How Do You Massage Breasts After Breast Augmentation?

Doctor Answers (131)

Breast massage after implant augmentation

+16

It is not so much that you massage the breast. The real intention is to perform breast implant displacement excercises to maintain the implant pocket that was created during surgery to maintain a soft and supple breast appearance.

The implant is generally pushed/massaged up, down, inwards and outwards to keep the capsule from contracting down around the implant. It is also fetl that this may lessen the potential for capsular contracture. Generally, these are performed more aggressively during the first month after surgery.


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

I don't think massaging breasts does any good.

+8

Hi! I think surgical areas heal best at rest. We put patients in an elastic brassiere right after surgery, and tell them to keep their arms quiet and to sleep on their back for at least a week.

The results of breast augmentation are determined by how the surgery is done. If the breasts don't look right, massage is not going to fix that. If you are going to get a capsular contracture (2 to 5 % risk), massage is not going to prevent that.

Massage may not do any harm, but I object to it psychologically, because it makes the patient feel responsible for potential problems that are completely out of her control.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Massage is the wrong term--Implant movement exercises help keep the surgical pocket bigger than the implant.

+7

As seen in the replies, some plastic surgeons feel that breast "massage" is not necessary, but most experienced breast surgeons feel that implant movement exercises help to keep the submuscular pocket created to enclose the implant larger than the implant, reducing the likelihood of capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is tightening of the scar capsule around the implant, making the breast(s) feel firm.

BTW, this answer assumes smooth implants (saline or silicone), since textured implants, like the teardrop "anatomic" or the "gummy bear" implants, are designed to adhere to the tissues and NOT move. This is because shaped implants rely on being in a specific position to look "normal" or "anatomic" and would look silly if upside down, for example!

BREAST IMPLANTS DO NOT HARDEN, EVER.

However, the scar capsule around your implant(s) can thicken or tighten (caused usually by bleeding or bacteria), making your breasts firm or unnaturally-shaped. Careful surgery, in my opinion, is important to avoid bleeding or bacterial contamination that can lead to excessive capsule formation (capsular contracture), and keeping the surgical pocket mechanically open with careful implant movement exercises can reduce both the incidence and severity of capsular contracture, should it occur.

I have my patients begin gentle implant movement exercises every three hours (when they take their muscle relaxant) while awake, simply pressing on the lower pole of the breast to force the implant to slide upwards in the already-created pocket. I have patients go braless until the implants have dropped into position, after which a bra is worn to prevent further drop or bottoming out. I believe implants should be moved in their pocket until complete healing has occurred (several months), and after a few weeks, can be done while showering or through clothing in the restroom.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

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Massaging after breast augmentation

+6

while it is good to do extensive massage after subglandular breast augmentation, if you implants are under the muscle then you do'nt want to massage them vigerously. too much massage can make your breast impant displace, and for you to develope breast asymmetry.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Massage after breast implant surgery (VIDEO)

+5

Massage, or  implant displacement, after breast augmentation is controversial.  I ask patients to do it for the first 6-8 weeks after surgery starting at 3 weeks.  See below for a VIDEO demonstration.  The idea is to move the implant in a manner that keeps the pocket a little larger than the implant to prevent capsular contracture.  

  • This is contraindicated for textured implants. 
  • This may be redundant for submuscular implants (the implants move a little with movement of the arms)
  • No studies have demonstrated its value in preventing contracture
  • One value may be having the patient focus on the softness of their implants so that any changes are diagnosed early

York J. Yates MD - Layton, Utah.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Massaging the breasts after breast augmentation surgery

+5

I do not think that there is a Universal agreement on whether to massage the breasts after breast implant surgery or not.

There are surgeons who recommended massaging after breast augmentation regardless of what kind of implant was placed. There also surgeons who recommended massaging only silicone implants. And finally, there is a group of surgeons who do not routinely recommend massaging at all.

I would suggest following instructions of your plastic surgeon.  

My recommendations for massage technique is as following. I recommend massaging in downward, medial, and lateral directions. I do not recommend routinely massaging upwards because the implants have tendency of going upwards anyway.

However, the recommendations are also based on specifics of individual surgery, size of the pocket created, the size of the implants placed, quality of the muscle, size of the muscle, size of the pocket created during the surgery and so on.

Using a fist or a pinching motion the implant is pushed in desired direction on a count of 10. 10 repetitions in each direction: down, centrally, and upwards, 3 times a day. I recommend starting massage after the first week if the patient is able to tolerate it.

Sincerely,

Boris Volshteyn M.D., M.S.

Boris Volshteyn, MD, MS
East Brunswick Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Breast implant massage

+5
The idea behind breast implant massage is not to massage the skin but to push the implant in all directions to displace it.  This way the space in which the implant sits doesn't become tight (or at least we think that this massage prevents it from tightening up).  Capsular contracture is when the pocket becomes too tight and it squeezes the implant, compressing it from it's normal shape into a ball, and it can become painful.  When this happens, you may need surgery.  Thus to avoid capsular contracture, patients are asked to massage their breasts

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 141 reviews

Massaging your implants

+4

Massaging your breast implants consists of just moving that implant around inside so that the capsule that eventually forms is slightly larger than your implant and so the breasts can feel soft and natural.  You should gently move the implants up, down, and side to side using your hands to apply gentle pressure around the breasts.  You should consult your doctor before you do and ask for their advice on whether massaging is right for you.

Richard H. Lee, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

To Massage or Not to Massage; That is the Question

+4

Many of the other responders have mentioned that breast massaging is a controversial subject. I see no controversy; it is a total waste of your time. Breast massaging was invented back in the early 1960s when we knew very little about capsular contractions, their etiology, and their possible treatments. When I was at Stanford, I did a casual survey of women who massage their breasts and women who didn’t have the time to massage their breasts. I found that capsular contracture occurs in those who massage and those who don’t. Therefore, I believe this is the wrong modality to increase the chances of a soft breast.

Since the formation of a capsule around an implant is an immune phenomenon, the treatment of choice is to modulate the immune response biochemically and not mechanically. In 2003, Schlesinger et al, described the use of Accolate or Singulair to treat capsular contractures. Today, I give Accolate aka Zafirlukast immediately post-operatively to all my patients and I find it works very nicely to prevent capsular contractures.

S. Larry Schlesinger, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 203 reviews

Massage is a misnomer

+4

You have to ask yourself what is trying to be accomplished by a massage instruction. If you are truly massaging the breast like you would knead dough, this may or may not have any appreciable effect on the breast implant and its capsule. Often doctors will tell to to massage the breast to give you something to do while the healing process runs its course. Sometimes massage instructions are meant to try to influence the size or shape of the pocket, something that is hard to imagine unless you are massaging hard enough to make the mplant work as a scalpel or cautery to dissect the pocket further. In reality, once a surgeon has made a certain pocket to "house" the implant, that pocket is generally set, although over-dissection can produce weak areas to the pocket leading to things such as "bottoming out" over time. Ideally, the pocket should be exactly as the surgeon intended it to be at the conclusion of the procedure. If it is not, it is only wishful thinking that "massage" can accurately or predictably modify the pocket. The "massage" that is often more essential is really a 'displacement" exercise. Here, a steady pressure is applied to one edge of the implant with the hand to "force" the implant to the opposite side and "stretch" or maintain the pocket dissection. The goal is to influence the capsule that is forming to develop in exactly the position, size, and shape as produced at surgery. The capsule, because of normal contracting properties, will want to collapse down around the implant. Displacement exercises, usually most effective the couple of weeks following surgery, try to prevent this from happening and thus allow the capsule to form with its appropriate dimensions and position. The analogy I use is that the implant is sitting in a room and the walls are trying to close in on the implant. Pushing the implant against a wall will allow the floor to solidify in a certain area abnd prevent this from happening and thus allow the implant to move more freely in the room.These displacement exercises are customized to each patient. If for example the implant is sitting laterally because the medial pocket is tight,then an instruction to put pressure on the lateral edge, pushing directly into the ribs will force the implant medially to maintain the medial pocket. i usually tell patients to do the exercises for 1 minute every hour that they are awake usually starting from the post-op visit at 3-4 for days continuing this for the 2-3 weeks after surgery. So I might say "push at the 12 o'clock and 9 o'clock position on the right implant and 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock on the left. Push your finger tips towards the ribs. If you have pain, stop and wait and the pain with subside. Then push until you feel the ribs with your fingertips and hold it against the ribs for 1 minute for each position. Do this every hour that your are awake." By the third week or so, you will not be able to influence the pocket much so be diligent right after surgery. Of course, in the end, your surgeon might have his or her own instructions.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.