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How long does it take for breast implants to “drop”?

How long does it take for breast implants to “drop”?

Breast implants Charlotte

After a breast augmentation, most patients are looking forward to seeing their results right away. Although you will certainly have larger breasts immediately after your procedure, the truth is that your final results won’t be visible right away. It takes a bit of time for your body to recover from your procedure and for your final results to appear.

One of the concerns some patients have is that the implants are too high after their surgery. This is very normal, and it will not last. The implants will “drop” into their final positions over time. Why are the implants high at first? When will they drop?

Immediately after surgery

Many patients have their implants placed under the pectoral muscles (the large flat muscles of the chest). This position is preferred for most patients, because the muscle tissue adds an extra layer of coverage over the implant, helping to soften its edges and disguise any rippling. This creates a more natural result.

However, when the implants are placed below the muscle, this generates a lot of stretch on the muscle. In addition, part of the muscle will be separated from its attachments to the sternum (the breast bone). At first, the muscles will still be tight. They will tend to push the implants upward, so that they sit in a higher position on the chest wall.

Even when implants are placed above the muscle, the other tissues surrounding the implant will be tight at first and will tend to keep the implants up too high. In addition, there is a significant amount of swelling as the body heals from surgery, and this can contribute to keeping the implants up higher on the chest at first.

The process of implant dropping

Slowly, over a period of time, the muscles and other tissues will begin to relax into their new shape. This will allow the implants to drop down into their final positions. For patients who have had their implants placed submuscularly (below the muscle), it generally takes about six months for implants to fully drop. In some women, it can take up to a year.

For women who have had a subglandular augmentation (above the muscle instead of below), the implants tend to drop more quickly. The process may be closer to three months for these patients. Again, however, changes in the implants’ position may occur for up to a year after the surgery.

Certain factors may influence how quickly your implants drop. Women who work out more tend to find that their implants take longer to drop. This is because the stronger and thicker chest muscles put more pressure on the implants, and it takes longer for the muscle to stretch and relax into its new shape. Women who have breastfed children may find that their implants drop faster if they’re placed above the muscle, since the skin and other tissues have already stretched while they were nursing. However, the pectoral muscle has never stretched, and so previous breastfeeding won’t help submuscular implants to drop more quickly.

The process of implant fluffing

In the early period, pressure on the implants from the muscles and other tissues tends to compress the implants, which makes them look smaller. During their first postop appointments, some of our patients express concern that their implants are too small, and they wish that they had gone larger.

However, as the compression is relieved and the implants drop down, the breasts will also tend to appear larger. This is known as “fluffing.” Even if they thought that their implants were too small at first, many patients find that they are very satisfied with the size of their implants after the dropping and fluffing process is complete.

Breast implants Charlotte

It’s important to be patient as you heal from your breast augmentation. You will not be able to see your final results for at least a few months after surgery. As the swelling goes down and the tissues relax, you’ll find that the implants look better and better each day.

If you’re dissatisfied with the size of your breasts and have been considering breast augmentation, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr. Miles. As a double board certified plastic surgeon, he has the knowledge and experience to get the best possible results for you. He will let you know what to expect every step of the way. Please contact our office to schedule your appointment.

Dr. Erik J. Miles
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