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When Can I Swim After Breast Augmentation? Plus 4 Other Questions You Have About Your Summer Recovery

woman in bikini on float in pool

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.

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