What do I need to do to take care of my breast implants? This is a question that many breast augmentation patients ask. It is not a trivial issue and it’s not like they come with a use and care manual.
So here are three recommendations about how to care for your breasts/breast implants that you may not know. In my experience, following these simple suggestions can go a long way in helping you to maintain the health and longevity of your breast implants.
Support Your Girls
Breast implants add weight to your breasts, I know, duh. But the shape of the breasts can be affected by this extra weight, particularly if there is a bit of looseness to your breasts to begin with. So, good support in your bras is a must. In days gone by, Playtex was a very popular brand especially the 18 Hour Bra. This is no minimalistic bra. It has a broad band and gives great support. There are many large breasted women who lived in these bras and experienced little or no sagging over time. It is strictly a matter of support. Fortunately there are a lot of very fashionable bras that give excellent support, just check out your latest Victoria’s Secret catalog.
Wearing good support in your daily bra is not all you need to do. I tell all my patients to get a good sports bra, particularly if you are into high impact aerobic work outs. These activities stress the breast tissues more than anything else. But also consider wearing your sports bra during activities such as hiking or horseback riding; you may just be more comfortable. Under Armour and Moving Comfort are a couple of manufacturers who make excellent products. Don’t be concerned if, when you first use your sports bra, it feels too tight. You will grow to appreciate the support and security.
Make Massage a Daily Routine
When it comes to taking care of breast implants, may women ask me how long they need to massage for? I heard one plastic surgeon at a meeting respond to this question with another question: “How long do you want to keep your breast implants?” Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but daily massage is probably not a bad idea. I tell women to just massage a bit each day in the shower. What you want to do is to make sure that the implants can be moved up and towards the middle of your chest. This way they will continue to move naturally like your own breast tissue.
Prepare for the Dentist
Now don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of good friends who are dentists. They are not the problem. The problem is the normal bacteria that live in your mouth. Perhaps I should explain.
When you have a dental procedure, including (especially) teeth cleaning, small amounts of bacteria will enter your blood stream for a short period of time. Usually this is not a problem. But there is always the possibility, however small, that they could end up some place where they are not wanted. This is why people with prosthetic heart valves or issues with their mitral valve may take antibiotics if they are considering some quality time with their dentist or dental hygienist. They don’t want bacteria messing up their heart valves.
There is growing anecdotal evidence that there could be a corollary with breast implants. While there have been no definitive scientific studies, some surgeons feel that similar precautions should be undertaken for women with breast implants. Here’s the reason: if these bacteria end up in the capsule around the breast implants, it is possible to develop a subclinical infection. This in turn can cause the capsule to thicken and the breast to feel firmer. That is to say, it can promote the formation of a capsular contracture.
Now women with breast implants have been getting dental procedures for years without problems. So this obviously won’t affect everyone. But there is no way to know who – if anyone – may be so affected. I have seen two or three women where there does seem to be a relationship between a dental procedure and the development of a capsular contracture. Because of the increased awareness that there could be a relationship here, and with the growing (albeit) anecdotal evidence, I have decided that this is something that women with breast implants should be aware of, and that they should consider steps to try and prevent this.
So what to do? Simple: one dose of oral antibiotics an hour or two before seeing the dentist, and two doses afterwards. Usually a broad spectrum oral antibiotic like Keflex (cephalexin) will suffice. This is a good thing to discuss with your dentist who can prescribe this for you. Going forward, this is something I will recommend to my patients.
These are just some simple things you can do to help maintain the look and longevity of your breast augmentation procedure. I’m sure you look great now and that the way we want it to stay!
All the best,
David B. Reath, MD
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