Drop & Fluff: Why Implants Settle

The term “drop and fluff” refers to breast implants and is familiar to most of my breast augmentation patients here in the Phoenix area. It is commonly used on breast implant chat sites, and 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.

Why Do Implants Look High and Tight at First?

Immediately after getting breast augmentation, 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).

How Long Does it Take for Implants to Settle?

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.

If you’re interested in breast augmentation, request a consultation to get personalized answers to all your questions.


Published: 4/4/14, Updated: 8/10/18

13 Responses to Drop & Fluff: Why Implants Settle

  • leonna speirs says:

    Hi, thank you for the information, it was really helpful, I am now 9 months post op but my breasts have yet to drop and fluff, could you give me any information to help this process

  • Jan Thompson says:

    I’m 11 weeks post op and my breasts are yet to drop and fluff. My PS has told me that I may need a revision after 9 months if it doesn’t drop any further. Is there anything that I can do to help with the dropping and fluff.

    • Dr. Robert Cohen says:

      The reasons for why implants may not drop are varied and depend on surgical techniques, what type of implants you have, whether they are over or under the muscle, the tightness of your natural tissues, etc. Occasionally revision surgery is needed to lower implants that do not settle as much as expected. The best advice is to see your original surgeon again and see if he or she advises downward massage, physical therapy, or any other maneuvers to improve implant position based on knowledge of you, the implants, and the exact surgery that was performed. Best of luck!

    • Robert Cohen says:

      It’s hard to answer this type of question when I didn’t do the surgery, but in general breast implants will take on a fuller look as the skin has a chance to expand over time. This process can take a few months so be patient. If you have any questions or concerns the best thing to do is contact the plastic surgeon that performed your surgery.

  • Stacy Howell says:

    Teng, I was a small C cup before and wanted DD. I am 3 weeks post op and feel like I got a full C cup. I got 445 in one and 425 in the other. Hope they get bigger. This definitely wasnt worth the money I paid.

    • Blog Admin says:

      Hi Clarissa!
      As time goes on, breast implants settle and give a more natural appearance. What registers as “too big” is often just excess upper pole fullness from swelling and the implants riding high in the early postop period. Be patient and I would guess that over time, as the implants settle and you get used to having them, you will feel much more comfortable with your size.

  • Shar says:

    Hi I was a 34b and I got a 450cc I got them done last week and am so disappointed they look so small I have spent years saving up my surgan said I would go to a size e but I tried my normal bra on yesterday and I am only a c 5 grand for a cup size up 🙁 I am hoping they will get bigger but I carnt see them shooting up to a size e from the size they are at the moment

    • Blog Admin says:

      Implants often look tight at first and “fluff out” over time. 450cc is a good size implant so I would guess they will look fuller once your skin has a chance to expand. Obviously that’s my best guess since you’re not my patient. If you have concerns you should address them with your surgeon- I’m sure he or she would want to discuss that with you directly!

  • Gwen says:

    I’m 3 weeks post op and my implants have not dropped even the slightest bit, they are still very high onto my chest and the lower breast is still very empty and the top is still pretty tight, should I be worried if at this point I have not seen any difference?

    • scp-admin says:

      In general I would expect implants to show some degree of softening and settling by 3 weeks after surgery, although there can be variations on this based on the anatomy and implant size and style. If you don’t feel like you have made any progress, I would recommend contacting your plastic surgeon to see what he or she suggests at this point (such as downward massage, the use of a compression strap, etc). – Dr. Robert Cohen

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