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RUNNERS AND BREAST AUGMENTATION


 

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Tammy Wu, MD  |  Calvin Lee, MD  |  (209) 551-1888
Mon-Fri 8am -5pm    2336 Sylvan Ave. C, Modesto, CA 95355
(next to the post office)

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Breast Augmentation, Tummy Tuck 

RUNNERS AND BREAST AUGMENTATION

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Running and Breast Implants

Breast augmentation for runners:  Breast implant shape, breast augmentation recovery, and life long precautions

Reason for our Running / Breast Implants web page:

Runners have special concerns regarding breast implants.  Dr. Tammy Wu is a board certified plastic surgeon who is also an avid runner.  She shares some of her ideas about getting breast augmentation and running.  Dr. Tammy Wu and her husband are title sponsors of the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon.

Disclaimer:  consult your own physician about Breast implants and running.  The views on this page are ours at Surgical Aritstry, Inc.  This web page is not a substitute for a one on one consultation with your plastic surgeon or physician.  Are you a runner thinking about getting breast implants?  This web page is written for you in mind.  The transmission of running and breast augmentation information from Dr. Wu's websites such as www.breastguide.com or http://www.breastguide.com/runningwithbreastimplants/  is not intended to create, nor does it create, a physician-patient relationship between you and Dr. Wu or her Modesto plastic surgery practice Surgical Artistry, Inc..

Pre-operative breast augmentation
considerations for runners and athletes

Arm movement and breast implants

Getting breast implants which are too large can get in the way of efficient arm movement.  Part of running is the forward and back movement of both arms as we run.  Implants that are too big, or have too large of a base extrude to the sides of the chest getting in the way of arm movement.  Your chest width will determine how large of a breast implant one can get before the upper arm brushes against the breasts.  In general the largest size we recommend for runners is a D cup.  However, we believe staying within a C cup is preferable.  Choices of breast implant size depends on personal preferences, goals and priorities.

Back pain associated with large breasts

People getting breast implants often wonder about why there's a segment of women looking for breast reduction - and of course vice-versa.  Here's the problem with large breasts:  Breasts can be heavy and can cause back, neck and shoulder pain.  With this in mind, breast implants are also heavy.  Thus, getting very large implants can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain.  As we know, running increases the force of gravity on our bodies while we are running; thus heavy breasts or heavy breast implants can lead to further wear and tear on our bodies - although, one can think of this as a greater workout.  If speed is a priority, large implants can be a hindrance.

Above vs. Below the muscle, Implant position

Age long debate.  With silicone implants (Cohesive Gel), some of the advantages for under the muscle placement are no longer an issue.  We feel that it is more physiologic to have the implants over the muscle - where the breasts belong normally.  From a athletic standpoint, under the muscle breast implants can lead to some muscle weakness.  The muscle in discussion is the pectoralis muscle.  If an implant is placed under the muscle, the mechanics of the muscle changes as the implant lengthens and distorts the linear nature of this muscle.  Previously concerns of breast implants which promoted under the muscle placement of implants have been rippling and capsular contraction.  Both of these are much reduced with newer silicone implants which have become very popular.  However, there are still cases where under the muscle breast implants are still recommended, ie in cases where there is very little breast tissue.  Please see your plastic surgeon for a personal discussion of this issue.  As a runner and athlete, you may be concerned about diminished muscle strength.  Furthermore, putting the breast implant above the muscle (in otherwords subglandular, not submuscular) results in a more natural motion of the breast.  When running, the whole body is in motion.  There's also another point:  under the muscle (submuscular) placement of breast implants usually leads to more pain and a more prolonged recovery period - this may wreak havoc in a very disciplined runner's training schedule.  Just some things to keep in mind.


Above and below the muscle breast implant picture

Both locations have pro's and con's.  In general, we prefer over the muscle for runners due to four reasons:
1. Preservation of muscle strength
2. Less advantages of under the muscle due to newer silicone implants
3. More of a normal breast motion when placed over the muscle
4. Faster recovery time, thus getting back to your training sooner.

Disclaimer:  Consult your plastic surgeon, this website doesn't contain specific medical info.  Everyone is unique.

 

Post-operative Breast Augmentation considerations for runners

Recommendations for post op recovery from breast augmentation

No running or jogging for 4 weeks after the breast augmentation surgery.  The movements caused by running can displace the implants from the implant pockets created during surgery.  Walking is ok.  Walking on an incline on a treadmill is ok as well.  For more of a workout, we recommend bicycling - sitting down.  Avoid exercise bicycles with moving arm parts.

When can one run again after breast augmentation

Usually we recommend no running / jogging for 4 weeks after breast augmentation surgery.

What kind of weight lifting can I do right after breast augmentation?

One can perform isolated lifting of weights to train biceps, triceps, abs, thighs, hamstrings, calves, and more.  These muscles do not involve much of the chest muscles.  It's usually best to perform these exercises seated so that there is extra support offered - especially during the first month of recovery from breast augmentation.

Are crunches ok?

Crunches are ok to perform.

What about sweating?

In general, we recommend exercising in moderation.  Sweating tremendously can increase wound infection in our patients.  This is mainly because we have patients keep their steristrips on for several weeks.  The steristrips help keep the scarring to a minimum.  After a month, feel free to take off the steristrips and sweat as much as you like.

When I'm back to running again, what other precautions should I take?

Definitely wear a supportive sports bra whenever possible.  Without the extra support you will have a greater risk of having your new breasts droop prematurely.  Use a sports bra to protect your augmented breasts while jogging.  If anyone wants to recommend a support bra, please interact with this website and drop a note to display for others breast augmentation patients to see.

Can you recommend a return-to-running schedule/routine after breast augmentation surgery?

(This was added 1/6/08 in response to a question from the internet)

I ask my runner breast implant patients to refrain from running for a total of 4 weeks following surgery. During the first three weeks, they may walk LEISURELY ONLY, no power walking or walking with weights on their ankles or hands. Starting about the third week, they may do some light aerobic workout on a stationary bike. I ask that they do no more than 30% of their usual workout routine at this time. After the 4th week, they may do whatever they want to do. However, I always caution them to be careful and start out slow. As a runner myself, I find that if I do not run for 2 weeks, I lose quite a bit of what I had prior to the two weeks, even with regular running. Therefore, I ask that they then build up slowly week by week, taking time to reach their preoperative workout level by about the 10th week following surgery.  
A good supportive sports bra, which may be a bit uncomfortable initially is the Enell sports bra. This bra provides very good support following surgery during workout sessions. You may search the Enell sports bra on the internet.  
Best of luck to you and enjoy!  
 
Dr. T. Wu

Other sources of information, other links

 

 

Presented by:
Calvin Lee, MD
- General Surgery, Acupuncture, Veins
Tammy Wu, MD - Plastic Surgery

                  GLOBAL  

Surgical Artistry Global attempts to share with the world some of our expertise.  Articles here are written in a informal blogging style - often with questions and answers.  Although we are in the medical profession, please note that we are not experts in all aspects of medicine, and we are hardly experts in other fields outside medicine.  Furthermore, any information found on our websites are for general educational and entertainment purposes, and not to be construed as specific medical advice.  The info on here may be incorrect or out of date, please check with other resources.  Please send comments to clee [at] surgerytoday.com.

Surgical Artistry, Inc. is a Plastic Surgery, General Surgery, Vein Surgery and Acupuncture medical office located in Modesto, California.  Services include breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction, vein lasers, vein procedures, acupuncture (for smoking cessation, weightloss, infertility, back pain, migraine headaches, stress), aesthetician services (microdermabrasion, skin care products), gallbladder surgery, breast cancer surgery, and hernia surgery.  Dr. Tammy Wu is the Plastic Surgeon, and Dr. Calvin Lee is the General Surgeon / Acupuncturist.

We hope you enjoyed this web page.  Surgical Artistry, Inc. All rights reserved.    visitors so far to this web page.  Last updated: 04/19/2013

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(next to post office)
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2336 Sylvan Ave. Suite C, Modesto, CA 95355
(209) 551-1888
www.surgerytoday.com