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Exercise After Breast Implants

By Michelle Matte ; Updated August 14, 2017

If you are fitness-conscious and just had breast augmentation, you'll want to be rocking a hot body to show off the new twins. But before you head back to the gym, remember that cosmetic surgery is just as invasive and traumatic to your body as any other surgery. Exercising in moderation will ensure that your body heals properly with minimal risks for infection, scar tissue and stretch marks.

Exercise and Implant Size and Placement

The size and placement of your implants will partially determine the type and intensity of exercise you can do immediately after surgery. Implants can weigh 3/4 lb. or more. When they are placed beneath the pectoral muscle, the muscle itself helps support the extra weight, but if the implant is placed in front of the muscle, you will need to take precautions against excessive stretching of the skin and resultant stretch marks. The extra weight may cause soreness in the supporting muscles of the back and neck. Heed your body's warning signs of pain and discomfort, and modify your workout accordingly.

Shoulder Joint and Muscle Function

Depending on the type of exercise you were doing and your pre-surgery fitness level, implants may or may not interfere with your workout. Adapting from an A cup to a C may be harder than going from a B to a C because the structural change is proportionately greater and may impede movement. Weight-bearing shoulder movements through a large range of motion or ballistic movements as in tennis or volleyball should be minimized until inflammation and pain subside. Avoid kettlebell exercises that require dynamic shoulder movement early on, and resume them with caution.

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Exercises to Promote Recovery

Exercise done in moderation can help speed recovery from surgery. Low-impact cardiovascular activity like walking or cycling will oxygenate bruised muscles and help reduce inflammation. Avoid high-impact activities initially and wear extra support to prevent excessive breast movement. Moving the shoulder joint slowly through its full range of motion without weights will promote healing and restore flexibility. However, avoid extreme stretching until pain and swelling completely disappear.

Exercise Alternatives

The post-operative phase may be a good time to add alternative forms of exercise to your routine. If you have primarily been running and lifting weights, this may be a good time to try yoga, tai chi or pilates. You may discover new fitness and health benefits while giving the tissue around your breasts time to heal.

Warning Signs

It is normal to experience considerable pain and inflammation after implant surgery, but you should expect a progressive lessening of the two. Exercising too soon or too aggressively after surgery may slow your recovery. If pain and inflammation increase, or if you develop a fever, contact your surgeon immediately. Sometimes scar tissue will form around the implant so tightly that it constricts the implant capsule, causing pressure and hardening. Implants can shift out of their intended location and give you an unbalanced and distorted appearance. Occasionally they will deflate, leaking silicone or saline into your body. If you suspect you have capsular constriction, shifting or deflation, surgical intervention may be indicated.

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