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While it’s essential to schedule regular visits to the gynecologist and keep current on a recommended mammogram schedule, breast self-exams are an excellent tool for early breast cancer diagnosis. Knowing how your breasts naturally feel helps you discern any changes that need to be addressed. 

Woman performing a breast self-exam

While breast augmentation changes your breasts’ shape, size, and composition, it’s still possible to perform breast self-exams after your procedure. 

Below, we offer advice to help you incorporate breast self-exams into your monthly routine after augmentation and how to do them easily and accurately.

We also address how to perform gentle breast massage after augmentation to help prevent capsular contracture post-surgery.

How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam After Breast Augmentation

When you perform a breast self-exam before implants, knowing your breasts is the secret to success. 

This concept remains the same after augmentation, though now you need to know your implants. After augmentation, your breast surgeon can show you how to identify the edges of your implants by feel, as well as any scar tissue that may have developed around your implants

Once you know how to differentiate between the implants and your natural breast tissue, monitoring any changes in both is easier. 

  1. Begin by lying on your back and extending one arm over your head. Raising your arm makes it easier to feel around your armpit and around the upper and outer sections of your breasts.
  2. With your fingers flat, systematically feel all of your breast tissue using firm but gentle pressure. You’re looking for lumps, tenderness, pain, or other abnormalities.
  3. Squeeze your nipples lightly to check for unusual discharge, pain, or tenderness. If you notice a change in the appearance of your nipples, or they suddenly begin to retract or invert, this may be cause for concern.
  4. Once you’ve completed one side, repeat on the other breast. 
  5. Stand up and look in the mirror for a visual check, looking for any signs of shape irregularities, unexplained swelling, or other changes in your breasts’ appearance.  

Ideally, you should perform a breast self-exam at the same time each month. The best time is three to five days after your period starts so your breasts aren’t swollen, sore, or lumpy. 

If you do detect a lump or other abnormality during your self-exam, don’t panic. Schedule an appointment with your doctor, and remember that about 80% of lumps are harmless, benign cysts.  

How to Perform Breast Massage After Breast Augmentation

Once you’ve had augmentation, you must also monitor your breasts for implant-related changes. If you experience increasing firmness, tightness, or pain in your breasts after surgery, or the implant is moving upward, you may have capsular contracture.

Capsular contracture occurs when excess scar tissue forms around your implants, squeezing them and making them hard and misshapen. One of the ways to help prevent capsular contracture is with breast massage. 

Once Dr. O’Toole has cleared you, start by gently massaging your breasts for at least five minutes each, two to three times a day, during the first few months. 

Follow these simple methods (in no particular order) to help keep your breast implants soft and beautiful:

  • Place your hands at the top of your breasts and gently push them downward for a few seconds. Release and repeat.  
  • Place one hand on the outside of each breast and push them toward the middle of your chest. Hold for a few moments, then repeat.
  • Place one hand on each side of one breast, then squeeze the breast firmly (but not hard enough to cause pain), holding for a few seconds. Then repeat on your other breast. 
  • Grab your left shoulder with your right hand, crossing it over your breast and applying pressure with your elbow. Again, use firm but gentle pressure.
  • Repeat on the other breast.

If you have questions about the massage techniques or notice any changes in your breasts, contact Dr. O’Toole for a follow-up. 

Want to Learn More About Breast Augmentation in Pasadena, CA?

When it comes to breast augmentation, your choices are endless. Make sure you choose the best, most experienced surgeon by contacting the experts at Pasadena Cosmetic Surgery. Call our office today at 626-449-8910 to schedule a consultation, or fill out our online contact form to take the first step toward a more beautiful you.