It’s not a quick fix
Breast surgery, whether it be breast augmentation, breast lift, or breast reduction, takes time to heal properly. Your breasts will not be in their ‘best’ form postoperatively. Your surgeon will give you individual guides on how to ensure you have the best outcome.
Why are post-operative compression garments important?
For all breast procedures, your surgeon will advise you to wear compression garments as your outcome will benefit from the support during this initial period. All surgeons have different requirements for wearing these garments. More commonly it will be 6 weeks with a compression garment and then wearing a strong supportive sports bra for a number of months afterward. Your compression garment will do wonderful things for your healing, such as:
- it minimizes swelling
- speeds up the healing process
- improves blood circulation
- flushes the body of potentially harmful fluids
- keep the implants in the correct position
- help the skin fit to its new contours
- and allows you, the patient, to return to your normal daily routines more quickly
In contrast, a regular bra, or no bra at all, can hinder healing and keep the implants from settling appropriately during the first few weeks after surgery. Underwire bras can also irritate the incision site for augmentation if it is in the inframammary fold under the breast.
Massage, massage, massage
Your surgeon will advise you on the correct way to massage your breasts, this can vary according to things such as how they have placed your implants and where your incisions are. Your surgeon will commonly advise you to massage two to three times per day for a few months post-op. It is important you follow your surgeon’s massage instructions properly and don’t just ‘squeeze’ your breasts as the way they have taught you to massage will benefit your breasts.
After surgery, your implants will take time to “settle” into place as the skin relaxes and stretches and your breast 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 the 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 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 the accurate placement of breast implants and also helps prevent “high riding” implants which occur in my opinion more frequently in patients with well-developed musculature that do engage in an active-passive or implant displacement program. Sometimes massaging is necessary for up to 3-6 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.
Breast augmentation for correcting asymmetry
If you have had breast surgery to correct asymmetry (having two different-sized breasts), your aftercare is particularly vital to your outcome as your breasts will heal at vastly different rates. Having no support for this period can result in unwanted outcomes such as your skin not contouring around the implant from your original smaller breast. Most clients with asymmetrical breasts will find that they have a faint ‘line’ from where their smaller breast fold originally sat. This does take time to fade, but can eventually be completely gone if you follow your surgeon’s advice post-op. It would be comparable to the elbow fold everyone has, if you were to move that part of the skin up or down, that line would follow.
Massage is especially important for asymmetry clients who have that ‘line’ from their previous breast crease, as you do not want your body’s natural ‘capsule’ around your breast to form and the line to be much more difficult, or even impossible to fade.