The Athlete’s Guide to Breast Augmentation

Woman flexing wearing orange sports bra.

Some active, athletic women face a dilemma. Vigorous exercise that tones muscle and creates a lean physique can also shrink the size of their breasts. Athletic patients considering breast augmentation at my Columbia, MO, practice often wonder if getting breast implants will interfere with their workouts, running, or playing sports. That’s not necessarily the case, but active women can benefit from the following tips when making choices about breast augmentation.

There’s no reason that an athletic woman should sacrifice feeling feminine just because she wants to keep her body toned, but getting breast implants is a life-changing choice, and patients need to assess their lifestyles, needs, and goals when making their decisions.

Active patients have an advantage when it comes to any kind of plastic surgery because healthy individuals typically heal faster and experience fewer complications during recovery than their less active counterparts. So, you’re starting in a good place. Here are some other issues to consider if you’re thinking about getting breast implants:

What’s your motivation? Many of the athletic women we see are comfortable with how they feel about their bodies except for their breasts. That’s important to recognize, and many of these patients later say their bodies feel more balanced and feminine after breast augmentation. They appreciate wearing sexier, more flattering clothes that show off their curves, and enjoy the feeling of being both athletic and feminine.

Take time off from the gym. No, really, you need to rest after getting implants. Maybe you’ve read about accelerated recovery breast augmentation techniques during your research. I’m here to tell you that short-changing the time you need to recover can end up compromising the results and possibly causing complications. I recommend waiting 2 weeks before getting back to light cardio workouts, and several more weeks before resuming the vigorous exercise routine you may be used to. This can be very difficult for some patients, and it’s an issue you should discuss thoroughly with your plastic surgeon during your consultation.

Are you done having children? Some women may want more children in the future but are thinking about getting breast augmentation now. That’s okay, because breast implants typically don’t affect breastfeeding. The key is to avoid incisions near the areolae. Women who do have children after getting implants often choose to undergo breast augmentation revision or a breast lift several years later to restore their breasts’ perky appearance.

Under or over the muscle? Athletic women, including body builders, often worry about having implants placed under the pectoral muscles. The procedure involves making an incision through the muscle, and they’re concerned about losing strength or causing damage to the muscles. But that’s rarely a problem, and the under-the-muscle placement is often the best choice from an aesthetic perspective because athletic women typically have very little existing breast tissue. Without adequate breast tissue, implants placed above the muscle may look and feel less natural (and saline implants may produce visible rippling.) Again, this is an issue that should be discussed in detail with your surgeon during your consultation.

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John J. Seaberg, MD, FACS