Tanning and Swimming After Transaxillary Breast Implants

What is the normal waiting period? Is it different than with the other surgical methods because of protecting the scar?

Doctor Answers 12

Tanning post op

Keep the sun away from scars is your best bet. Scars behave differently in different people and can become too dark permanently (hyperpigmentation or dyschromia) if exposed to the sun. Better to spray tan if you want to hide it. Definitely use a strong SPF (>30) sunscreen on it even though it is hidden by your bathing suit as some sun goes through the fabric.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Tanning and swimming after transaxillary breast implants?

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. You should also protect your incisions from direct UV radiation for at least a year to optimize results. 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 26 reviews

The answer doesn't depend on incisional approach

Regardless of the incision, you should avoid tanning any scar for at least a year so as to not make it dark. I personally ask patients not to do activities that might displace their implants into an abnormal position for at least 8 weeks after surgery. This would include swimming, tennis, and heavy weight training.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

If anything it is better

Armpit scars are naturally hidden and not exposed to sun. So the restrictions are minimal . However if you are worried about the scars exposure just put a sunblock on them for the first couple months. Generally the heal great

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Same as other incisions

The recovery guidelines are similar with other incision placements. Avoid sun exposure for a year to prevent hyper pigmentation and do not submerge yourself in water for at least 2 weeks to minimize the risk of infection.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Swimming after breast augmentation

I usually have patients wait a good 4-6 weeks before engaging in vigorous exercies. You certainly do not want to develop a hematoma early post-op which could lead to further surgery and other complications.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Each surgeon has his own sets of recommendations

I think it's important to discuss these questions with your surgeon, as all of us have a different set of protocols for both tanning and postop activity. I personally ask patients to not engage in any heavy physical activites for 6 weeks after their procedure, and to not tan their incisions for a year, regardless of the type of incision used.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Not different

All skin incisions do not reach their maximum strength until 6 weeks after surgery. This is 80% of normal skin strength and never get stronger. By 4 weeks this tissue is around 50% of normal strength. This is an acceptable time to soak the wound. Normal wetting in the shower doesn't affect the wound but continuous soaking can weaken the incision.

On the other hand scars have a higher propensity for hyperpigmentation or getting darker than your normal skin. This propensity lasts for many years so you have to be very careful when tanning. I would use SPF on the scars for 2-3 years at least.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Use sunblock for a minimum of 3-4 months

I typcially advise sunblock for 3-4 months after surgery. The breast skin itself is more sensitive to sun exposure for a variety of reasons. The scar itself may be photosensitive for a year or two.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Protect your incisions from tanning

After surgery it is recommended to protect your incisions from tanning. It is best to put an SPF lotion over the incision or protect them from direct exposure for several months while the scar is maturing. As far as swimming, we recommend refraining from vigorous exercise for 12-14 days after surgery. From day one, we recommend that you do light exercise such as walking. Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 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.