Settling of Breast Implants

Like any other plastic surgery procedure, there is a healing period for breast augmentation. It takes time for the final result to become apparent as swelling goes doen and the breast implants settle into the implant pocket. In this post, we review the timeline for settling of breast implants, and how patients can encourage their implants to settle into place.

Timeline for Breast Implant Settling

It generally takes breast implants a total of three to six months to settle completely. In some patients, it takes as long as a year for their implants to settle into their final position. It all depends on the age of the patient and the size and shape of the implants they have chosen. Larger implants may take longer to settle in petite patients. If the implants are placed under the muscle, which they most often are, it may take longer for them to settle.

The initial swelling will lessen quite noticeably in the first four to eight weeks. During recovery time, the breasts sit a bit higher and feel a bit firmer than they will in the future. This is largely because of the swelling involved in surgery. The breast, connective, and muscle tissues of the chest are stretching around the new implants. After about three or four months, the swelling will be gone and the tissues will have adjusted and will look and feel much softer and more natural.

Be aware that one breast may descend before the other, which is perfectly okay so long as the other catches up. If they do not both begin to descend after several months you may schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon about the possibility of breast implant revision.

Tips to Help Breast Implants Settle

Here are some tips that patients can follow to encourage breast implants to settle:

  • Breast massage: Gentle massage can be beneficial. Massage may also reduce the risk of capsular contracture. Do not squeeze the implant too tightly or it could cause bruising, capsular contracture, prolonged swelling, or rupture and deflation of the implant.
  • Ice: Icing the area can reduce swelling and hardness. During your initial recovery, you should ice the area for 15 minutes of every waking hour.
  • Compression: Wrapping the breasts in an ace bandage or wearing a sports bra over the top of the breasts can force them down into the breast pocket. Implant settling bras are also available.
  • Sleeping position: There are reports that sleeping on the stomach has helped encourage the implants to fall into place.
  • Exercise after initial recovery: Swimming, light stretching, and gentle upper body strength training is recommended.
  • Medication: After three to four weeks, most patients may resume use of NSAID pain relievers to reduce swelling and any minor aches and pains. Be careful not to overuse NSAID pain relievers or injure yourself while taking them, as they can cause people to bruise and bleed. As always, consult your doctor before making any changes to medications or regular supplements.
  • Healthy diet: Drink plenty of water and avoid processed foods with excess sodium. Consuming too much salt causes water retention and swelling.

If one breast descends before the other, focus attention on the breast implant that has not descended.

To schedule a breast augmentation consultation, contact Marin Aesthetics.

About the Author:

Dr. Vince Marin is a San Diego board-certified plastic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. If you wish to contact Dr. Marin, write to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter!