Life After Breast Implant Surgery: Maintenance Matters
Your new breasts are a part of you, and as such, may need a little TLC from time to time. Here are some maintenance tips for keeping your new breasts in tip-top shape.
Massage and Compression Exercises
Some breast augmentation surgeons may recommend that you perform breast implant massage or compression exercises. In general, these exercises involve pushing the implant to the outermost corners of the pocket several times in succession. You move the implant up, down, to the right, and to the left. Hold your implant in each position for a few seconds. These exercises may help decrease your risk of developing capsular contracture (scar tissue around the implant). You may be asked to start the exercises about a week after your breast augmentation. Ask your surgeon for specific recommendations and a tutorial on massage and compression after breast augmentation.
Protecting Your Breast Health
Mammograms (breast X-rays) and breast examinations are an important part of your breast implant maintenance program.
The recommended screening guidelines for women who have had breast augmentation with breast implants solely for cosmetic reasons are the same as those for women who do not have breast implants. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam by a health professional every three years. After age 40, women should have a clinical breast exam every year.
Some groups also encourage a monthly breast self-exam. In addition, the American Cancer Society states that women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are healthy. By contrast, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women get a mammogram every two years starting at age 50. These recommendations are only for women who are at average risk for breast cancer. Women at high risk for breast cancer should begin getting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams and mammograms starting at age 30. For more specific information on breast cancer detection and your implants, read our in-depth report on mammograms.
Premedication for Dental Work
Some breast augmentation surgeons and dentists recommend that women with breast implants premedicate with antibiotics before they have any dental work done. This is because plaque and bacteria that are normally found in your gums can be released into your blood stream where they can cause infection. Any foreign body, including a breast implant, can be a target. Discuss your risks and how to protect yourself with both your breast surgeon and your dentist.
Bra Shopping Savvy
Wearing a good, supportive bra with breast implants is imperative. This will help prevent sagging.
Check out our section on post-breast-augmentation bra shopping for more tips on how to find the perfect bra for your new breasts.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that women who have silicone-gel-filled implants have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) done three years after their breast augmentation and every two years after that. A silicone breast implant can leak without symptoms. If a saline-filled implant ruptures, it is immediately obvious, because the implant deflates.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your breast augmentation scars, your surgeon may be able to recommend a treatment to help minimize their appearance. Find out what is new in breast augmentation scar treatment by visiting our page devoted to this subject.
Ask your surgeon how you can best protect yourself and your new breasts after your breast augmentation surgery.