When can I start massaging my breasts after a Breast Augmentation?

I had breast augmentation surgery 4 days ago - 350cc silicone implants placed under the muscle. My breasts look very unnatural now, feel very stiff and are high on my chest. I can tolerate the pain of massaging them, but I don’t want to do some damage. Does anyone know when is the best time to start massaging them? Maybe it will help my implants settle and feel less sore. My next appointment is in 4 weeks, and I don’t want to wait this long to find out if I should do it or not. Thanks!

missbrown

F, 27, New Jersey

Depending on your doctor, you may hear different things. Some doctors say it's best to massage your breasts two days after surgery, while others want patients to wait at least 2 weeks before massaging their breasts. It typically takes around 6 weeks for the capsule to form around your implant, stabilizing the positioning of it. During this time, you'll want to massage your breasts to prevent your implants from moving to the wrong side, prevent them from rising up, loosening constricted regions and helping prevent capsular contraction around your implants. 

 

 

 

Patients are usually encouraged to wait until their first follow-up visit with their surgeon before they begin massaging their breasts. There are several reasons for this:

  • Their plastic surgeon can check the incisions to ensure they have sufficiently healed.
  • Massaging fresh incisions can place tension on them, aggravating the wound and delaying healing.
  • Premature massage of the breast implants can increase postoperative complications such as the risk of bleeding, which is the leading cause of capsular contracture and scar tissue around the breast.
  • Massage can also exacerbate postoperative soreness, meaning the patient may need increased pain medication or to stay on pain medication for longer. Ideally, it is advisable to get off pain relief as quickly as possible.

If you aren't going to see your surgeon for another four weeks, I would recommend that you call your plastic surgeon or schedule another appointment. Your surgeon should give you personalized medical advice about when to safely start massaging your new breasts.

Maintaining a daily massage regime once your breasts are sufficiently healed is essential to alleviating any discomfort or stiffness in your chest by stretching and relaxing the pectoral muscles. The sooner you begin the massage regime, the sooner you can help encourage any adjustments to the position and contour of your breasts.

Some surgeons advise their patients to engage in short bursts of massage up to three times a day for the first few months after surgery, or until your breasts feel softer and have descended to a natural position on your chest. There are different massage techniques that can be used, and your surgeon will advise you about the ones that are most appropriate for you. Looking in a mirror when massaging your breasts can be helpful as you can check the position of your breasts as you massage them.

In addition, regular breast massage helps your implants to settle sooner rather than later. Implants which are inserted below the chest muscle are initially forced to sit in a higher position on the chest due to the natural tension of the muscle which needs to stretch to accommodate the new implant.

Both gravity and the expanding force of the implant will help the muscle to stretch out, but manipulation of the implants through gentle massage can help to accelerate this process. Interestingly, you may note that one side takes longer to descend than the other. Depending on whether you are left- or right-handed, you are likely to favor one side of your body more. If you are right-handed, it is normal that the right breast might take a little longer to descend.

Dr. Kimberly Henry has 4 Breast augmentation before & afters:

Breast augmentation before image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryBreast augmentation after image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryBreast augmentation before image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryBreast augmentation after image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryBreast augmentation before image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryBreast augmentation after image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryBreast augmentation before image performed by Dr. Kimberly HenryBreast augmentation after image performed by Dr. Kimberly Henry

» View Dr. Kimberly Henry's full profile

It is important to follow your surgeon's after care instructions, and I hope that you feel comfortable enough to call the office and speak with a nurse. You will feel uncomfortable for the first week. You had a significant increase in breast size, and your skin will feel tight, and your muscles will be stiff and sore for several weeks. But, it will get better each day. Do not massage your breasts. The implants will settle. The breast tissue is inflamed and swollen at this time, as can be expected. 

After I got my sub-muscular, saline implants, I know I was told to wait quite a while after surgery to begin massaging them. Have you tried giving your doctor a call to see what he or she has to say about it? I have noticed that some doctors urge patients to wait 2-4 weeks to begin massage to prevent aggravation of the incision areas and prevent additional breast swelling that massage can cause. However, I have heard of some doctors advising women to begin massaging as early a week after surgery. To stay on the safe side, I would give your doctor a call. Leave a message with the receptionist and have them call you back with the answer.