How Long Does It Take Implants to Look "Normal" After Reconstruction Surgery?

Hello, I am 27 years old - 5' 3" 155 lbs. Medium frame. I recently had a bilateral mastectomy and went thru the tissue expansion process and had the expanders filled to 600 cc's before implant surgery. I am one week post surgery and my silicone gel implants are 650 cc's. My question is how long does it take for the implants to settle or take the shape/look that they will ultimately be. I came out of surgery expecting bigger (at least a full C cup)- and what can I do to help recovery.

Doctor Answers 11

It can take a few months to see final results.

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There are several different factors that can affect how long it takes to see your final results after reconstruction. First, you mentioned that you had 600 cc sizers but 650 cc implants. This size difference means the surrounding skin and breast tissue will take a little while to settle into their new contours, especially with a smaller, tighter implant pocket. Even a cosmetic breast augmentation would take awhile for the implants to fully settle, and the complex nature of a mastectomy means a more complex augmentation/reconstruction. Although it’s hard to wait, try to stay positive and know that you’re only in the earliest stages, and should enjoy your new figure before too much longer.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Be Patient with Breast Reconstruction Results

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The size of the final implant is determined by the amount of volume placed in the implant during the expansion procedure. Tissue expanders project more than silicone gel implants, and that is why your surgeon was able to place 650 cc implants after using 600 cc expanders. Also, the width of your chest wall limits the size of the implant, as one must be careful to not place too wide an implant in the pocket that it extends into your axilla, or underarm.

It takes about 3 to 6 months before most women see the final size and appearance of their reconstructed breasts, so be patient. It is wise to wear a good, supportive bra, especially when exercising, to help keep the implants in a good position. Also, massage the breast to keep it soft and pliable. Taking an antihistamine, such as an over-the-counter anti-allergy medicine, may help decrease your risk of capsular contracture. I also recommend avoiding isolated pectoralis muscle strengthening exercises, which can result in visible contracture of the muscle with activity if you are very thin. Plank exercises associated with yoga and push-ups are OK.

Wandra K. Miles, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Final Result after Implant Breast reconstruction

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It generally takes about three months for the post-surgical swelling to resolve and for the implants to settle with gravity. So it is important to be patient and give your body time to heal before considering the final result. 

How long it takes for implants to look normal

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It can take many months for implants to settle and take the shape/look that they will ultimately be. In general, they tend to drop in placement (due to gravity) and shrink in size (due to decreased swelling and sometimes capsular contracture). It is unlikely that the implants will grow in size. After a few months, however, if you still feel that your implants are too small, you can have a discussion with your plastic surgeon about changing the size to better suit your body.

Recovery after exchange surgery of expanders for implants

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Thanks for your question.

Like all surgery it does take time for the swelling to settle and the scars to soften. Unfortunately, if you feel you are too small now, that may end up even slightly smaller when the swelling subsides further. Some patients feel they are too small, even when the largest volume, most projecting implant for a given base width is used. Plastic surgeons are limited by what implant sizes and volumes the companies manufacture.

Assuming that you have anatomical "tear drop" implants, your reconstructed breasts will assume a more ideal shape as the swelling resolves after your surgery. This may take a few months.

In terms of what you can do to aid healing, it is all the usual things suggested after surgery. Massaging your scars with silicone gel, eating well, exercise and avoiding smoking are all important in wound healing.

I hope this helps.


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Most women will be close to their final outcome after 3 months. In my experience, the bigger the implant the longer it takes for ultimate healing, #DropAndFluff , especially if you have toned pectoralis muscles and the implants are submuscular.

Recovery after Silicone Implant Reconstruction of the Breast

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It can take several weeks to months for an implant expander breast reconstruction to settle down and depending upon the quality of the skin envelope may vary considerably.  Later scar capsule contractures can form around the breast implant causing them to be deformed or displaced.  

For these reasons, when appropriate, I prefer to used autologous tissue techniques for breast reconstruction where a soft, warm natural breast con be made using your own fat and skin tissues.  These  breast reconstruction flaps include a TRAM flap, and DIEP flap to name two.

See      for more information on breast reconstruction options.

Fredrick A. Valauri, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Normal after Implant Recnstruction

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Depending on the type of mastectomy you had, the skin envelope will play a large role in the final shape.  Skin and Nipple sparing mastectomies allow for a much more aesthetically pleasing result than traditional mastectomy.   It is also important to view breast reconstruction as a process and not a procedure.   It is not uncommon to require revision down the road to obtain the optimal shape and size.   I typically wait 6 months to determine the final position of the implant, prior to discussing any revision.  IAll the best in a safe and happy recovery.


Paul S. GIll, M.D.

Gill Plastic Surgery

Houston Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Depends on the devices and the amount of swelling!

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I allow 6 weeks before I consider the swelling to have resolved.  It may take longer as well.Please find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and member of the Aesthetic Society using the Smart Beauty Guide. These Plastic Surgeons can guide you on all aspects of facial surgery, breast augmentation and body procedures including tummy tucks or mommy makeovers!

Recovery After Breast Reduction

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With a breast reconstruction like yours, it may take anywhere between one and three months for the implants to settle or take the shape/look that they will always have. After tissue expanders are exchanged for implants, the soft tissues covering the implants will conform to the new implant shape rather than the previous expander shape. Sometimes there may be little change after surgery, but more often this process takes several weeks to be completed. If you were expanded to 600cc and 650cc implants were placed, the implant pocket is probably fairly tight around the implant and there may not be much change over time. With 650cc, you should actually have a C cup volume, but because the implants are not the natural breast shape, they may not completely fill out a bra cup. To help the implants settle and to help keep the breasts as soft and natural looking as possible, some surgeons recommend some form of implant massage. You should check with your doctor to see if this is recommended in your case and follow whatever he/she recommends.

Max Polo, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 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.