesn’t sound logical to me. Yes, during the day you should walk around a bit to prevent blood clot formation is important but at night, you should be able to sleep through the night without waking up every couple hours. This can actually compromise your recovery because it’s while your sleeping at night when your body repairs your body most effectively.

However, your surgeon knows your situation the best so it’s probably better to listen to them. Of course you can ask questions to find out why they gave you this advice, though.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Post Breast Augmentation Exercises

It it normal to get up and move around immediately after any type of surgery whether it is a breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, or facelift. It is important to do that to prevent significant post-operative complications including pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis, and other major complications. However, the most important aspect is to not increase your heart rate above 100 after any type of surgery for at least 2 weeks. After breast augmentation, it is important to move your upper extremities early after surgery and you can shower usually after 24 hours. You can resume most physical activities in 2-3 weeks.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Fast Recovery

I strongly encourage my Breast Augmentation to begin stretching in the recovery room with hands above their. I permit them to go home and shower and wash the hair. They feel better quicker and require less narcotics. This prevents and lessens early spasm in the chest wall muscle  and less pain. Other surgeons may disagree but this routine has worked well for my patients and I.

Richard Linderman, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Stay ambulatory is good for the circulation

Stay ambulatory is good for the circulation and prevention of DVT.  However, after breast augmentation too much movement in the first several days after breast augmentation should be avoided to reduce the risk of seroma and hematoma.  This risk reduces progressively so that light housework can be resume in 2 weeks and heavy work recommenced at 6 weeks.

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

No Universal Approach to Surgery or Post op Care

Yes it is confusing and it is best to follow your doctor's advice as it works for her or him.   That being said, I encourage my patients to get up and out of bed.  I do not ask them to wake up every 2 hours and I think you may have misunderstood your surgeon.  You heed your rest to heal properly.   If it hurts dont do it is my approach.  I allow my patients to put their arms where ever they please.    Good Luck!  Dr Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 138 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.