When to start massaging the breasts after breast implant surgery

When to start massaging the breasts after breast implant surgery

28th May 2021

After undergoing a procedure as complex as breast implant surgery, patients are expected to follow a strict post-operative routine. The plastic surgeon will give you all the details about what is expected from you even from the pre-operative consultation. Among the instructions that should be followed after breast implant surgery is massaging the breasts. 

Breast implants can be inserted either under or in front of the pectoral muscles. A new technique involves placing the implant half under the pectoral muscle and half under the mammary gland. When the plastic surgeon places the implants under the pectoral muscle or in the dual plane, it can take longer for the muscles to heal compared to the mammary gland tissue. 

The initial reaction of the muscles to the surgical trauma can be the tightening of the tissues. This means that after the implants are inserted, they can look rather high on the chest wall and the patient might have the appearance of a bodybuilder. This is not uncommon and nothing to be worried about as the appearance of the breasts will change when the implants drop and settle. 

The dropping of the implants happens after the muscles relax and are stretched enough to accommodate the newly added volume of the implants. It is also during the first few weeks post-op that the body will work to isolate the implants from the surrounding tissue. To do so, the body will create a fibrous capsule around the implants. Once again, this is a normal reaction and nothing to be worried about. However, this capsule can lead to a specific complication to implant surgery called capsular contracture. This complication is characterized by the thickening and hardening of the fibrous capsule up to the point that the patient experiences pain in the breasts and even deformations in the shape of the breasts. 

To avoid this complication and also to help implants drop and settle fast, the plastic surgeon will advise you to massage the breasts. Keep in mind that massages are recommended only for implants with a smooth surface. When implants with a textured surface are used for breast augmentation purposes, the advice is not to massage the breasts as the surface is meant to adhere completely to the tissues of the body. 

When the recommendation is to massage the breasts, it is important for patients to wait for a good time to start. In general, touching the breasts in the first few days can be painful and uncomfortable, so patients should wait a day or two before the massages start. Also, keep in mind that you will need to perform certain movements as instructed by the medical staff. 

The aim of the massages is to help patients avoid capsular contracture from occurring and also to get rid of the bodybuilder appearance of the chest. Often it can take up to three weeks for the implants to settle or even more, and massages are recommended daily during this period. 

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