When making the exciting choice to get breast implants, you're making a big investment in your appearance; you definitely want to  follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions to achieve the best results possible. Physicians do not unanimously agree on which exercises help the most during the recovery period, so it is important to consult your surgeon. His or her recommendations will be tailored based on the type of implant used, the surgical techniques involved, and your own unique needs.

Massage Techniques

Exercises that involve gently moving the implant are often recommended to help prevent capsular contracture.  A frequent complication of breast augmentation surgery, capsular contracture occurs when hard scar tissue forms around the implant, causing the breast to feel unnaturally firm and to look like a ball.  Meticulous surgical procedures help to prevent capsular contracture by reducing the possibility of bleeding or infection, but moving the implants can also keep the pocket around the breasts slightly larger than the breast, which creates a softer, more natural appearance.  However, massage exercises are only used for smooth saline or silicone implants, and are never necessary for teardrop-shaped implants, which are not designed to move.  Read on for a description of some of the most commonly prescribed exercises.

  • Medial Displacement Exercises.  Holding your left breast with your right hand and your right breast with your left hand, carefully press them together for two seconds.  When performed diligently, this exercise can enhance your cleavage.
  • Compression Exercises.  These exercises involve gently pressing on your implant from above, below, and on either side to stretch the pocket surrounding the implant.
  • Upward Displacement Exercises.  To perform this exercise, place your hand at the fold just below your breast.  Holding the skin beneath your breast tightly, press the top of your palm into the breast, causing the implant to move up and away from your hand.  This exercise helps your implants move more naturally and feel softer to the touch.
  • More Exercise Techniques.  Other surgeons recommend a simple regimen of shoulder rolls and arm circles to gently re-condition the chest.

Exercise in General

Massaging the breast is typically recommended beginning a few days after surgery, but you may really be wondering, “When can I get back to the gym after surgery?”  Recommendations vary, but many surgeons ask their patients to rest for two weeks before returning to exercise so that their bodies can heal.  At that point, you may begin low impact exercises like spinning and the elliptical machine.  After three weeks, many surgeons allow their patients to return to their old exercise routines, including weight lifting, but some request that their patients stay away from heavy-lifting or especially vigorous exercise for 6 to 8 weeks following surgery, and other prescribe a careful step-by-step return to exercises that engage the chest.  When returning to your activities after surgery, the best rule of thumb is to listen to your body, and if a movement causes discomfort, stop and try again after a few more days.