What are the don’ts after breast surgery?

Breast surgery is a common procedure sought by women around the world for various reasons, such as augmentation, reduction, or reconstruction. While these surgeries can enhance one’s appearance and boost self-confidence, they also require proper care and caution post-operation. After breast surgery, there are several essential “don’ts” that patients should be aware of to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

Breast surgery, also known as mammoplasty, has a long history spanning back several decades. The first recorded breast augmentation surgery took place in the late 1800s, using materials like paraffin and ivory to augment the breast size. However, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that silicone implants were developed, revolutionizing the field of breast surgery. Today, breast surgery has become increasingly advanced, with various techniques and options available to patients.

One significant aspect of post-breast surgery care is avoiding strenuous activities or heavy lifting. While it is important to engage in light movement and exercise to promote blood circulation and prevent complications such as blood clots, excessive physical strain can impair the healing process. For instance, lifting heavy objects or performing rigorous exercises can strain the surgical incisions and potentially cause bleeding or implant displacement. Following the surgeon’s instructions and gradually easing into normal activities is crucial to avoid complications and achieve optimal results.

Another important “don’t” after breast surgery is smoking. Smoking has numerous adverse effects on the body’s healing process, including a decrease in blood flow and oxygen supply to tissues. This can significantly impede the healing of surgical incisions and increase the risk of infection. Moreover, smoking is also known to impair collagen production, which is essential for the formation of healthy scar tissue. Thus, refraining from smoking is crucial for a successful recovery and the overall well-being of the patient.

Maintaining proper hygiene is also essential after breast surgery. Patients should follow the surgeon’s instructions for cleaning and caring for the surgical incisions. Avoiding exposure to water for an extended period or submerging the incisions in pools, bathtubs, or hot tubs is important to prevent infection. Moreover, it is essential to keep the incisions dry and clean to promote healing and minimize the risk of complications such as wound breakdown or delayed healing.

Additionally, it is crucial to avoid the use of harsh skincare products, makeup, or perfumes on or near the surgical incisions. These products can irritate the incisions, potentially leading to infection or tissue damage. Instead, patients should stick to gentle and hypoallergenic skincare products recommended by their surgeon.

Understanding the “don’ts” after breast surgery is essential for a successful recovery and optimal results. By avoiding strenuous activities, refraining from smoking, practicing proper hygiene, and using gentle skincare products, patients can ensure a smooth healing process and long-term satisfaction with their breast surgery outcomes.

What to Avoid After Breast Surgery? 7 Crucial Don’ts for a Smooth Recovery

In this article, we will explore the essential precautions and actions to avoid after undergoing breast surgery. It is crucial to follow these guidelines to ensure a smooth recovery process and achieve the best possible results from your procedure. By understanding what activities and habits to steer clear of, you can prioritize your well-being and help your body heal effectively. Let’s dive into the important don’ts after breast surgery and explore each one in detail.

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What are the don’ts after breast surgery?

Undergoing breast surgery is a major decision for many women. Whether it is breast augmentation, reduction, or reconstruction, taking proper care of yourself after the surgery is crucial for a successful recovery. To ensure a smooth healing process and the best possible results, it is essential to avoid certain activities and habits that could interfere with the healing process and jeopardize the outcome of the surgery. Here are some important don’ts after breast surgery:

Avoid excessive physical activity

Engaging in strenuous physical activities such as running, weightlifting, or any other high-impact exercises can put unnecessary strain on the surgical incisions and impede the healing process. It is recommended to avoid these activities for at least six weeks following breast surgery. Light walking is generally permitted and can even help improve circulation, but it is important to consult with your surgeon to determine the appropriate level of activity during the recovery period.

Avoid sleeping on your stomach

Sleeping on your stomach can exert pressure on the breasts and disrupt the healing process. It is recommended to sleep on your back or side, using pillows for support and to maintain a comfortable position. This will help alleviate any discomfort and ensure optimal healing.

Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption

Both smoking and alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on the healing process after breast surgery. Smoking constricts blood vessels, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the surgical site, which can impede healing and increase the risk of complications. Similarly, alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to heal and can also interact negatively with pain medications or antibiotics. To promote a smooth recovery, it is important to refrain from smoking and limit alcohol intake for at least a few weeks following surgery, or as recommended by your surgeon.

Avoid lifting heavy objects

After breast surgery, it is crucial to avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in activities that require significant upper body strength. Lifting heavy weights or even carrying heavy grocery bags can strain the chest muscles and disrupt the healing incisions. It is essential to listen to your body and follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding lifting restrictions to ensure proper healing.

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Avoid exposing your incisions to direct sunlight

Exposing your incisions to direct sunlight can cause hyperpigmentation, which may result in more noticeable scars. It is important to protect your incision sites from direct sunlight by wearing loose, protective clothing or applying sunscreen with a high SPF. This will help minimize the risk of discoloration and promote better scar healing.

Avoid skipping follow-up appointments

Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon are crucial after breast surgery. These appointments allow your surgeon to monitor your healing progress, address any concerns or complications, and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal results. It is essential not to skip these appointments and to follow your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions diligently to promote a successful recovery.

Stay on track for a successful recovery

By following the above-mentioned don’ts after breast surgery, you can significantly contribute to the success of your recovery process. It is important to remember that every individual’s healing process may vary, and it is vital to consult with your surgeon for personalized post-operative care instructions. Avoiding excessive physical activity, maintaining a comfortable sleep position, refraining from smoking and alcohol, avoiding heavy lifting, protecting incisions from sunlight, and attending follow-up appointments are all crucial steps to facilitate a smooth and successful recovery after breast surgery.

According to a study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, following post-operative care instructions diligently can greatly reduce the risk of complications and improve the overall outcome of breast surgery.

FAQs – What are the don’ts after breast surgery?

FAQ 1: How soon can I shower after breast surgery?

It is typically recommended to wait at least 48 hours before showering after breast surgery to allow the incisions to heal properly and reduce the risk of infection.

FAQ 2: Can I drive myself home after breast surgery?

No, it is advisable to arrange for someone else to drive you home after the surgery as the anesthesia and pain medications may impair your ability to drive safely.

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FAQ 3: Can I lift heavy objects after breast surgery?

No, you should avoid lifting anything heavy for several weeks after breast surgery to prevent strain on the incisions and implant displacement.

FAQ 4: When can I start exercising after breast surgery?

Your surgeon will provide specific instructions, but in general, you should avoid strenuous activities and exercise for at least 4-6 weeks to allow proper healing.

FAQ 5: Can I sleep on my stomach after breast surgery?

No, it is recommended to sleep on your back or in a slightly elevated position for a few weeks after breast surgery to avoid putting pressure on the breasts.

FAQ 6: What kind of bras should I wear after breast surgery?

You should wear supportive, non-underwire bras or surgical bras recommended by your surgeon during the initial weeks following breast surgery to ensure proper healing and support.

FAQ 7: Can I sunbathe or use tanning beds after breast surgery?

Avoid exposing your incisions or scars to direct sunlight or tanning beds for at least a year after the surgery, as UV rays can cause pigmentation changes and slow down the healing process.

FAQ 8: Are there any dietary restrictions after breast surgery?

While there are typically no specific dietary restrictions after breast surgery, it is recommended to maintain a healthy diet to support the healing process and promote general well-being.

FAQ 9: Can I smoke or drink alcohol after breast surgery?

It is advisable to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption during the recovery period as they can delay healing, increase the risk of complications, and interfere with medication effectiveness.

FAQ 10: When can I resume sexual activity after breast surgery?

It is generally recommended to wait until after the initial healing period, which is usually around 4-6 weeks, and then gradually resume sexual activity based on your comfort and the instructions provided by your surgeon.


In conclusion, it is important to adhere to the post-operative instructions and avoid certain activities after breast surgery to ensure proper healing and minimize complications. Firstly, it is crucial to avoid any strenuous physical activities or heavy lifting for several weeks after the surgery. This includes activities such as exercise, lifting heavy objects, and even stretching exercises that put strain on the chest muscles. By avoiding these activities, patients can reduce the risk of complications such as bleeding, infection, and implant displacement.

Additionally, it is essential to refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol during the recovery period. Smoking can hinder the healing process by limiting the oxygen supply to the surgical site and increasing the risk of infection. Alcohol consumption can interfere with the medications prescribed after surgery and may also impair judgment, increasing the likelihood of accidental injury. Furthermore, patients should avoid wearing underwire bras or bras with excessive padding as they can put pressure on the incision sites and interfere with proper healing.

Overall, following these guidelines and recommendations can contribute to a smooth recovery process and optimal results after breast surgery. It is important for patients to consult with their surgeon and closely follow their specific post-operative instructions for the best outcome. By being mindful of the don’ts after breast surgery, patients can ensure a safer and more comfortable recovery journey.