Breast augmentation surgery can be very exciting. Our patients tend to report feeling extremely satisfied with their decision to enhance the size and shape of their breasts. At the same time, there is a bit of a lag between surgery day and the final outcome of breast augmentation. You may have heard the term “settle” used to describe part of the recovery from this procedure. Here, we discuss it in more detail.
How Breast Implants Settle
When patients first see their breasts after their augmentation procedure, they notice that their new look is not only larger but also that their breasts are quite high on the chest. The upper pole, or upper region, of the breast looks fuller than it should. High-sitting breasts are particularly common for women who have had submuscular implant placement. This appearance occurs because the breasts have not yet settled. Implants are sitting behind muscles that are tight and that are pressing them upwards, creating a rounder look.
As part of the healing process, the muscles adjust to the presence of the implants. Gradually, the muscles loosen and, as this happens, the pressure on the implants lessens. The implants can then drop into a more natural position. This may be referred to as “dropping and fluffing” as well as settling. This term, dropping and fluffing, describes the descent of implants into a natural pocket and the “fluff,” or spread of volume out across the lower breast. Ultimately, settling results in the feminine curvature the patient envisioned before surgery.
How and When Does Settling Occur?
Settling may occur at different rates for various patients. One of the primary factors that influences the rate of settling is the placement of the breast implants. Implants with submuscular placement typically take longer to settle than those placed sub-glandularly, or in front of the pectoral muscles. Implant type can also contribute to this aspect of recovery. A common but relatively unexpected part of the settling process is that one breast often drops and fluffs faster than the other. The asymmetry is only temporary and, in time, the patient will have the final outcome they had anticipated all along.