Breast Implant Massage - Is it Necessary?

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A feared complication after breast augmentation is capsular contracture. A number of factors are thought to contribute to the development of capsular contracture. Breast implant massage and displacement is recommended by almost all plastic surgeons after breast augmentation to decrease the risk of capsular contracture. There is actually little evidence that breast implant massage actually prevents capsular contracture. Despite the lack of evidence, many plastic surgeons, including the author, recommend breast implant massage.

Generally breast implant displacement exercises, or massage, is recommended only when smooth surfaced implants are used. Smooth breast implants are designed to move naturally in the implant pocket. A breast implant pocket larger than the implant itself helps achieve a soft feel to the breast. Textured breast implants are designed to "grow in" to the implant capsule. Massage of the breast implant is unnecessary for textured implants. In fact, aggressive massage can disrupt the soft tissue adherence to the implant.

In addition to textured implants, there are other times where breast implant massage can be harmful. Over-aggressive massage can actually displace the implant (usually laterally to the side of the breast), particularly when begun too early. Some patients fear implant injury with aggressive massage. This is not possible, unless there is a problem with the implant otherwise. Breast implants are very resistant to stretch and blunt trauma.

There is controversy whether there is any advantage to massage of submuscular breast implants. In the submuscular pocket there is movement of the implant throughout the day and implant displacement may be unnecessary. In the subglandular position, massage may be more valuable for this reason. Likewise, the risk of capsule hardening is higher when the implant is placed submuscularly.

How do I massage my breast implants?

There are no specific rules to the amount of time that should be spent doing breast implant massage or the most effective technique. Dr. Yates, the author and a Utah plastic surgeon, has his patient displace the implants in all directions 1-2 times per day for a minute or two. The implant is moved within the implant pocket, the breast tissue is not displaced over the implant. The patient can do this standing or lying, in or out of a bra. Dr. Yates explains to the patient that the idea of the procedure is simply to "keep the implant pocket a little larger than the implant".


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Dr. York Yates is a board certified breast augmentation plastic surgeon in Utah. Provides online and in-office opinions about plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Visit www.yorkyates.com for additional information about Dr. Yates and the services he provides.
Reproduction allowed only with inclusion of author information.

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