Exercise after Breast Augmentation: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2022 Jan 1;149(1):18e-24e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000008676.


Background: There are limited scientific data regarding the impact of exercise after breast augmentation surgery. Recommendations range from a few weeks to a few months of physical activity avoidance. To decide whether early exercise after breast augmentation is safe, a prospective randomized trial was designed to measure complications, scar quality, and patient-reported outcomes in this setting.

Methods: The present study was a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of early exercise (1 week after surgery) on postoperative complications, scar quality, and patient-reported outcome (BREAST-Q). All women undergoing primary breast augmentation surgery in the authors' institution were randomized to either standard restrictions or exercise. The three primary outcomes measured were the presence of a complication and reoperation, scar quality, and patient-reported outcome.

Results: A total of 225 participants were included in the final analysis. No differences were found among the groups for age (p = 0.66), implant size (p = 0.56), or implant pocket (p = 0.29); complication rates did not change between the control (7.5 percent) and exercise groups (6.9 percent). When assessed 12 months after surgery, the scar quality was comparable between the groups (29.9 control and 29.6 exercise, p = 0.204). Intervention groups (exercise) performed better on the BREAST-Q Augmentation Module: Satisfaction with Outcome score (66.3 control and 83.4 exercise, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Early exercise following primary breast augmentation does not increase complication or reoperation rates or cause a reduction in scar quality after 1 year. In addition, a patient-reported outcome showed improvement in the exercise groups.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, II.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / rehabilitation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reoperation
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult