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Aesthet Surg J. 2004 May-Jun;24(3):224-8. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2004.02.005.

Effects of breast augmentation on pectoralis major muscle function in the athletic woman.



Techniques for augmentation mammaplasty commonly involve incisions through at least a portion of the pectoralis major muscle. The effects of implant position and surgical release of the muscle origin have not been thoroughly addressed.


In this study the authors report on a group of female athletes, for whom pectoralis major muscle function is particularly important, and attempt to quantify their experience with augmentation mammaplasty.


Twenty female athletes who spent at least 6 hours per week weight training filled out a 1-page questionnaire dealing with issues such as ability to perform various exercises after breast augmentation, pain during exercise, and breast appearance during exercise.


Women who reported implant location as "under the muscle" required an average of 7.2 weeks before they could resume their normal weight-room routines. Five of 7 women in the "under the muscle" group reported a decrease in their ability to perform pectoralis major-dependent exercises; 1 woman reported increased ability. Two of 7 women in this group reported pectoral pain with at least 1 of the 3 queried exercises and said they now refrain from performing those activities. Three women noticed breast firmness. Five of the 7 women said they would have implants placed in the same position again. Women who described implant position as "above the muscle" required an average of 3.8 weeks before they could resume their normal weight-room activities. Five of 13 women reported an increase in their ability to perform the 3 queried pectoralis major-dependent exercises, whereas only 1 reported a decrease in ability. None reported pectoral pain with any of the 3 exercises. Two of the 13 women noticed tightness of their implants. Twelve of 13 said they would have implants placed in the same position again.


These data suggest a longer recovery period for implants placed under the muscle before return to preoperative weight training activity. Placement under the muscle is also associated with reports of decreased performance in exercises dependent upon the pectoralis major muscle. Overall satisfaction with breast augmentation was high regardless of implant location.


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