The term “drop and fluff” is frequently heard amongst breast augmentation patients and on breast implant chat sites. This refers to the process breasts undergo in the first few months after augmentation surgery. While this term may sound humorous, it is actually a pretty good description of the process.
Immediately after getting breast implants at my Phoenix-area practice, my patients experience an inflammatory process that causes swelling of the tissues combined with tightening of the chest muscles. This can cause a tight appearance to the breasts, including a “humpy” appearance of the upper breast and a flat appearance to the outer breast, and can constrict the tissues, causing the implant to look smaller than it actually is. Furthermore, swelling between the breasts can fill in the cleavage area, also making the breasts look smaller and wider apart than they actually are.
Over time, the swelling resolves, the tissues loosen up, and the shape of the implant starts to exert itself on the overlying tissues. As a result, the implants settle into a lower, more aesthetically pleasing position on the chest. They appear softer and rounder, and they look larger and closer together. Hence, “drop” (settle lower) and “fluff” (round out and look fuller).
Different factors affect the speed of this process, but in general, patients should expect 6 weeks to 3 months for a more “final” appearance, and in reality, breasts can continue to look more natural over many months. Tighter starting skin (such as with a younger patient with no prior pregnancies or breast surgery) will take longer to expand than looser skin. Larger implants generally take longer to settle than smaller implants, as the skin has to stretch more. Finally, textured implants take longer to settle than smooth implants as they are more stable and do not require postoperative breast massage.
The bottom line is that breast augmentation is an evolving process and patients need to be, well, patient with their results. I sometimes call it the gift that keeps on giving as implants generally become more attractive with each week after surgery. It is important to understand this before surgery so you allow your tissue the time it needs to accommodate your new implants. Learn more about ways to aid your recovery after breast augmentation.