Wonder what happens after breast augmentation? How soon will you look ‘normal’? In this article Dr Moncrieff explains the ‘drop and fluff’ process and why it happens.
While the focus is breast augmentation, a similar but less dramatic process happens with breast reductions and lifts too.
What do women look like straight after breast augmentation?
This is a summary of the normal reaction from breast augmentation patients:
Day 1 – wow, I got through surgery and have breasts at last. I love it! (this is partly the anaesthetic still talking)
Day 3 – oh no, I’m so swollen and uncomfortable.
Week 1 – I’m worried! Don’t you think they look small, square and flat?
Week 6 - oh.. I think I’m liking what I’m seeing!
Week 12 – oh this more like what I was expecting!
So what’s happening soon after surgery?
The first few days are sometimes called the “Frankenboob” stage! At this point the swelling is often significant, resulting in the breast implant sitting very high… sometimes almost up to the collar bone.
But ironically, despite all the swelling, the breasts can look “smaller” than expected because the breast skin and tissue, along with the pec muscle, puts pressure on the implant, effectively holding it in. This results in a flatter, squarer breasts in the first few weeks.
It is very common for patients to feel anxious about their results at this stage – but it is completely normal.
I’ve had many patients in those early days say “oh no, I’ve not gone big enough”, but come their 6 week post operative appointment when most are ready for normal bras again, they say that are the correct size! And it actually gets even better from then in the months ahead.
The real examples from Dr Moncrieff’s patients below show this process over the weeks post surgery.
How long does it take to settle down?
The initial swelling takes 1-2 weeks to settle down but it can take months for breasts to fully settle – that’s why we urge women not to rush those early lingerie purchases as sizing will change.
The implant has been inserted into a tight pocket in the breast, but it is not yet “locked” into position. That happens in the weeks and months ahead as gravity helps it fills out the lower curve of the breast. This ‘drop and fluff’ process takes around 3-6 months.
The final result is then more ‘locked’ into place as the combination of the tight pocket, the muscle, internal sutures and the capsule that your body will form around the implant, will all serve to support the final result (along with your commitment to short and longer term maintenance – more on this later).
This is why we say we can’t comment on the size, shape or symmetry for at least 3 months (and up to 6 months depending on healing progress) and would not consider revising any result for 12 months.
Does ‘drop and fluff’ happen in reduction and lift patients too?
Yes, but to a lesser extent. It is very common to see these patients with lots of volume at the top of the breast initially. Sometimes they love that as they feel they are lifted but with more “upper pole fullness” than they expected. I’ve even had patients say they feel like they have implants in!
However, as the swelling subsides, that appearance does subside as without the addition of an implant, it is difficult to maintain those upper pole curves.
What about the scars?
The scars from breast surgery take 12 -24 months to fully heal then settle down and fade. Our Nurse Alecia’s article here goes into more detail about taking care of surgical wounds and scar management tips.
Other blogs you might find useful during recovery:
- For some breast augmentation patients, Dr Moncrieff will have recommended a stabiliser which you will be provided after surgery. Click here for more information about stabiliser band/garment.
- Why we don't offer 'massive' breast augmentations - including the short and long term risks of going too big.
- Should I wear a bra after breast surgery?
Dr Nicholas Moncrieff, Specialist Plastic Surgeon
About Dr Moncrieff
Dr Moncrieff focuses exclusively on breast reductions, breast lifts, breast augmentation, tummy tucks and body lifts.
He is one of only a handful of Cosmetic Plastic Surgeons across Australia with this sole breast and body focus.
Dr Moncrieff has performed thousands of surgical procedures over more than two decades in medicine. Over 20,000 of these procedures have been in Newcastle.
Learn more information about Dr Moncrieff is available here.