After you have a breast augmentation, at first the breasts will appear very full. But, as the muscles and skin relax and stretch to accommodate the implants, they will begin to “settle” nicely. During this initial period, your body will develop a capsule around the implants, which is a natural immune response.
Your immune system is responding to the implants in your chest because they are foreign, non-living materials. What happens is, the body builds a “capsule,” which surrounds each of the implants. These capsules are made up of scar tissue or collagen fibers and form over a period of about three weeks.
Sometimes, the capsule will tighten and when this occurs, it’s called “capsular contracture.” As the collagen fibers build up, they can shrink and tighten around the implants. In effect, as the implant is squeezed, it can feel hard and be painful.
To help prevent capsular contracture, plastic surgeons usually recommend that patients perform daily breast massages for the first few months following the breast augmentation. While there are key benefits to daily breast massages, they do not entirely prevent capsular contracture from occurring. However, if it does develop, breast massage can help reverse the hardening.
Using the Proper Techniques
We recommend talking to your surgeon about when you should start massaging your breasts after surgery based on your implants and particular needs. Most practitioners advise patients to begin daily massages around the first or second week after surgery.
Make sure you don’t perform just any massage; there is definitely a safe, beneficial way that will help your breasts heal. Your doctor and staff can show you and explain how to properly massage your breasts after surgery. Also, it’s not uncommon for one breast to soften and settle before the other, so don’t let this worry you if it happens.