Are Breast Implants A Hazard For Fighters?

According to the Louisiana State Boxing and Wrestling Commission, yes. On September 11th of this year, the Commission passed an emergency rule stating that fighters with breast implants cannot participate without clearance from their doctors. This rule responds to recent concerns that a rupture might occur in the implant during a fight if the implant is too heavily targeted. While these ruptures are not a serious health risk, the surgery to repair the breast can be costly.

This ban is not uncommon. It was only four years ago when Sarah Blewden, a British female boxer, was banned from fighting because of the danger repeated blows posed to her breast tissue. A medical expert from the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) stated that these blows increased her risk of capsular contracture.

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Aside from this disappointing development in professional sports, how will your implants affect your exercise routine or participation in sports? Opinions vary, but here are some general guidelines for keeping active after a breast augmentation.

The Two Week Rule

Most plastic surgeons recommend that you do not exercise until two to three weeks after your surgery, depending on how fast the wounds are healing and how your body is adapting to the implants. Exercising any earlier could result in bleeding, swelling, or worse. Here are some guidelines to follow when you begin exercising again:

  • Listen to your body. Now is not the time for, “no pain, no gain.” Your body knows how far you should go. If you are in pain—especially in the pectoral area—you should rest and watch for any signs of injury.
  • Work up to it. Your body cannot perform the same level of exercise after a major surgery. Start out slow; walk around the block a few times or use the stationary bike at the gym on a low setting.
  • Avoid heavy lifting. In the same vein, do not begin lifting weights right away, especially in your upper body. A full recovery could take up to six weeks, and you don’t want to ruin your investment before it has even begun to look good.

The Sports Bra: Your New Best Friend

Though you won’t be able to exercise intensively after treatment, many plastic surgeons recommend that you wear a sports bra after surgery. Though no scientific study has been performed to verify the need for sports bras, many surgeons suggest wearing a sports bra after surgery to correctly position the breasts.

The main factor is the positioning of the implant. A subglandular implant requires different post-operational procedures than a subpectoral. Not all implant placements are created equal, and each must be treated differently to achieve the desired result.

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Silicone For Sports

As demonstrated in this video, silicone implants are much more impact resistant than saline implants. While both saline and silicone implants have a secure silicone shell, the material inside greatly affects how impact resistant it is. So, if you are considering impact sports like boxing or wrestling, silicone is the way to go.     

Keep in mind, though, that implants are not meant to last forever. Regardless of how little or how much you exercise, the silicone gel can become weak and leak, which will require surgery. For more active people, a forceful impact can cause the implant to leak or burst.

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Consult Your Surgeon

Everybody is different, and breast augmentation will affect people in differing ways. Before undergoing a breast augmentation, make sure your plastic surgeon knows about your daily routine, especially if it involves regular physical activity. With that information, your surgeon can help you make the right decisions for your augmentation.