One of the most commonly asked questions we get at this time of year is when is it safe to get back into a swimming pool or go to the beach after having a breast augmentation procedure? Generally, at three weeks after their surgery, most women can return to the pool or take that trip to the beach and not be concerned about harming their results. While most patients feel “ready” to get back into these activities earlier than three weeks after their surgery, the skin tissues need time to heal until the water resistant property of the skin makes it safe for swimming. Even after three weeks, we urge the patients to dry their swim suit tops and towel off well for a few more weeks after getting out of the water. This is so the healing incisions are not being soaked by a wet swimsuit top. Even before the three weeks after their surgery, most patients can put on their swimsuits and sit by the pool or even sit in the pool up to their waist so they do not have to miss too much time at the pool with the family and friends.
The other commonly asked question at this time of year is when is it safe for me to suntan after a breast augmentation procedure? While most women can get into a pool at three weeks, the incisions used for the breast augmentation do require a longer time before they can “tolerate” the damaging rays of the sun. Healing tissue is similar to the fragile tissues of a newborn baby and do not tolerate sun exposure while healing. Sun tanning the incisions too early can damage the healing tissues resulting in reddish and raised scars or wide scars. A good rule to judge when the incisions are able to tolerate sun is when they have faded to a pale color and are flat and soft. This usually takes a few months to a year or more to occur and varies greatly from patient to patient. We recommend patients avoid direct sun or tanning booth light exposure until these signs of healing are present. We also recommend that patients put sun block directly on their incisions before putting on their swimsuits just in case some ultraviolet light-the damaging rays in sunlight, does get through the material.
So the bottom line is that you can quickly return back to the pool or schedule that trip to the beach after a breast augmentation as long as you follow some simple guidelines and still get a great breast result.
Herluf G. Lund, MD