How Soon Can I Exercise After Breast Augmentation?

Woman wearing sports bra

In an area like Scottsdale, many of the women considering breast augmentation lead very active lives. They often want to know how soon they can get back to the gym and other activities after getting breast implants. The answer depends on the plastic surgeon’s technique when inserting the implants.

The question that most patients don’t ask is what type of exercises they can perform when they do return to the gym. Women who get implants placed under the chest muscle—probably the most common technique used by plastic surgeons now—need to limit their upper body workouts even after they resume more strenuous cardio exercises. This is because pectoral muscles are injured during the surgery and take longer to heal.

That’s not the case with sub-fascial breast augmentation supplemented by an “internal bra”—a technique I pioneered that I call the “Sigalift.”

What makes exercising after a Sigalift breast augmentation different than with traditional implant placement techniques? In a nutshell, my breast augmentation patients can be back to work the day after the surgery, doing light cardio workouts the following week, and back in the gym within 4 weeks. At 8 weeks, they’re doing chest exercises such as bench presses with no restrictions.

How Breast Implant Placement Affects Post-Op Exercising

If you’re researching breast augmentation, you’ve probably learned a bit about the choices involved with the procedure—the size and type of breast implants, different incision locations, and the options for implant placement.

Implant location is the choice that directly impacts both the aesthetic nature of the results and post-op activity levels. Yet, most patients typically only learn about 2 options unless they choose a breast augmentation specialist.

The 2 traditional implant placement options include:

  • Subglandular: This describes implants placed above the pectoral muscle but behind the existing breast tissue into pockets created by the surgeon.
  • Submuscular: As the name suggests, surgeons create implant pockets behind the muscle. This is sometimes called a dual-plane placement, when the implants are placed partly behind the muscle, with the lower portion extending above the muscle.

Placing implants above the muscle is much less common than below-the-muscle placement because of the higher risk of visible rippling and other aesthetic issues. Women with enough existing breast tissue who want upper pole fullness can benefit from subglandular placement.

Submuscular placement is more popular, but it involves cutting the chest muscle to create the implant pocket. That means patients must avoid strenuous chest exercises such as push-ups or upper body weightlifting. Because the implants sit under the muscle, contraction places downward and outward pressure on them, which can result in the implants dropping or becoming displaced over time.

What Is Sub-Fascial Breast Augmentation?

The Sigalift augmentation is an innovative technique in which I create the implant pocket behind the thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds the chest muscle but above the muscle itself. By not placing the implant below the muscle, I avoid complications such as “hyper-animation” or bottoming out (caused by muscle contractions imposing downward and outward pressure on the implants).

Women who exercise regularly, practice yoga or Pilates, lift weights, or perform bodybuilding are ideal candidates for sub-fascial breast augmentation because they can resume those activities much sooner than if they had implants placed under the muscle. Additionally, they return to work earlier and rarely require medications stronger than ibuprofen or acetaminophen during their recoveries. Implants also “drop-and-fluff” sooner after sub-fascial augmentation than with traditional techniques.

What Is the ‘Internal Bra’?

A key aspect of the Sigalift is the use of a synthetic bioresorbable mesh that I place at the inframammary fold during surgery. The mesh, called GalaFLEX®, is completely safe and stays in the body for about 24 months before it dissolves, leaving in its place collagen- and elastin-rich tissue that’s stronger than what is naturally produced.

This internal bra provides the breasts with greater support in the lower pole, minimizing the risk of bottoming out, rippling, and other malposition complications that may occur with traditional over-the-muscle implant placement. It also helps extend the life of breast augmentation results.

Are You a Good Candidate for Sub-Fascial Breast Augmentation?

It’s important to determine whether patients are good candidates for this approach to ensure they get the best possible results. I assess each individual’s anatomy before recommending this technique. Someone with extremely thin breast tissue may benefit more from a dual-plane breast augmentation, which helps camouflage the edges of the implant.

If you’re considering breast augmentation and want to learn more about the subfascial breast augmentation with internal mesh technique at Scottsdale Center for Plastic Surgery, use the online form to request a consultation or call (480) 423-1973 to schedule an appointment.

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