A significant number of the patients who come to me for breast enhancement surgery are committed athletes, both professional and amateur. I have the privilege of caring for professional tennis players, yoga instructors, triathletes, skiers, fitness instructors, equestrians, golfers, cyclists, and one luge athlete. Many of my patients do not focus on a single sport, but maintain a high degree of personal fitness with a balanced routine of cardio type exercise, weight training, and some form of relaxation such as yoga.
If you are an athletic individual, I will not bore you with a dissertation on the benefits of fitness; you are already well aware of them! My purpose with this particular blog and its counterparts is to address the specific issues that are important to athletes considering breast augmentation. In later blogs I will focus on issues that are important to athletes considering breast lift (mastopexy) or breast reduction surgery.
Serious athletes considering breast augmentation surgery often ask me, “Will the surgery affect my performance as an athlete?” For most sports, the answer is: over the short term, yes, but over the long term, no. Surgery imposes a necessary interruption in the training cycle, so if your sport has a “busy season,” it is best to schedule your surgery right after the conclusion of that season. This will hopefully coincide with a natural rest phase in your sport. If your activity or sport is year round, then try to find a period where you will best tolerate a 4 to 6 week interruption from your training routine.
Are there any sports where I think it is best to avoid breast augmentation surgery? There are a limited number of sports that involve significant and repeated blows to the chest, such as skydiving and kick boxing where I think it makes sense to avoid surgery. In most other sports, the presence of a breast implant does not seem to affect athletic performance. It is wise to remember that recovery from surgery varies from patient to patient. Some patients feel they are back to peak performance in 4 to 6 weeks; for others it may require several months. If you are competing at an elite level in a particular sport I would recommend giving yourself several months to build yourself back up to the peak performance level.
In my next Blog in this series I will look at the advantages and disadvantages of breast implants above and below the pectoral muscle with special consideration for athletes.