Breast Implant Massage—Why I Recommend the Practice

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Any time a synthetic implant is introduced to the body, such as orthopedic prosthesis and pacemaker, a scar capsule or collagen forms around it within several weeks. This is a normal process to prevent any artificial implant from migrating, growing, and causing harm to the surrounding tissue.

In breast augmentation surgery with the use of saline or silicone implant, the same natural process also occurs. However, the scar capsule must remain flexible and transparent for the rest of the prosthesis’ life to preserve the natural shape and proportion of breasts.

To prevent the scar tissue from becoming constricted and dense (a complication called capsular contracture), I advocate the practice of breast implant massage, which is also referred to as implant displacement exercise since the goal is to “displace” or push the prosthesis around the pocket.

By preventing capsular contracture, we can avoid breast deformities, hardening of the tissue, and pain—complications that can only be addressed by another surgery. Take note that a good plastic surgeon will make every effort to avoid or at least reduce the likelihood of revisions in the future.

While there are several ways to reduce the rate of capsular contracture, breast implant massage is arguably the most commonly cited technique. In addition, this post-op care also allows the breast to remain soft and look proportionate (i.e., teardrop shape in which most of the fullness is in the lower half) since the prosthesis moves naturally.

To some degree, breast implant massage also encourages quicker recovery by reducing swelling. I have also noticed that my patients regain their normal sensation sooner with this post-op care, especially those who have temporary numbness after surgery. However, this exercise can also help women who are experiencing post-op hypersensitivity.

Because the implants are notably strong—i.e., it will take an extraordinary amount of force to cause shell failure—pushing them into the outermost corners of the pocket will not harm them in any way. In fact, firm or “deep” massage has been known to make the tissue soft and more “relaxed.”

I generally recommend my patients to start their breast implant massage several days post-op when the body is still in the process of creating the scar capsule around the prosthesis. Just to be on the safe side, I personally guide my patients to make sure that they are doing it the right way.

During the first few weeks, I recommend moving the implants every two to three hours to encourage them to settle into their most natural position and at the same time to accelerate healing. And after this period, massaging the breast once a day just a couple of minutes for the rest of the implant’s life is enough to minimize the risk of capsular contracture and encourage the tissue to remain soft and “relaxed.”

Despite the benefits of breast implant massage, it is only reserved for patients with round smooth breast implants.

Meanwhile, patients with textured anatomical breast implants—i.e., their outer shell is “rough,” with tiny bumps—are not supposed to move the prostheses around the pocket. First and foremost, they are made to encourage tissue adherence to prevent the prostheses from flipping or rotating.
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Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon