Will Massages in First 6 Months After Breast Implants Virtually Eliminate Risk of Future Capsular Contraction?

When I got 300cc sub-muscular silicone breast implants 7 months ago, my surgeon told me that if I performed the massages he taught me for the first 6 months there'd be no further risk of capsular contraction. I've had no problems, but I'm seeing stories on this website of capsular contraction happening years and decades post-op. Is what my surgeon told me true in my situation?

Doctor Answers (12)

VIDEO: Breast massage for breast implant augmentation surgery

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In my experience breast massages will help minimize the risk but not completely eliminate it. I have prepared a video on this subject and strongly encourage my patients to perform  them .  See VIDEO below.


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Massage Cannot Eliminate Risk of Capsular Contracture

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Since the rate of capsular contracture in my practice is low after breast augmentation, you do not need to do any massage unless I advise it. 99% of my patients are advised not to massage, a recommendation I have been giving for over eight years. If you are instructed to do massage exercises, it would be a little later on in your recovery so that things can get a chance to settle and tissues are allowed to strengthen a bit. I normally do not recommend breast massage for about a week to 10 days after surgery because your body is still recovering from the trauma of surgery. It is still "raw" inside, and massage may cause bleeding, increasing the risk of capsular contracture. It also hurts! However, please listen to your surgeon.

In my opinion, I do not think that massage can "virtually eliminate" the risk of capsular contracture. There is no guarantee this can happen, and I would ask the surgeon to provide you with proof if this is the case.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Will Massages in First 6 Months After Breast Implants Virtually Eliminate Risk of Future Capsular Contraction?

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The answer to your question is no. Science does not understand capsular contracture at this time. We do have a number of theories as to why it occurs, the current one is inflammation caused by a subclinical infection around the implant. It is also true that capsular contracture occurs with the highest incidence in the first year after implantation; however, it can occur any time in the patients life after implantation without necessarily rhyme or reason. I also recommend massage, and I believe it does help in preventing capsular contracture but this is only anecdotal(25 years experience) and not based on science.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

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Capsular Contracture

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"Massage in the first 6 months will eliminate the risk of capsular contracture"....Give me your doctor's name, I want to learn the same massage technique he uses!

Here's the Real Deal:

Capsular Contracture is still an enigma to us plastic surgeons; although we have some ideas on causes (hematoma, multiple surgeries, style of implant(?), etc.) we do not know for sure what causes it. We also know that over the life-time of your implants, the risk of developing capsular contracture increases steadily.

Recent studies also point to small infections around the implant called Biofilms that aggravate the scar tissue into "squeezing" down on implants. I have recently been using a Funnel device to place the silicone implant into the breast pocket....the Funnel allows me to do so without EVER touching and potentially contaminating the implants. I think it works great and current studies are looking at it's use with respect to prevention of capsular contractures.

Bottom line that I tell my patients, is massage is great to keep the implants soft and I have my patients start massage at 2 weeks after surgery and continue FOREVER. Certainly cannot hurt, but I do not think it COMPLETELY removes the risk.

Hope this helps!

Good luck!

Dr. C

johnconnorsmd.com

John Philip Connors III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Massage to minimize risk of capsular contracture

+1

The greatest risk for contracture Is within the first 6 months. Massaging the implants has shown to help minimize this risk but like many things in plastic surgery, there is not a great deal of science behind it. Your surgeon's experience and my own as well has shown this to be true in some cases. However, there is a small chance of contracture occurring at any time, one year later, two years later or even 20 years later. At the end of the  implants lifespan when implants fail, one of the first ways we know it is failing if by seeing contracture set in. This will not likely be an issue for you for 20 to 30 years. 

Andrew Kaczynski, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Early massage after breast augmentation is no guarantee against capsular contracture!

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While early massage is very effective in softening the capsule around your implants, there is no guarantee that you will not develop capsular contracture down the road.  The thought is that by placing your implants under the muscle, the overlying muscle actually manipulates the capsule on the daily basis following your healing and so may lead to less issues with firmness.  But, this has never actually been proven. 

Your best bet for avoiding contracture is to be vigilant and see a local Plastic Surgeon if you develop any early signs or symptoms of contracture.  CC is very easily treated if caught early and surgery is not always necessary.

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Massaging Augmented Breasts is NOT a Cure for Capsular Contracture (Scarring)

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Regarding: "Will Massages in First 6 Months After Breast Implants Virtually Eliminate Risk of Future Capsular Contraction?
When I got 300cc sub-muscular silicone breast implants 7 months ago, my surgeon told me that if I performed the massages he taught me for the first 6 months there'd be no further risk of capsular contraction. I've had no problems, but I'm seeing stories on this website of capsular contraction happening years and decades post-op. Is what my surgeon told me true in my situation?"

Your Plastic surgeon views on the topic of capsular contracture, if you correctly understood him, are in a distinct  minority. The vast majority of Plastic surgeons view capsular contracture as an overwhelming scarring in response to bleeding, foreign body reaction and especially infection. While breast massaging done right helps keep a pocket size as it was after surgery, there is NO evidence that it can prevent contracture.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Massage and capsular contracture

+1

While I recommend massage because I think it can not hurt and may help, there are no scientific studies that support it one way or the other.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

No data

+1

There is no data to support that massaging will eliminate the risk of capsular contracture that I am aware of.

Samer W. Cabbabe, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

You can't eliminate capsular contracture risk

+1

I don't think you heard your doctor correctly because no experienced plastic surgeon would even say that massage could give you "no further risk of cc."  Just not true...

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 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.