Woman in a black bikini lies on her side on the beach.

This time of year, one of the most commonly asked breast augmentation questions we get at our St. Louis plastic surgery practice is when is it safe to get back into a swimming pool or go to the beach after getting breast implants?

How soon can you swim after breast surgery?

Although swimming should be avoided for the first few weeks after surgery, most patients can put on their swimsuits and sit by the pool or even sit in the pool up to their waists. This way, they do not have to miss too much time at the pool with their family and friends.

Generally, at 3 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 3 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 3 weeks, we urge the patients to dry their swimsuit tops and towel off well after getting out of the water. They should continue this thorough drying-off routine for another few weeks. This ensures that the healing incisions are not being soaked by a wet swimsuit top.

How long should you wait to tan after surgery?

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 3 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 does not tolerate sun exposure while healing. Suntanning the incisions too early can damage the healing tissues, resulting in reddish and raised scars or wide scars. We talk more about tanning issues in a related blog post.

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 that patients:

  • Avoid direct sun or tanning booth light exposure until signs of healing are present
  • Put sunblock directly on the incisions before putting on a swimsuit, 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 to the pool or schedule that trip to the beach after breast augmentation and still get a great breast result as long as you follow some simple guidelines.

If you are considering breast surgery, contact us online or call us at (636) 530-6161 to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons in St. Louis.

Herluf G. Lund, MD



Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.