What happens if you lift more than 10 lbs after implants?

I work out and I'm in great shape. I got my implants 13 days ago. I'm actually at the gym right now as I have already been cleared/begged my ps to let me walk and do that stair master. I have a 2 year old who weighs about 30 lbs I've lifted him up a few times in desperation as he is at a hard age. Also during the day I lift and move stuff. I don't know how much 10 lbs is really. I just want to know how does it affect your healing?

Doctor Answers 12

Exercise after breast augmentation.

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I've been doing breast augmentation for over 27 years, and mostly have patients that follow directions and exercise restrictions, but a few that do not. (BTW, no one gets fat and out of shape while their body is healing after breast surgery.) And who will pick up your child in desperation when you are being re-operated upon?

About 1% of patients bleed inside their recently-operated breasts with elevation of blood pressure and/or pulse, both of which occur with Stairmaster and power walking and lifting weights (even the child variety). When this bleeding occurs, re-operation is required to evacuate the blood and cauterize the source of the bleeding, or else there is a significantly higher risk for capsular contracture (and then another LATER re-operation is needed).

Most of these patients who bleed do so between day 10 and day 28 after surgery, when they feel good and think they can safely resume exercise and lifting. Of course they are "fine" right up to the tearing of the small blood vessel in their not-yet-durably-healed breasts, and then they tearfully want to know whether it was the Stairmaster, lifting their child, going to the bar, or perhaps that intimate activity where the breasts were maybe manipulated a bit too forcefully. And their husband wants to know how much the re-operation will cost (several thousand most places) and if she needs to take more time off work and exercise, not to mention child-care! Then they usually sob that they would have NOT done whatever they did to initiate the bleeding and re-operation "if we only had been told how important those restrictions were."

Even at 1% occurrence, I hear this in our two-surgeon practice about every 3 months or so, year in and year out. Many patients insist they "did nothing" to cause the bleeding, but when it occurs the second, third and up to four WEEKS after surgery, it certainly isn't surgical, it's activity-related.

So do you feel lucky? Are you willing to risk re-operation, the loss of another several weeks of activity, work or vacation, and turn that $6000 augmentation into a $9000 augmentation with a higher risk of capsular contracture? And perhaps another re-operation later to try to "fix" that?

Surgeons don't give instructions because we like the sound of our own voices. It's because we actually care about the quality of our outcomes, the costs to our patients, and the disruption of at least 6 people's lives to re-operate on YOUR hematoma! (patient's caregiver/ride home, anesthesia provider, recovery room nurse, scrub nurse, circulating/supply nurse, and surgeon). Of course, these bleeds don't happen conveniently for our schedules either, so usually many other patients need to be rescheduled or delayed while your "emergency" is dealt with. Because you HAD to Stairmaster???

And, no, you cannot simply wrap your breasts with an ACE bandage and use ice bags--hematomas require surgery.

So, what part of "Follow your surgeon's instructions" do you think you are exempt from? Sorry to be so harsh, but how would you feel if your surgeon arrived for your surgery exhausted, hung over, distracted, or otherwise not fully attentive to your surgical safety and care? Why would you think begging your surgeon to allow exercise changes your rate of healing and the strength of your cut blood vessels' clots?

I certainly hope you don't find out the hard way. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Hematoma is a significant risk after surgery

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If the implant was placed behind the muscle, then there is an increased risk for bleeding with heavy lifting.  Bleeding in the space around the implant, called a hematoma, often requires a return trip to the operating room to drain the old blood.  You may get away without a complication by exercising early and lifting your child, but that does not mean it is recommended.  It is like saying that I got away with not wearing a seat belt because I didn't get into a crash.  If you are unfortunate enough to get into a car crash, you may wish you had worn a seat belt. 

Many of us are "exercise fanatics"; we find great benefit to regular exercise.  I counsel patients that giving up exercise on a short term basis is better than risking a complication.  As far as how much ten pounds feels like, remember that  a gallon of milk weighs about 8 pounds.  Best of luck with your recovery.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD (retired)
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon

Avoid lifting especially with submuscular implant placement

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Submuscular breast augmentation usually involves partial division of a portion of the pectoral muscle to permit placement of an implant under the muscle.  The implant pushes into the under surface and effaces the pectoral muscle.  Intense contraction of the muscle as occurs with heavy lifting may trigger bleeding, swelling, and pain.  The risk of problems diminishes with the passage of time and generally is minimal at 4-6 weeks following surgery. 

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Weight lifting following Breast Augmenation

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Rule of thumb with fit patinets: 4 weeks cardio and legs, 8 weeks for heavy lifting (greater than 10 pounds) for upper body

What happens if you lift more than 10 lbs after implants?

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I typically suggest patients not lift more than 15 pounds for 4 weeks after breast surgery.  We typically limit heavy lifting and strenuous exercise to prevent complications such as bleeding or malposition of the implants. I would suggest you follow the advise of your surgeon. 

Avoid heavy lifting after breast implant surgery

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Thank you for your question.  It sounds like a wonderful young person.  I would urge you to be cautious about pushing yourself as hard as you are from your description.  Being aggressive during workouts and lifting a lot can cause bleeding and other potential problems this early in your recovery.  My advice would be to slow down.  He also should consult your plastic surgeon.

Workouts Too Soon After Breast Augmentation Can Cause Problems

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Lifting anything over 5 pounds this early does put you at risk for post-operative complications. This is fact, and it shouldn't be taken lightly. When you lift a child or items over 5-10 pounds, you risk bleeding / hematoma which could result in you requiring an emergency surgery to repair the damage. These complications can affect your surgical outcome, as implants can shift or the site can become infected, which could require that your implants get removed.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Breast Augmentation Post Operative Recovery Work Out Restriction

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I'm happy to hear you are so dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. I am afraid you may be setting yourself up for some complications. When you raise your heart rate and or blood pressure before healing is complete you can trigger bleeding. When you lift something over 10lbs you can run the risk of disrupting the placement of your implant. While that might not sound awful it is actually very serious and may require a trip back to the operating room. That sets you back to square one on your restrictions. Talk with your surgeon in depth about these risks. Give yourself the time your body needs to heal and you'll achieve the best possible outcome. Best of luck to you.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Disobeying your doctor after BAM

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If you go to the gym, you know how much 10 pounds is- right?

There are two concerns about lifting weights prematurely after a BAM, and the weights can be from the gym, your child, or any wight.

The first is that you could stir up bleeding- that is, cause a hematoma that could necessitate an emergency operation.

The second is that you could rip up the surgical site and damage your ultimate outcome.

When you sign your consent you expect your doctor to do his part and in turn, you agree to do your part.  Both work together to get a safe and optimum outcome.  Surgery is serious business, and certainly you can wait a few more days.  Having raised a child, I know that at two years of age, the child can climb onto you without you picking him up.

Think about it.  How much does a great outcome without complications mean to you?


Heavy lifting after breast augmentation?

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The main risk of heavy lifting after any major surgery, like a breast augmentation, is bleeding.  If small blood vessel in the muscle starts bleeding, there is a risk that you could develop a collection of blood, known as a hematoma.  A hematoma could lead to other problems including a return to the operating room, and risks of developing an infection or capsular contracture.  I would definitely advise you to discuss your activity level with your plastic surgeon -- each surgeon will have his or her own recommended post-operative routine.  Good luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 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.