Techniques for Settling New Breast Implants?

I'm 4 weeks post breast augmentation surgery, and my surgeon wants me to sleep with a workout bra pulled up above my breasts to help push them down and drop more below my nipples. The first three weeks, I was in plastic bandages to keep them up. I had 300cc silocone under muscle, but was told that during surgery, my doctor decided to do lift because of my skin.

None of my friends have heard of this technique and their breasts settled in. Is this normal? My breasts do seem too high and my nipples too low. Are there other "techniques" for making the breasts settle the way my doctor wanted it?

Doctor Answers (25)

Many techniques, but time will be your best friend


It's very common for implants placed under the muscle to seem too high early on after the augmentation-- this is due to anatomic reasons as well asthe swelling of the muscle that occurs during and after the procedure. We all have different ways to help implants settle into their final position, and in most cases it just takes time-- sometimes a few weeks, on rare occasion longer.

My advice would be to relay your concerns to your surgeon, but listen to his advice--chances are you will have a great result, but it will take some patience and time.

Dr. S

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Techniques to Help Implants "Settle"


There are different techniques that surgeons use with their patients, including:

  • wearing an elastic garment that pushes down on the upper pole of the breast (Ace Wrap, specially designed bra, specially designed elastic strap, or what your doctor has recommended
  • manipulation or downward massage
  • sleeping prone(on your belly and chest)

These are all different ways to apply downward pressure on the implant to get the skin and muscle of the lower pole of the breast to expand to allow the volume of fluid (saline or silicone) in the implant to settle to the bottom of the implant.

This is different from an implant malposition, where the implant itself is just sitting too high on the chest.

If you can fell the bottom of your implants at the breast crease, the implants are not "too high;" it's just the fluid being displaced to the top of the implant by the tightness of the skin and muscle.

You may see one side "settle" sooner than the other: this is normal.

Follow your surgeon's recommendations, and allow at least 6-8 weeks for "settling to occur."

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Sounds like an inexperienced surgeon


Making a decision intraoperatively to do a lift is unusual. It should be clear to an experienced plastic surgeon preop when a lift will be required.

Having your implants low and then high is also strange. Basically, you will settle over 6 months and know what your final result will be. Alternatives at that time include several options if the result doesn't meet your satisfaction. If at that time, if the breast looks low on the implant and the implant isn't sitting too high on the chest wall, you will need more lifting. If the implant is sitting too high on the chest wall, it will need to be surgically moved down. You also don't want to push down too hard on the implants because you don't want to have them settle too low and need further surgery to correct the bottoming out that has occurred.

Sounds like you need to stay in very close contact with your doctor and be monitored frequently for the next few months! Unfortunately, there are doctors out there who are afriad you won't come to them if they tell you that you need a lift plus the implant. The lift causes scars and costs more so some doctors hope to get by telling you that you dont' need a lift. Implants DON'T lift the breast, they only add volume. A lift is the only way to elevate the nipple and reshape a sagging breast.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

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