If you’ve spent some time online researching breast augmentation, you’ve probably come across the phrase “drop and fluff” when patients ask about how long it takes for breasts to look normal after augmentation surgery. Drop and fluff is not exactly a clinical term, but it does accurately describe the process of breast implants settling after breast enhancement surgery.
This is an integral part of the recovery process, but it can test the patience of women who get breast implants and are eager to see their final results. In this blog post, I’ll describe what happens during the drop and fluff process, how long it typically takes for your breasts to look natural, and what factors can influence how long the process takes.
Being a Patient Patient
The choice to get breast implants is exciting, and it’s natural to want to see how your new curves look as soon as possible. Immediately after augmentation surgery at our outpatient surgery center, however, your breasts will sit high on the chest and appear very round. Post-operative swelling is one reason for this, as are the changes to the tissue surrounding the implants. Whether a plastic surgeon places implants under or over the chest muscle, both the tissue and overlying skin expand and stretch. Additionally, scar tissue begins forming around the implant.
In the first few months after your surgery, this tissue feels tight and hard even as the swelling gradually resolves. Your breasts will continue to change their position and appearance throughout the drop and fluff process. That’s why breast augmentation patients should wait to spring for expensive bras until their breasts have settled into their final position.
How Long Does It Take Breasts To Drop and Fluff?
Even if you know that your breasts will sit unnaturally high on your chest immediately after surgery, waiting for them to drop can be a bit frustrating. Patients fill online forums such as RealSelf with questions about whether it’s normal for their breasts to still be elevated 3 or more months after their surgeries.
The answer is yes. It can take up to 6 months for breasts to drop and fluff after surgery.
Dropping refers to the implants settling. Fluffing describes the process of the skin expanding and softening as it accommodates the implants. As time passes, the implants appear to settle toward the bottom of the breast area, although the implants don’t really move that much. Your breast implants may appear bigger or fuller once they’ve dropped to a lower, more natural-looking position on your chest and “fluffed” into a rounder and softer shape. Changes in the size or shape of your new breasts after augmentation can also occur as swelling and tightness subside.
Can You Make Your Implants Drop Faster?
How fast breast implants drop and fluff varies from person to person. It depends on how quickly you heal and several other factors. You can help the healing process go as smoothly as possible by closely following the post-op instructions provided by your surgeon.
Recovery instruction guidelines include:
- Avoiding strenuous physical activity until cleared by your plastic surgeon
- Wearing a support bra as much as possible for 4 to 8 weeks
- Taking proper care of incisions
- Avoiding tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption
- Attending scheduled follow-up appointments
Factors that can influence the rate at which your implants drop and fluff include:
Size of implants: Larger implants typically take longer to drop because the skin needs to stretch more.
Your natural breast size: Small-framed women with little breast tissue before augmentation typically have tighter skin, making it more difficult for implants to drop.
Placement of the implants: Implants placed under the muscle take longer to drop because they have to push against the muscle and require both tissue and muscle to stretch.
Don’t Expect Your Breasts To Be Identical
As implants settle into place, you may notice some asymmetry during the drop and fluff process. That’s normal because the breasts often progress at different rates. Not only may the size of your breasts appear slightly different during the healing process, but breasts also often remain asymmetrical. This difference will probably be noticeable only to you. If it’s more significant, you should contact your plastic surgeon.
Your Choice of Surgeon Matters
Getting gorgeous breast augmentation results starts with the choice of a plastic surgeon. It’s important to select an experienced, board-certified surgeon who works with you to create the results you want. You can see the type of results Dr. Vartany achieves in our gallery of breast augmentation before-and-after photos featuring his actual patients.