For patients who have opted for breast implants, there is a phrase which may seem foreign to them. “Drop and Fluff” does not relate to pillows before bed, but rather a recovery process each woman should know before having breast augmentation surgery. Too often, women are anxious once the bandages are removed, and the swelling subsides. Then they see their breasts do not match the image of what they had in mind before surgery. They ask, “why are my breasts too small and ride too high?”
The best response is, “don’t panic and be patient; it’s completely normal because the process is not over.”
The reason implants sit high and appear small is because they have yet to relax and settle. Breast augmentation recovery is not an instant makeover, but a journey and your implants haven’t reached their final destination. They must “drop and fluff.”
What Does That Mean?
Well, drop means just what it implies, your implants must fall into a lower position. This dropping is true for saline or silicone, round or teardrop. Breast tissue will compress the implants and keep them high and flat. Once your breast tissue conforms to your implant size and shape, gravity will take hold, and your implants will begin to descend and expand.
And the Fluff?
When your breast tissue relaxes, your implants will begin to settle into their proper place and take on their intended shape. They will expand into the bigger, fuller breasts you sought at the beginning of the process.
Can the Process Be Accelerated?
Sorry, but the answer may be a bit vague. Although medication and massage may speed up the drop and fluff process, most of what determines how soon you see your results depend on variable influences. These include implant placement (sub-muscular or sub-glandular), texture, shape, and type.
For example, round-shaped implants will take longer to settle, as does a sub-muscular placement. Women who are athletic with developed muscles will also experience a longer period because the muscle is less pliable.
Drop and Fluff Timeline
The drop and fluff timeline most patients can expect during their breast augmentation recovery is as follows:
The First Week
After the first week, you will experience substantial soreness in your chest. It will feel tight especially while breathing deeply with discomfort on your upper abdomen. Pain meds will be prescribed to manage the pain and discomfort.
Bruising and swelling around the implants is normal, and the implant contour is less defined until the swelling decreases. You may also experience bruising and swelling high on your abdomen.
Weeks Two to Six
Most bruising and swelling will subside after two weeks, and the breast tissue will start to relax. Your implants should drop gradually for six weeks while filling in the lower breast.
Your implants should begin to find their proper position after three months. Although recovery is not over, your results should become apparent and pleasing. The incisions will begin to fade in the following months.
After your recovery is complete, your breasts should appear natural, with an upward curve of the nipple and a teardrop breast shape. Your implants will settle into their proper position projecting a youthful, firm, and larger breast contour. Incisions will fade to pink, then become close to a normal skin tone.
When do breast implants start to feel normal?
A perfectly understandable question we often receive from our Houston breast augmentation patients is how soon their new breasts will feel natural. For the first few weeks, your skin and chest muscles may feel tight as they accommodate the implants. Most women start to forget they have implants a month or two after they have fully healed and the implants have had a chance to settle.
How you feel after breast augmentation surgery depends on various factors. Silicone implants tend to be softer than saline and the most like natural breast tissue from the beginning. While saline implants don’t necessarily feel unnatural, they may take longer to get used to compared to silicone.
Do breast implants look better over time?
Immediately after getting a breast augmentation, your body will initiate a healing response that causes swelling. In this initial phase, your breasts will look higher and feel tighter than usual – especially if you chose to have your implants placed under your chest muscles.
Over time, as swelling resolves and tissues loosen, your implants will settle into a lower, more aesthetically pleasing position. They will appear rounder and softer and may look larger and closer together.
Patients considering breast augmentation need to have realistic expectations surrounding their long-term results and understand that implants are not lifelong devices. Most breast augmentation recipients will require some form of breast implant revision or replacement surgery at least once after their initial procedure. However, many women enjoy their results for decades before a secondary procedure becomes necessary.
Drop & Fluff Before & After Photos
Do breast implants look smaller before they drop?
Initially, your enhanced breasts may appear smaller than you expected. However, your skin will gradually stretch to accommodate your implants and they will settle into a more natural-looking position, which will also cause a size increase.
How long should I sleep elevated after breast augmentation?
Sleeping elevated and on your back will keep your breasts in the best possible position while healing. Dr. Livingston recommends his breast augmentation patients sleep on their backs for at least eight to 12 weeks after surgery.
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Christopher Livingston, MD
“The most important part of plastic surgery is achieving a youthful, refreshed look, with minimal downtime.”
Board-Certified Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon
Chris Livingston, MD