How Do You Massage Breasts After Breast Augmentation?

I'd like to understand the proper massage technique for breast implants.

Doctor Answers 212

I don't think massaging breasts does any good.

Hi! I think surgical areas heal best at rest. We put patients in an elastic brassiere right after surgery, and tell them to keep their arms quiet and to sleep on their back for at least a week.

The results of breast augmentation are determined by how the surgery is done. If the breasts don't look right, massage is not going to fix that. If you are going to get a capsular contracture (2 to 5 % risk), massage is not going to prevent that.

Massage may not do any harm, but I object to it psychologically, because it makes the patient feel responsible for potential problems that are completely out of her control.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

To Massage or Not to Massage; That is the Question

Many of the other responders have mentioned that breast massaging is a controversial subject. I see no controversy; it is a total waste of your time. Breast massaging was invented back in the early 1960s when we knew very little about capsular contractions, their etiology, and their possible treatments. When I was at Stanford, I did a casual survey of women who massage their breasts and women who didn’t have the time to massage their breasts. I found that capsular contracture occurs in those who massage and those who don’t. Therefore, I believe this is the wrong modality to increase the chances of a soft breast.

Since the formation of a capsule around an implant is an immune phenomenon, the treatment of choice is to modulate the immune response biochemically and not mechanically. In 2003, Schlesinger et al, described the use of Accolate or Singulair to treat capsular contractures. Today, I give Accolate aka Zafirlukast immediately post-operatively to all my patients and I find it works very nicely to prevent capsular contractures.

Massage is the wrong term--Implant movement exercises help keep the surgical pocket bigger than the implant.

As seen in the replies, some plastic surgeons feel that breast "massage" is not necessary, but most experienced breast surgeons feel that implant movement exercises help to keep the submuscular pocket created to enclose the implant larger than the implant, reducing the likelihood of capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is tightening of the scar capsule around the implant, making the breast(s) feel firm.
BTW, this answer assumes smooth implants (saline or silicone), since textured implants, like the teardrop "anatomic" or the "gummy bear" implants, are designed to adhere to the tissues and NOT move. This is because shaped implants rely on being in a specific position to look "normal" or "anatomic" and would look silly if upside down, for example!


However, the scar capsule around your implant(s) can thicken or tighten (caused usually by bleeding or bacteria), making your breasts firm or unnaturally-shaped. Careful surgery, in my opinion, is important to avoid bleeding or bacterial contamination that can lead to excessive capsule formation (capsular contracture), and keeping the surgical pocket mechanically open with careful implant movement exercises can reduce both the incidence and severity of capsular contracture, should it occur.

I have my patients begin gentle implant movement exercises every three hours (when they take their muscle relaxant) while awake, simply pressing on the lower pole of the breast to force the implant to slide upwards in the already-created pocket. I have patients go braless until the implants have dropped into position, after which a bra is worn to reduce the rate of further drop or bottoming out. At the point where bras are being worn regularly and for most of each day (with constant pressure being exerted by the bra inwards), I ask patients to add outward displacement exercises to reduce medial (towards the middle) implant translocation and potential development of symmastia (uni-boob).

I believe implants should be moved in their pocket until complete healing has occurred (several months), and after a few weeks, can be done while showering or through clothing in the restroom, making it easy to continue for as long as needed for the best and softest results. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 250 reviews

Breast massage after implant augmentation

It is not so much that you massage the breast. The real intention is to perform breast implant displacement excercises to maintain the implant pocket that was created during surgery to maintain a soft and supple breast appearance.

The implant is generally pushed/massaged up, down, inwards and outwards to keep the capsule from contracting down around the implant. It is also fetl that this may lessen the potential for capsular contracture. Generally, these are performed more aggressively during the first month after surgery.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Should I massage my breasts after breast implant surgery? Ask Dr Ellen

Hello zzg,

I'm a big advocate for massaging the breasts, starting on post op day 1.  I instruct my patients before the surgery and begin the massaging when I see them in the office the day after the surgery.  I recommend 3x per day and here is why:

1.  helps reduce the swelling

2.  helps reduce the muscle and skin tightness

3.  helps maintain the "pocket " dimensions, reduce scar tissue in pocket

3.  helps expand the lower pole of the breast and contributes to shape

4.  reduces the skin  itchiness...use a moisturizer on your skin!

5.  ultimately blends in the incision and any tethering that may be associated with it 

It can be a little uncomfortable when you begin but quickly makes everything feel better and hastens the recovery.  I recommend that you have someone help you with this the first time so that you know how much pressure to apply and are reassured that you are not causing any harm.

Thanks for asking!  Dr Ellen

Ellen A. Mahony, MD
Westport Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Massaging your implants

Massaging your breast implants consists of just moving that implant around inside so that the capsule that eventually forms is slightly larger than your implant and so the breasts can feel soft and natural.  You should gently move the implants up, down, and side to side using your hands to apply gentle pressure around the breasts.  You should consult your doctor before you do and ask for their advice on whether massaging is right for you.

Richard H. Lee, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Massaging after breast augmentation

while it is good to do extensive massage after subglandular breast augmentation, if you implants are under the muscle then you do'nt want to massage them vigerously. too much massage can make your breast impant displace, and for you to develope breast asymmetry.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

How to massage after breast augmentation

This is a perfect example of "ask ten surgeons" get ten differnet answers! There are more than one way to skin a cat, and same applies to getting great results from a surgical procedure. The important thing here is to do what YOUR surgeon tells you, because one surgeons instructions may not only not work, but be detrimental for another surgeon's patient.

When I perform breast augmentation surgery using the "One Day Recovery: technique, I make the pocket to fit the implant. I haven't asked or required my patients to massage their breasts after surgery in as long as I can remember. And my capsule contracture rate is well under 1% at five years.

Mark D. Epstein, MD
Stony Brook Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 237 reviews

Breast implant massage

The idea behind breast implant massage is not to massage the skin but to push the implant in all directions to displace it.  This way the space in which the implant sits doesn't become tight (or at least we think that this massage prevents it from tightening up).  Capsular contracture is when the pocket becomes too tight and it squeezes the implant, compressing it from it's normal shape into a ball, and it can become painful.  When this happens, you may need surgery.  Thus to avoid capsular contracture, patients are asked to massage their breasts

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 449 reviews

Massage after breast implant surgery (VIDEO)

Massage, or  implant displacement, after breast augmentation is controversial.  I ask patients to do it for the first 6-8 weeks after surgery starting at 3 weeks.  See below for a VIDEO demonstration.  The idea is to move the implant in a manner that keeps the pocket a little larger than the implant to prevent capsular contracture.  

  • This is contraindicated for textured implants. 
  • This may be redundant for submuscular implants (the implants move a little with movement of the arms)
  • No studies have demonstrated its value in preventing contracture
  • One value may be having the patient focus on the softness of their implants so that any changes are diagnosed early

York J. Yates MD - Layton, Utah.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 169 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.