Recover after breast augmentation surgery is different for everyone. We have patients who are able to go out to dinner the same day as surgery, and some who prefer to stay home for a few days before they are ready to socialize again. Some of the main questions about recovery that patients ask us about:
When is it safe for me to pick up my kids?
We recommend that patients don’t lift more than 10 pounds for the first 2 weeks after surgery and this can present a challenge for patients with young children. Our advice is to have someone else get your child in and out of a crib. You can hold your child while sitting down but it would be best to have someone hand you the child or let your child get on your lap rather than you using your arms to do the work. If a situation requires you to lift your child it’s not the end of the world, but it can cause discomfort and in theory you could tear the pectoralis muscle.
When can I drive?
We have some patients who are able to drive the day after surgery, and some who don’t feel comfortable driving for a week. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t drive while taking pain medications – that would be driving under the influence. Once you are off the prescription pain meds, the next question is can you go through all the motions needed to drive a car safely. The question I always ask patients is “if you were driving through your neighborhood and a kid pulled out in front of you on a bike could you react quickly enough to avoid an accident.” If the answer is no, then you aren’t ready to drive.
When can I go back to work?
The answer really depends on what you do and how you recover from procedures. We have had patients go back to work the day after surgery, and others who have taken weeks off. For people who mostly work at a desk it isn’t unreasonable to have breast surgery on a Thursday and go back to work on Monday. We take care of a lot of hair stylists, and since they have a more active job they sometimes take a week or two off. Fedex drivers and others with jobs that involve substantial lifting might not be able to return to full active work duty for up to 6 weeks.
When can I go back to the gym?
We ask our patients not to go to the gym for two weeks. At week two, we suggest that they go ahead and resume leg and core exercises. We prefer to limit upper body workouts until week 4-6 if possible. We let patients resume cardio exercise by week 2. We typically suggest that patients start with spinning since this will have the least impact on your breasts. Running will cause your breasts to bounce more, so we recommend patients wait 4-6 weeks before they hit the treadmill or trails again. We recommend waiting about a month before patients resume swimming.
These are general guidelines that we give our patients. They are based on our history of taking care of patients and listening to the feedback they give us. Each practice will have slightly different recommendations based on their experiences and opinions. Breast augmentation surgery remains the most popular cosmetic procedure for women in the United States because it has a high satisfaction rate and patients tend to do very well with the surgery and recovery. If you would like to learn more about breast augmentation surgery we welcome you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Justin West. We look forward to meeting you!