How Long is Too Long for Breast Implant to Drop?

I am 3 weeks post-op as of June 2. My right implant is still very high on my chest. I had put in 492cc filled to 520cc on that side. I do not believe there is any more swelling as that breast is alot smaller than it was right after surgery. Plus there is an indentation at the top kindof like something is pulling up there. you can see a little in one picture. It is in like the 2 oclock position. I am doing "massaging" as much as I can. Does it seem like something is wrong??

Doctor Answers (16)

It takes a few months for implants to "find their home"

+3

A savvy patient told me this, and it's true! It is extremely common for implants to appear full, or high riding, in the upper pole in the first few months after augmentation.  As tissues stretch and adjust, the implant will settle into the pocket better and become dramatically more natural appearing.  Clearly your right looks higher than the left, but time is your best ally, and you may find that this improves on its own. I would say that both breasts will be a bit lower and prettier at six months. Upper breast compression by hand or with a band may help, but is not required for settling to occur.   I would not revise a high riding augmentation until after 6 months, since it may fix itself, and because the result is not as predictable if the position is still changing from the first operation. Your PS can give you more specific information and it is worth a visit to be checked and discuss.


Saint Petersburg Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

I would recommend revision after 3 months if needed

+3
Your right implant pocket is too high and too tight. You will need revision because of the implant position and lack lower breast pole expantion.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Too early to worry!

+1
It can take 6 months for the implants to drop and settle.  The skin and muscle will accommodate the implants over this time and the breast shape will change.  It is too early to worry at 3 weeks after surgery.

Gary Lawton, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

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Too early to see

+1
The full results of your surgery are still not apparent as it generally takes about three to four months. By that time, your breasts will have dropped and tissue expansion will create a more natural breast contour, with more fullness in the lower portion of the breasts. Your implants won't be sitting so high. Please wait until then to evaluate your results.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

3 weeks post breast implants, questions

+1
Thank you for the photos. You are way too early to make any statements about the final result. They usually start to descend at about three weeks. In general it may take 6 months to a year or so to have the implants finally fall into place. Best that you communicate with your board certified plastic surgeon and let him/her know what is going on. Every surgeon may have their own protocol for message, etc;.

Jeffrey Roth, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Breast Asymmetry?

+1

Thank you for the question and picture.

Yes,  I have seen implants “drop” for up to 12 months (or more)  after breast augmentation surgery.  I asked my patients to “pull up on the skin and push down on the implant”  on the side that is slower to settle.  Although it is controversial I think that implant massage and displacement exercises are helpful in keeping the  breasts soft in general.

Continue to follow up your plastic surgeon and make sure you  are not experiencing encapsulation which may result in firmness of the breast  and/or implant malposition.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 750 reviews

Will my implant drop?

+1

If your implant originally was down in a better position and now has raised up, then you have a capsular contracture and it will not go back down without some intervention.  If your implant has always been high, especially if always higher than the opposite breast, then it was positioned too high and will not come down without surgical intervention.  Certainly patients will have swelling in the early couple of weeks, and this can cause some fullness in the upper breast (usually symmetrical) that resolves over that period...even with this, however, the implant should still be down where it belongs and filling out the lower pole of the breast.  If skin and breast tissue are tight preoperatively, it may take a while for this tissue to stretch under the weight of the implant, but this does not make the implant sit high...the implant is down where it belongs but the lower pole (between nipple and crease) is tight and hasn't stretched and rounded out yet, and maybe the upper pole will look a little more full until this tissue stretching occurs.  But the implant is still down where it belongs during this process.  In other words, implants do not "drop"...tissues relax, swelling resolves, shape changes, but if the implant is higher than it should be, due to surgical technique issues or due to the development of capsular contracture, it will not drop on its own.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Post augmentation recovery

+1

Dear twinmom,

Thanks for the photos.  The asymmetry is obvious and I sense your concern.  Be patient.  Massage and time will most likely be your friend.  Best idea is to visit with your PS and ask if there are other modalities available.  Some surgeons will use an adjustable  upper chest elastic garment to help expand your lower pole and help "drop" your implant.  Call Monday.  Good luck 

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Breast implants dropping

+1

I agree with what the others have said- it can take 2-3 months, sometimes up to 6 to get them to drop.  You mentioned that you are massaging which is great.  I would make sure your surgeon sees your technique to assure that you are doing it with maximum benefit.  I have seen some patients who think they are doing it right but they are only moving the breast, not the actual implant. You should also consider some type of band that puts continuous pressure over the top of the breasts for the next few weeks since your implants look particularly high.  If they heal in that position then you will need a revision to release the inferior capsule for sure.  Good luck!

Tiffany McCormack, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

3 weeks is still early for implant position (even if one has dropped already).

+1

At three weeks from breast augmentation surgery, implant position is frequently higher than ideal, which can take anywhere from days to months to finally achieve. This can happen on one side or both, but even when we strive to perform exactly identical procedures on each side, it is common to note different swelling, bruising, discomfort, scar formation, nerve regeneration, and sensation between sides. In rare cases, if things aren't right after 3-6 months, additional surgery is necessary to either raise a too-low crease, or to open the pocket more and drop a too-high implant. But neither would be advised until enough time has passed to see what final implant position is, and just what needs to be done. It's easy to see why dropping a persistently-high implant position is easier to perform, achieve proper position, and maintain long-term, than trying to raise a too-low pocket (and keep it there despite gravity and scar softening)!

Most surgeons believe (and we see this in our patients) that implants initially placed slightly higher than aesthetically "ideal" will drop, soften, and settle over time. However, there are some surgeons who try to position the implants in exactly the location they feel is best at the time of surgery, and then place their patients in surgical brassieres or elastic wraps to try to "maintain" the implants in that position. In my humble opinion, that fails all too often, as evidenced by either a population of unhappy patients with too-low implants, or too many re-do surgeries to raise pockets. Neither is good.

In your case, you have one implant (your left side) that looks pretty good in terms of position right now, though it may actually end up too low as time goes by IF your implant continues to drop. The presently "too-high" right implant may be just fine over time as it settles and drops as the capsule (scar around the implant) matures and softens. IF it is too high compared to the left side because of bleeding, early capsular contracture, and a thicker, tighter capsule scar that has inhibited dropping, this will not get better and will require re-operation. This should not be considered for 3-6 months or even longer, to determine exactly what will happen over time. So, as you can see, you may have a left breast that continues to drop and could end up too low, a right breast that continues to drop and may end up just fine, a left breast that is doing what is intended and a right breast exhibiting signs of early capsular contracture and malposition, or both breasts doing "fine" but at different rates of healing! Whew! Hard to tell exactly what is going on without knowing what happened during surgery, what you surgeon saw immediately post-op or in your early recheck(s), and what your present examination shows. This takes an in-person follow-up visit.

Your surgeon can assess and evaluate your breasts, determine what seems to be occurring, and whether anything can or should be done to aid your healing process. I frequently recommend an elastic bandeau below a good-position breast to help hold implant position from further dropping (like your left side), or above the breast to aid the still-too-high implant in dropping (like your right side). Ask your surgeon!

The short answer to "Is something wrong?" is that a photo (thanks for including one!) and brief description cannot provide enough information, but physical examination by your surgeon will allow him or her to provide you with advice and instructions.

 

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.