Are you supposed to massage your breast after operation?

I've heard many conflicting things to do after surgery. First hand seen two different friends that had massaged her breast and one that has never massaged their breast after surgery, the noticeable difference is there. So my question is should you or should you not? This year I've finally made the decision to get breast implants done but now need to search for a doctor. Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated! =)

Doctor Answers 16

Massaging Post Breast Augmentation

It is important that you begin a routine of breast implant massage starting 3-5 days after surgery. Breast exercises help to prevent breast hardening and capsular contractures. I recommend that my patients perform the exercises 3 times daily for the first 6 months, twice daily for the next 6 months, and then 1 time daily for life. Please see your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for instructions on massaging your breasts post surgery.


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Breast implant massage

Thank you for your question. The decision whether to massage or not depends on the implant type and your plastic surgeon’s clinical judgment. Smooth implants are frequently massaged; whereas, textured implants should never be massaged. If textured implants rotate, they could distort breast shape. Please see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to evaluate your options and acquire about her/his policy regarding massaging after breast augmentation. Good luck!

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Breast Implant Massage

Each surgeon has their own preferences regarding massage of the breasts after breast implants.   It's best to follow your own surgeon's guidelines.  Generally, smooth implants are massaged after surgery to ensure the pocket around the implant stays larger than the implant to make the implants feel softer.  Capsular contracture causes the pocket to be tight and firm, which makes the implant feel hard.  Textured implants are usually not massaged after surgery as they are not designed to be mobile within the implant pocket.  

Aloha,

Shim Ching, MD

Shim Ching, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Follow your surgeon's advice on implant massage

Your plastic surgeon will have advice based on his or her own experience as to whether you should massage your implants after surgery. Having said that, there is no evidence that it prevents capsular contracture so I only recommend it when an implant needs help settling into position. If you have textured implants then definitely NO massage.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Massage your breasts?

Aloha,

Sometimes it's recommended to massage smooth implants, but almost never for textured. It will depend on how you implants are settling and your surgeon's preferences.

Also, it's hard to compare yourself to other frirends; unless they're built the same, had the same type of implants, with the same implant placement, and by the same surgeon. The noticeable differences may have nothing to do with massaging.

It's best to find an experienced board-certified surgeon to recommend what's best for you as an individual.

Mahalo, Dr D

Kevin Dieffenbach, MD
Oahu Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Massage after Breast Surgery

Thank you for your question.  It truly depends on your post-surgical outcomes that we typically see as soon as the first visit post-operatively.  Some patients truly need massage and others don't.  So, important to work closely with a board certified plastic surgeon to help guide you through the entire operative experience. 


The advice I give to my patients focuses on 3 key elements.

1. Select a board certified plastic surgeon that you can communicate with comfortably to establish your desired look.

2. Establish that your plastic surgeon has your best interest in mind and make sure that they can explain your procedure to you in a way that makes sense and makes you comfortable. I want my patients to walk out of my consults and feel like they “get it” with respect to their surgical plan. I want to make sure that my patients can understand what a specific implant may deliver in regard to their results. This is common when we are trying to determine the size a patient desires, and also whether or not to select a shaped highly cohesive implant compared to a round silicone gel or saline implant.

3. Make sure that you understand what to expect in terms of your recovery and postoperative instructions. In my practice I give my patients additional instructions and tools to help them recover. In addition, I follow all of my patients closely after surgery and visit with them at 1 week and 3 weeks after surgery to make sure they are healing as expected.

Cheers and Best Wishes!
Steven Camp MD 
#HappyCamperMD 

Steven M. Camp, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

To massage or not to massage

While there is controversy as to whether or not breast massage exercises really do decrease the risk of capsular contracture, a lot of surgeons still have their patients massage after surgery.  You will find that surgeons will recommend to you what regimens and techniques have worked for them in their unique practices (and we all do things a little differently).  Regardless of whether or not breast massage exercises affect the formation of capsular contracture, I do feel that the exercises do help to decrease swelling and relax the muscles faster which will allow your implants to relax (or "drop") faster and give your breasts a nicer shape and softer feel.  If you have some hypersensitivity of your breast skin and/ or nipple/ areola, then the exercises can also help to desensitize them faster as well.  Some patients I feel do need to do breast massage exercises more than others for these reasons.  As such if a patient does not have much swelling, tightness or spasms of the pectoralis muscles or if she does not have much hypersensitivity, she may not need to do much breast massaging.  If you trust your surgeon, I would just recommend you follow their specific recommendations to you if that is what has worked for them over the years, especially if you were referred to him/ her by happy patients of theirs.  Best wishes.

Variation in post op massage recommendations

Thanks so much for posting your question!


What you are appreciating is the variability in postoperative instructions that uniquely suit each patient. Your plastic surgeon should be able to evaluate you and your particular goals, make recommendations for implant devices that fit your body and desires, and give you post operative instructions that are unique to your particular operative treatment. There are a wide variety of implants on the market and massage in some are useful and in others are not advisable. My best recommendation would be to have a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and have recommendations that are made specific to your case.

Rachel Streu, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Massage

Hello,

Thank you for your question. You will come across varying approaches to massage. The development of capsular contracture is a complication of breast augmentation. There are many theories as to why capsular contracture happens, and I pay close attention to the research on all. One theory that may contribute to capsular contracture is blood collection in the body (called a hematoma), leading to scarring. For this reason, I developed a “bloodless breast augmentation” technique where I use long cautery forceps, not only allowing me to open the space (pocket) for the implant, but also grab and cauterize any blood vessels so there is no bleeding.
I 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!

When textured implants are used, it is also important that the texturing on the implant integrates, or attaches to your own tissues. Massage could interfere with this and could lead to fluid collections called seromas, or rotation of a tear-drop (anatomic) implant.

Your Plastic Surgeon will have their own preferred method and reason for their preference. I recommend that you seek out a board certified Plastic Surgeon who specialises in breast augmentation, then follow their expert advice carefully.

All the best

Are you supposed to massage your breast after operation?

Thank you for your question.  While there is no evidence to support significant risks or benefits to implant massage, many surgeons will encourage it in order to help decrease the development of a capsular contracture.  Massage of smooth round implants (saline or silicone) may begin one to two weeks following the augmentation procedure depending on your surgeon's instructions.  Massage of textured implants, especially anatomically shaped implants, should not be performed given the risk of malposition.  Discuss these issues with your plastic surgeon once you have decided which board certified plastic surgeon will be doing your procedure.

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.