Cosmetic Surgery Tips

When Can I Swim After Breast Lift

It’s a question that many women ask after their breast augmentation surgery. The short answer is that you should avoid swimming until your surgeon clears you to do so. While the scar will heal over time, the area around the surgical site can still be sensitive for up to three months after your procedure. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in this area, you may want to wait longer before getting back into your regular swimming routine.

In this article, we’ll discuss competitive swimming after breast augmentation and how long do you have to wait to go swimming after breast reduction.

When Can I Swim After Breast Lift

Are you planning to schedule a cosmetic procedure this summer? You’re in good company. Warmer weather—and more body-conscious wardrobe choices—motivates many patients to make changes, and breaks from school or work are often easier to manage this time of year. And, with only a few weeks of downtime needed after most procedures, you’ll be able to enjoy your results in time for many summer festivities. However, there are some special considerations that apply to patients recovering during the summer months.

To help you on your way to a safe, comfortable, and speedy recovery, we’ve answered top patient questions about plastic surgery recovery during summer.

When can I swim after cosmetic surgery?

After most procedures, patients are allowed to gradually resume dry-land exercise within three to six weeks, but you’ll need to wait at least a month before taking a dip in a pool. Here’s why: bodies of water (chlorinated pools included) contain a menagerie of microbes that are normally nothing to worry about, but pose an infection risk to healing incisions. You can still enjoy sitting by the poolside and dip your toes in to cool off—just take care not to submerge the surgery site.

Longer, sunnier days combined with skimpier summer clothing present an added risk to plastic surgery patients.

Expect to wait a few extra weeks before swimming laps if you have breast surgery to avoid overexerting the chest muscles and possibly straining your incisions. Rhinoplasty patients will also have to wait several months before wearing swim goggles. Whatever procedure you’ve chosen, be sure to ask about specific limitations and get an official OK from your plastic surgeon before spending time in the water.

How can I protect my results from the sun?

Longer, sunnier days combined with skimpier summer clothing present an added risk to plastic surgery patients. Because scar tissue doesn’t have the same make-up as normal, healthy skin, it is extra-sensitive to the sun, and UV exposure can darken scars.

Scars are susceptible for a year or longer after surgery, so keep them covered a wide-brimmed hat, UPF clothing, or broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen (once your plastic surgeon agrees it’s safe to apply topical creams) any time you go outdoors. You’ll be rewarded with lighter scars that are more likely to fade over time.

Wearing underwire bras too soon after surgery can irritate healing incisions, and most underwire bras and swimsuit tops lack the necessary support for daily wear.

Is it okay to take my kids to the amusement park a few weeks after having a breast lift?

One potential challenge to having plastic surgery during the summer is that you’ll be recovering while your kids are out of school…and getting more bored by the second! If they are begging to go to Wings & Waves, it’s likely fine to take them, granted you are past your initial recovery period (i.e., you can safely drive and perform light activity), your surgeon agrees it’s safe, and you take certain precautions:

  • Sit out waterslides, roller coasters, and any rides that may bump or toss you around. A 2-minute thrill isn’t worth negatively affecting your healing results. Resign to being the chaperone only at this time. The good news is you can capture your kids smiles and post them to social media from the sidelines!
  • Wear a sports bra and a sleeved T-shirt to minimize germ contact. Crowded amusement parks are hotbeds for germs. If you’re still in your first 8 weeks or so after surgery, leave the tank top at home and keep your incisions well-covered with clothing. Also, maintain your personal space to protect your results and minimize germ exposure.
  • Take another healthy adult along to do the heavy lifting. Even several weeks after a breast lift, you may still tire a little more easily, and you will still be restricted in how much you can lift.
  • Drink plenty of water to stave off dehydration. Staying hydrated is especially important when you’re recovering from surgery to ensure optimal nutrient delivery to healing tissues and help your immune system function at its best.

When can I wear a bikini top after breast augmentation?

In general, our Eugene breast augmentation patients are required to wear a soft, supportive bra, such as a sports bra, for about 6 to 8 weeks after surgery to ensure results heal optimally. Wearing underwire bras too soon after surgery can irritate healing incisions, and most underwire bras and swimsuit tops lack the necessary support for daily wear.

Another reason we discourage women from bra or swimsuit shopping too early: your results will still be taking shape for several months after breast augmentation, and the biggest changes occur in the first 8 weeks. By waiting a few weeks, you can feel confident that your new garments will fit well for a long time.

Competitive Swimming After Breast Augmentation

Do fake boobs float? Is swimming with breast implants possible? These are common questions asked of Weston plastic surgeon Dr. Jon Harrell – and not just because of our proximity to the beach. Knowing how your breast implants will interact with water may be an important consideration, especially if you are someone who enjoys time in the pool or ocean.

Do Fake Boobs Float?

Breast implants are not a floatation device. They will not make you buoyant. They are not a suitable alternative to a life vest.

Breast implants, even those placed above the muscles of the chest, are not capable of making a person float. This is true for all types of breast implants, regardless of size, shape, filling, or density. Any worry about breast implants preventing comfortable swimming is unnecessary for most women.

Your breast implants will not turn you into a human bobber. In fact, when breast augmentation is performed appropriately, there should be no indication that your breasts are not entirely natural, even when you’re swimming.

Is Swimming with Breast Implants Possible?

Swimming with breast implants is, for the casual swimmer, no different than swimming without them. Neutrally buoyant, breast implants float and sink in the manner your movements dictate and, just like natural breast tissue, will go as far underwater as you take them. However, the larger size of augmented breasts may create some slight drag for competitive swimmers.

In the mid-1980s, there was a minor controversy about the theoretical and reported impact of breast implants on a swimmer’s top speed. Apparently, a competitive swimmer who had received breast implants reported that they decreased her top speed in the water by 20%. Based on the modeling used to determine the drag coefficient for the ship’s hulls, the surgeon’s prediction is that the change in her shape should only decrease her speed by about 11%. In response, other surgeons did experiments in which varsity swimmers were asked to put buoyant rubber softballs in their swimsuits and analyze the impact on swimming speed. The result was a 9–12% decrease in times. A competitive swimmer for whom this would represent a significant factor may want to wait until she is finished competing before getting breast implants.

On the other hand, breast implants have come a very long way since the mid-1980s. Placement options, implant filling, and outer shells have advanced with the times. There have been no peer-reviewed, data-driven studies conducted on modern breast implants and their impact on competitive swimming. However, if you are a professional athlete, you may wish to weigh the anecdotal evidence more heavily before undergoing breast augmentation.

Will Breast Implants Impact Pectoralis Muscles?

There is some evidence that implant placement can impact the performance of the pectoralis muscles. When implants are placed underneath the muscles, they may reduce your ability to perform more advanced weightlifting and pectoralis strengthening exercises. This is typically not an issue for women who are not bodybuilders, as implants shouldn’t interfere with basic exercise or athletic endeavors.  

If you are a weightlifter, talk to Dr. Harrell about your implant placement options. Studies have not found implants placed above the chest muscles to impact physical performance. This placement option may be better if you are engaged in more progressive forms of body building.

The Takeaway

Breast implants will not make you float. They will not interfere with casual swimming and they will not reduce your ability to perform basic exercises.

How Long Do You Have To Wait To Go Swimming After Breast Reduction

It’s best to wait at least 2 months after surgery before trying activities like swimming laps or treading water.

In order to achieve maximum comfort and support during strenuous physical activity, it is essential to wear a good sports bra. The right sports bra can significantly reduce movement and provide the necessary support to prevent discomfort and potential injuries. By investing in a high-quality sports bra, individuals can work out for longer periods of time without experiencing any discomfort.

Reduction in Movement

One of the main benefits of wearing a good sports bra during physical activity is the reduction in breast movement. The breasts are made up of ligaments called Cooper’s ligaments, which are responsible for maintaining the shape and integrity of the breasts. During vigorous exercise, these ligaments can stretch and become damaged if not properly supported. A sports bra helps to minimize breast movement, thus reducing the risk of ligament damage and discomfort.

Increased Comfort

Another advantage of wearing a sports bra during physical activity is the increased comfort it provides. The compression and support offered by a sports bra can help to alleviate any discomfort or pain that may arise from breast movement. This allows individuals to focus on their workout without being distracted by any breast-related issues.

Extended Workout Time

By wearing a good sports bra, individuals can work out for longer periods of time without experiencing any discomfort or pain. The support and stability offered by a sports bra can help to improve overall performance and endurance during physical activity. This means that individuals can push themselves harder and achieve better results without the distraction of breast movement.

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