Should The Breasts Be Massaged After Breast Implant Surgery?

Doctor Answers 49

Implant displacement exercises help settle implants under the muscle

All breast augmentations that I perform are subpectoral (under the muscle). After surgery, patients look excessively full at the top of their breasts because the muscle tightens after surgery, and the implants take time to "settle" into place as the skin relaxes and stretches and the muscle also stretches to accommodate the added volume to the chest. The body forms a "capsule" around the implants which is a thin layer around implant (which is a process the body does to any foreign object that is not living tissue) and that takes about 3 weeks to form.

The purpose of the massaging or implant displacement exercises which I commmence usually 1 to 3 days after surgery is to get the implant moving to some degree as the capsule is forming. This in term helps prevent capsular contraction and actually aids in accurate placement of breast implants and also heps prevent "high riding" implants which occur in my opinion more frequently in patients with well developed musculature that do engage in an active massive or implant displacement program. Sometimes massaging is necessary for up to 3 months. Some implants fall fast as soon as 3 weeks, others can take a bit more time and up to 3 months. It is usual for one implant to "drop" and soften before the other.

I hope this helps!

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast Implant Massage or Displacement Exercises are Very Important

Of course ask your doctor. However in my practice I begin massage of the Breast Implant, called Breast Implant Displacement Exercises, as soon as possible after surgery.

Massage helps the implant settle into a natural looking position.

Even more important, in my opinion, is that Breast Displacement Exercises stretch the normal capsule that surrounds the Implant and keeps the pocket for the Implant large and roomy. This helps prevent capsular contraction and firmness of the Breast Implant.

Very important to massage breasts after surgery

Several measures can be taken to prevent capsular contracture. First is by the surgeon who will create a pocket slightly larger than the implant under the muscle. This allows room for a thin layer of scar tissue to form (which is a natural part of the healing process).

After surgery, breast implant massage is one of the best ways to prevent capsular contracture and keep the breasts soft. By squeezing the breasts in different directions, the implant moves around in the pocket, preventing too much scar tissue from forming.

It is typically recommended to start massaging about one week after breast augmentation. Your surgeon will let you know if it is alright to start massaging and will demonstrate how you should massage the breasts during your post-op appointment. To keep breasts soft, it is recommended to continue massaging even after the breasts have healed completely.

Tarick K. Smiley, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Massaging breast implants after surgery

Breast augmentation involves creating a pocket, either over or below the chest muscle. After your surgery, your body will try to absorb the impalnt, since it is a foreign material. Since it cannot, with time, your body will form a thin "shell" around the implant, essentially ignoring it. This happens with ALL foreign materials and is a normal process. Implant massage after breast surgery is important to maintain the pocket open, until the body has formed the shell around the implant. This typically takes 3 months. If massage is not performed religiously (especially during the first three months), there is a higher chance of the pocket tightening, causing the implant to look and feel unattractive.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast Implant Massage is a MUST

I ask all of my breast augmentation clients to begin implant massage 36 hours after surgery. Although there is very little science behind this, anecdotal experience shows me that my patients who do not massage their implants tend to have a higher risk for high-riding implants and capsular contracture.

In addition, I have all of my patients wear a breast band for 4 weeks after their surgery to encourage implant settling. As for duration of the implant massage, it instruct them to perform massage at least 10 times per day until their implants have completely settled. For some patients, that may be a week...for others, it may take several months. Whatever the time frame, massage is a simple, straightforward way to help assure optimal results following breast augmentation.

I hope that helps!

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Yes and No

Implant massage is necessary for smooth implants to help reduce capsule formation.  It the implants are sub-muscular, usual daily use of your arms and muscle contraction will "massage" or stretch the implants with less need for regular massage.  Textured implants do not require massage unless they start to get tight and show signs of encapsulation, which is less frequent than smooth implants.  Sientra implants report a 2% capsule rate for new textured implants.

Christopher J. Kovanda, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Massaging breasts after implant surgery is debatable

There is debate about this among plastic surgeons. In general, it might help for the reasons given by the other doctors. So basically it cannot hurt and might help. That being said, I do not advise massage for patients with anatomic/tear drop implants. We want the tissues to firmly adhere to the surface of the implant, locking it into the correct orientation, and massage might disrupt this. Hope this helps.

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Breast massage after augmentation is helpful

I have found that self-breast massage is beneficial after breast augmentation because:

1) Massaging your implants will help to counteract scar formation, keeping breast capsules softer.

2) Massaging your implants will help to facilitate descent of the implant after surgery; particularly when placed below the pectoralis muscle.

3) Massaging your implants will force you as a patient to become familiar with the size, shape and consistency of your breasts after augmentation. This is extremely important so that you, as a patient, will be immediately aware of any change that may occur with your breasts (i.e. such as capsular contracture).

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

You should massage the breasts after breast augmentation

The idea behind it is to keep the pocket of the implant slightly larger then the implant to help minimize capsular contracture. Most of our patients are encouraged to start massaging the breast 1-2 weeks after surgery and to massage toward the superior aspect to keep that part of the pocket larger.

William J. Hedden, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 315 reviews

Massaging your breast implants

Opinion regarding implant massage varies. I begin having my patients move the implants around in the pocket on the day after surgery. I make the pocket larger than the implant, and use this massage technique to have the implant push on the sides of the pocket (particularly in the upper pocket) in order to prevent the capsule from contracting around the implant.

Adam David Lowenstein, MD, FACS
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 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.