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Topic: Swimming with Implants

Forum: Working on Your Fitness —

Conversations about exercise, diet, and getting back in shape after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: Jan 2, 2009 12:25PM

Held wrote:

Is there anyone out there with implants that swims laps on a regular basis?  If so, what problems did you encounter?  Pain? Discomfort?  Thanks

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail....but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying.....Damn....that was fun! Dx 9/6/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Jan 2, 2009 12:32PM rockwell_girl wrote:

Hi Held : )

I haven't tried swimming with my implants in yet but had no trouble at all with my expander filled and swimming

As others have said I do notice the silicone implant being colder than the saline implant

I can't wait to try swimming but I guess I'll have to wait till summer or go to a hotel to try it out

Unless if I do like one of my biking friends which was broke through the stream and he went for a short swim brrr

Sandy/Sunshine : ) Dx 3/4/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 2, 2009 12:41PM Held wrote:

Hey Rockwell - how the heck are ya?  You changed your picture!  I like it!

I swam laps quite a bit with my expanders in, and didn't have any trouble at all.  I even managed to do a bit of butterfly. I had my exchange the end of July and haven't been near a pool since. Yesterday I went to the new Y near my house with my dd's.  When I was swimming a few strokes I noticed that the muscle was really squeezing the implant.  It didn't hurt, it just felt really weird.  I know those muscles are still really weak, so I am hoping it is just a matter of getting them stronger. I guess I am looking for someone to tell me they felt the same thing and it got better....sigh. 

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail....but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying.....Damn....that was fun! Dx 9/6/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Jan 14, 2009 10:55AM judig wrote:

While being expanded, were you able to swim?

Dx 8/18/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+
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Jan 14, 2009 12:28PM Held wrote:

Yes, I was - which is why I am so confused about the discomfort I am having with the implants. 

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail....but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying.....Damn....that was fun! Dx 9/6/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Jan 14, 2009 04:04PM AnneW wrote:

Swimming really engages your pectoral muscles. I swam with expanders, and can with the implants, but I feel tight and sore the next day, moreso than when I do other activities. I wonder if you have some scar tissue that is pulling on your pec muscles?

Anne

2002 IDC stage 1, grade 1, rads & AI Dx 9/18/2007, ILC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 14, 2009 06:49PM gymgirl wrote:

A funny swimming story only bc ladies can appreciate... I had my implants for about 6 months when we went to Hawaii. I don't have any feeling on my chest except a strip down the middle. It was so odd because I couldn't feel the breeze on my chest. I also couldn't feel if my suit was covering me so I finally started wearing a rash-guard shirt when I went in the water. I didn't want to emerge topless and not know it. Here I finally had a great figure and was covering it up.

BLM 8/07, silicone implants 12/07, 3-1/2 yrs on Arimidex, BRCA2+ Dx 4/20/2007, ILC, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 15, 2009 10:19AM - edited Jan 15, 2009 10:20AM by DaphneRunOn

I'm so glad you asked about this, Sandy.  I got my implant 6 weeks ago (single mx) and I'm back to running, weight lifting and biking (indoors), but I have yet to try swimming laps because my implant feels so tight when I extend my arm overhead as I would in swimming.  I felt the same discomfort with my expander:  kind of a burning mid-chest and a pressure on my ribs.  It's not a small discomfort either.  According to my plastic surgeon, I didn't have a lot of scar tissue when she did the exchange, so I don't think that's the issue.  I think my pec is just really tight. 

I can make myself crazy trying to fit it all in when I get into triathlon season, so I've decided to enjoy the enforced break from swimming.  But I'd like to know that I will be able to swim by April.  I don't like being a one-sport woman.  (But being a one boob woman is OK.  HA!)  

Gymgirl - that is a funny story. 

Dx 5/16/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 25, 2009 01:26PM katie-nc wrote:

When I first got my expander in, I almost rolled over in the pool....it made me float and I felt like I was going to roll over!  LOL.  But now I have my implants, and I swim 1 mile 3 times a week.  I started off with the breast stroke, it felt funny at first, but just took it a little at a time.  Now it is no problem.  But the first time I got in the pool, I couldn't stop laughing.....these things float!  Enjoy and take it slow, and you will be fine.

Katie

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Jan 25, 2009 04:09PM jader wrote:

I haven't had a problem but I will have to pay attention to see if they float different now!

Peace out
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Jan 26, 2009 01:33AM - edited Jan 26, 2009 01:34AM by Farrah

LOL gymgirl! I know what you mean! I have a fear of a 'wardrobe malfunction' myself ever since I saw Tara Reid on the red carpet smiling for the photographers and totally unaware that her strap had fallen and her recently augmented breast was completely exposed!! You could see the scars around the nipple which is why I guess she couldn't feel her dress slipping. I felt so sorry for her and that was even before I had BM myself!  Now it seems so ironic to me that I can now wear strapless and halter necks that I would never have worn before but I'm so nervous and checking myself all the time. Lifting both arms above head is a dangerous manoeuvre if you're not concentrating :-)

BTW I have done some swim training with the implants and had no problem at all. I realized later that I hadn't even thought about my chest while swimming! Too busy trying to breathe I guess :-)

bilateral mastectomy May 08. Silicon implants July 08 Dx 5/8/2008, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-
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Feb 24, 2009 04:27PM klrobis wrote:

Hello,

May will be my 3 year anniversary since diagnosis with breast cancer.  I opted for a double mastectomy.  I had reconstruction immediately, starting with expanders and then saline implants several months later.  I am a lap swimmer.  I did swim with my expanders but ended up having to stop because of fluid around the expanders.  I started again after my saline implants and have been swimming a mile 3 to 4 days a week. It was scary at first, hoping I wouldn't mess anything up.  It has been fine and I enjoy swimming.  It is the best therapy!

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Feb 27, 2009 12:37PM Held wrote:

Thank yo so much Klrobis!  That really helps.  I can't wait to get back into a swimming routine.

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail....but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying.....Damn....that was fun! Dx 9/6/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Mar 8, 2009 02:16PM debiker wrote:

I have silicone implants and I do feel some discomfort after swimming but it goes away I am just 6 months since surgery. I swim about 1500 yds 3 times a week. Swimming does help the range of motion after surgery - i discovered that after my lumphectomy and then after my bilateral mast i started swimming a small amount as soon as I was given permission to swim.

I am trying to get strong enough to do a triathlon. I haven't been swimming really hard yet - I think I can do it though, I am working up to it with some fast 100's. 

Dx 6/6/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Aug 18, 2016 12:17AM Survivor5yrs wrote:

I recently starting swimming on a regular basis. Not a strong swimmer, but I am having a lot of discomfort and sometimes an aching pain on the side where my implant is. It is a little scary and I am considering calling my plastic surgeon with some questions. Do you have the same discomforts?

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Aug 23, 2016 04:00AM bikefam wrote:

This forum hasn't been very active for awhile, but maybe we can wake it up.I have a question.I usually swim 2000 yards three times a week.My first implant ruptured for no apparent reason five months after being inserted.The only thing I did that most of my PS's patients didn't do is the swimming. But when my PS replaced the implant, he didn't want me to swim for at least until four months. I will see him next month at four months from replacement.I would like to get some feedback as to whether anyone else has swam similar distances with implants and whether or not you've had problems.

Survivor5yr:When I did swim after my first implant, I started very slowly-maybe 200 yards at the most.I did not have any real pain.Maybe some discomfort because I was so out of shape.I was not allowed to swim or do anything for the five months my expander was in. My PS said that if I had any pain, I was overdoing it and I should back off. Did you talk to your PS?

Dx 3/2015, DCIS, Right, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/1/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/15/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/22/2015 Mastectomy: Right Surgery 8/31/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/15/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/8/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/1/2016 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 23, 2016 04:50AM downdog wrote:

bikefam, I swim 5km (3 miles) at swim practices 3-4 times weekly. I train all strokes and race butterfly. I have had no issues with my implants. I was cleared for everything at 4 weeks after direct to implant (under pecs) recon, except lying on my stomach and waterskiing. At 8 weeks I was swimming distance, but at a slower pace. It took about 8 months to fully regain pre-sx performance as well as strength levels in the gym. I wouldn't describe it as pain per se, but I had to work through discomfort and yuck pec feelings. I did work with a bc physiotherapist.

IDC
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Aug 23, 2016 09:59PM bikefam wrote:

Downdog, When I had my first implant, I was cleared for everything at 5 weeks. It also took me awhile to get back to my regular workouts. But then my implant ruptured at 5 months. The rupture was in the back of the implant against the ribs. The PS wondered if the constant motion of swimming freestyle rubbed the back of the implant and tore it open. I personally think it was a defective implant, but no one will admit that. So now the PS has me waiting for 4 months to do anything except I can ride my road bike. Still no swimming, mountain biking, running, lifting over 25 lbs, sleeping on it, etc. It's been a long 4 months. I'm chomping at the bit. I go to see him September 7 and really want some examples of others who swim and do other sports and have no problems.


Dx 3/2015, DCIS, Right, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/1/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/15/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/22/2015 Mastectomy: Right Surgery 8/31/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/15/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/8/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/1/2016 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 11, 2016 04:21AM bikefam wrote:

Saw my PS Wednesday, 4 months after ruptured implant was replaced. Although he would rather me never do anything again (just kidding), he realizes that is not realistic and cleared me for all normal activity. Went swimming today for the first time in 4 months. Only did 10 laps because he wants me to ease into it slowly. Plus I'm out of shape. But it felt so good. Hopefully this implant doesn't rupture too, because I don't think I'd be a candidate for another one. I'd have to have some other procedure or go flat. Would still like to hear from other ladies that swim distance with implants.

Dx 3/2015, DCIS, Right, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/1/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/15/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/22/2015 Mastectomy: Right Surgery 8/31/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/15/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/8/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/1/2016 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 13, 2017 08:58AM Kristiina wrote:

I am reading this with interest. So many brave women sharing! I'm so impressed! I am not a super athlete but I enjoy running biking swimming skiing ballroom dancing. For the last couple of years my biking friends and I decided we're going to sign up for a mini triathlon in 2017. Swim half mile, bike 12 miles run 3 miles. Then mid December 2016 I learned I had breast cancer. The sign up for the triathlon was New Year's Eve so I decide to go for it. I had to lumpectomies without clear margins followed up with a mastectomy on February 1. I was walking a couple miles after each surgery. I was able to run a little bit two an a half weeks after my lumpectomies. Now it's five weeks after my last surgery and I'm walking but I'm not able to get my energy up to run. I don't know if this is because of the aromatase inhibitors making me drowsy or having had three surgeries in two months is catching up with me. The triathlon is on June 4 I was hoping to be training some by now.

Kristiina Dx 12/14/2016, ILC, Right, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/26/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 1/31/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right)
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Mar 15, 2017 02:42PM bikefam wrote:

Kristina, I am so sorry that you had to go through this and are having problems getting your energy back. I had a similar situation. Two lumpectomies and then a unilateral mastectomy, all within a month. That was March of 2015. I started off with walking, like you, and by summer I started building up my biking/swimming/running. I am mostly a biker, but also enjoy swimming about 40 laps a couple times a week. By mid summer, I'd say I was back up to speed. Everyone's body reacts differently, so it is definitely something to talk to your MO about, but you have quite some time before the Sprint Tri. I think the exercise helped me heal, as least mentally. I had greater issues when I started delayed reconstruction in September 2015. I don't know if you are doing reconstruction. I went with a tissue expander and then implants. From Sept until Dec, I wasn't allowed to do anything except walk. After my implants in Dec 2015, I had to wait 5 weeks and then I could gradually ease into all my other activities. I was just about up to speed in May when my implant ruptured and I had to start all over again. Dr. couldn't figure out why my implant ruptured. They NEVER rupture. That's another whole story. Anyway, he restricted me from doing anything all summer except road cycling. Luckily that is my sport, so I had a wonderful summer riding all over northern Michigan. In the fall I resumed swimming and running. It's been a long road and I'm sure you feel like it is taking forever. But give it time. I hope you get back to your full activity level. BTW, I did a sprint, olympic and half ironman tri in 2012. Those were the first/last tri's for me. Definitely a bucket list thing. Good luck with your training. Keep me informed on how you are doing.

Dx 3/2015, DCIS, Right, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/1/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/15/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/22/2015 Mastectomy: Right Surgery 8/31/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/15/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/8/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/1/2016 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 3, 2017 09:12PM Kristiina wrote:

So sorry about the delayed response! Thank you for sharing Bikefam! It sounds like our experience is very similar. I'm so sorry you went through a rupture after five months. Yes I am going through reconstruction and delayed it till the end of summer because I love to swim long swims in the lakes around here with friends while we chat. And like you I like to ride my bike! Tomorrow is our sprint triathlon. My energy level was just feeling close to normal five weeks ago. Yes I plan reconstruction in September and I still have not decided saline versus silicone. Nor have I decided whether to do anything on the other side to help Match. Do you have any ideas? Thoughts?

Kristiina Dx 12/14/2016, ILC, Right, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/26/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 1/31/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right)
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Jun 7, 2017 06:39AM bikefam wrote:

Kristina, How did your Tri go? It's been a year since my second implant. I am cautiously optimistic that I am all done. Enjoying biking, swimming and some running. Back to all my other normal activity as well. This weekend, we are leaving on a trip to ride our bikes from Pittsburgh to Washington DC, about 330 miles. This is actually a short trip for us, as we have ridden across the country a couple times. But it's been a number of years and we're getting older. The kids and grandkids (4 and 2 yo) are going to join us for the last 3 days.

I also had delayed construction, and I had a small implant in my non-mx side. They said that was the only way they would match. I was really small (A) and they said they couldn't make an implant that small. I am a B now and was afraid that I'd feel very large, but I kinda like the size now. The two sides don't match very well, however. In a slightly padded bra, I look ok with clothes on. The mx side does not project near as far as the non-mx side. The first implant was a high profile, which projected more. The second time, the PS put in a moderate profile, thinking that may have been some of my problem with my skin tearing, etc. But I'm used to how I look and I prefer it over being flat. I'm like to say that I'm proud of my boobs since I went through so much to get them.

I have silicone. They say the new silicones don't rupture like the old ones (although mine did, but that's not the norm), and if they do, the gel stays in place and does not migrate around your body. Saline is like water so from what I understand, you would flatten out rather quickly. I know the silicone are really tough. Don't know if the saline are the same. I'm happy with the silicone, and from what I read on this site, that is the most common. But you have to decide for yourself. Good luck with everything.

Dx 3/2015, DCIS, Right, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 3/1/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/15/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/22/2015 Mastectomy: Right Surgery 8/31/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/15/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/8/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/1/2016 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 23, 2021 05:34PM CDub wrote:

I am in the process of making the decision to have double mastectomy with pre-pec reconstruction, and one of my main concerns is if I'll be able to swim afterwards like I do now. I live for swimming usually doing 5000-7000 yards a week. I'm worried that I won't be able to do this after implants. Does anyone have experience with this to share?

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Feb 23, 2021 05:34PM CDub wrote:

I am in the process of making the decision to have double mastectomy with pre-pec reconstruction, and one of my main concerns is if I'll be able to swim afterwards like I do now. I live for swimming usually doing 5000-7000 yards a week. I'm worried that I won't be able to do this after implants. Does anyone have experience with this to share?

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Feb 23, 2021 05:40PM CDub wrote:

Hi Bikefam,

I love biking too and am worried I won't be able to do as much after my reconstruction. One question, was your reconstruction that ruptured over or under the muscle?


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Feb 23, 2021 05:49PM CDub wrote:

Downdog, sorry to hear of your ruptured implant after lots of swimming. What kind of implants do you have? Do you know if they were wrapped in mesh or ADM? There are newer "cohesive silicone" implants that are supposed to have a lower risk of rupture...do you know if you got those?

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Feb 23, 2021 08:48PM - edited Feb 24, 2021 01:42AM by Moderators

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Feb 23, 2021 10:38PM - edited Feb 23, 2021 10:40PM by GladToBeAMom

Cdub, I am similar to you and am trying to understand any impact to swimming. I'd rather swim than bike or jog any day of the week. I wonder if the a/b/c is a factor when choosing implant size. Also these implants look to ride high on the chest. I have an expander in (300 cc saline so far ) and I just wonder if it will go lower when I get the final silicone. Or should I even care? I hope the replies shed light. Tx. Liz

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Feb 24, 2021 04:10AM - edited Feb 24, 2021 04:15AM by LaughingGull

I just saw this. I swim regularly as part of a masters swimming team

I have silicone implants under the pectoral muscle, and in my experience the implants pose no problem whatsoever with swimming. I also had a full axillary node dissection on the cancer side, and I would say that was a bigger (but temporary) obstacle than the implants, due to restricted range of motion. Still, at the one month mark after the surgery (during which I did a *ton* of physical therapy and stretching exercises), I was able to go to the pool and swim all strokes -not as fast as before, but that had nothing to do with the implants. It is taking a while to get to the pre-cancer speed, and I am not 100% there (but also I am triple positive and went through 2.5 years of treatment, and I am still in hormone treatment, and I am not getting any younger), but since I am not training for the Olympics, I am in peace with that.

Swimming greatly help speed the recovery of all the surgeries, particularly to gain full range of motion, not to mention mental health and sanity.

So my experience is that implants are absolutely compatible with swimming. Temporary restricted range of motion from surgery, fatigue from chemo or other treatments, those were the issues I faced. Chatting with other ladies in the swimming forums, they didn´t mention the implants interfering with swimming.

ACx4, THPx4, HP (to complete 1y); Nerlynx (1y); AI (expected 10y), Surgery: BMX + ALND, Reconstruction, Oophorectomy. Radiation. Dx 10/26/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)

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