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Do implants drop and fluff at different times?

Breast implants are medical devices that are used for both reconstructive and cosmetic breast augmentation procedures. There are two main types of breast implants: saline and silicone gel. Both types have an outer silicone shell, but they differ in their inner filler material. Saline implants are filled with a sterile saltwater solution, while silicone gel implants are filled with a viscous silicone gel.

Saline Implants

Saline breast implants were introduced in 1964 and were the only type of implant available for breast augmentation in the United States until silicone implants were approved in 2006. Some key points about saline implants:

  • Filled with sterile saline (saltwater) solution
  • Saline is safe, absorbed by body if implant ruptures
  • Can be filled to desired size during surgery
  • Tend to look and feel less natural than silicone
  • Have more visible rippling/wrinkling
  • Lower risk of capsular contracture than silicone

Silicone Implants

Silicone gel-filled breast implants were introduced in 1962 but banned for cosmetic use in 1992 due to concerns about potential health risks. They were later re-approved in 2006. Here are some silicone implant characteristics:

  • Filled with viscous silicone gel
  • Soft, natural look and feel
  • Less rippling than saline
  • Pre-filled to specific sizes
  • Variety of shapes/profiles available
  • Higher risk of capsular contracture

How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

On average, today’s breast implants can last 10-15 years with normal wear and tear. However, implants don’t necessarily need to be replaced unless there is a problem. Some implants last much longer, even 20-25+ years.

Factors that affect breast implant longevity include:

  • Implant type (saline or silicone)
  • Quality/durability of implant materials
  • Surgical technique and placement
  • Patient anatomy and tissues
  • Lifestyle factors (weight changes, pregnancy, etc)

Many women choose to replace their implants as a preventative measure at some point despite lack of obvious complications. This is common around the 10-15 year mark, but can vary.

Do Saline and Silicone Implants Drop and Fluff at Different Times?

Yes, there are some differences in how saline vs. silicone implants “settle” and soften in the months after surgery:

Saline Implants Silicone Implants
Drop and fluff more quickly Take longer to drop and fluff
Can appear too round initially Retain shape better early on
Softer appearance in 2-3 months May take 6+ months to fully soften

Let’s take a closer look at why this happens…

Saline Implant Drop and Fluff Timeline

Saline implants drop into a more natural position and attain a softer look more rapidly than silicone, typically:

  • 1 week – Breasts still high and tight, some swelling
  • 1-2 months – Noticeably dropping and softening
  • 2-3 months – Close to final position and natural feel

The filler saline fluid flows easily within the shell, allowing the implant to adapt quickly to the implant pocket. The stability of the structure comes from the outer silicone shell itself rather than the saline inside.

Silicone Implant Drop and Fluff Timeline

Silicone implants generally take longer to drop and soften compared to saline:

  • 1 week – High, tight breasts, swollen
  • 1-2 months – Begin to drop slightly
  • 3-6 months – Noticeable drop and softening
  • 6-12 months – Reach final position and natural feel

The thick, cohesive silicone gel doesn’t shift or adapt as rapidly as saline fluid inside the implant shell. The gel holds its shape in the early months until gravitational forces gradually allow it to soften and settle.

Pros and Cons of Faster or Slower Drop and Fluff

There are advantages and disadvantages to both quicker and slower settling/softening after breast augmentation:

Faster Drop and Fluff Slower Drop and Fluff
  • See natural shape sooner
  • Less visible rippling sooner


  • Potentially greater swelling
  • May drop too fast before settling
  • Implants hold shape better early on
  • Less risk of “bottoming out”


  • Have to wait longer for natural shape
  • More visible rippling longer

Thus, the quicker drop and fluff of saline implants allows you to see the final results sooner, but may involve more early swelling. The slower settling of silicone means a longer wait for the breasts to soften and descend fully.

Factors That Influence Implant Drop and Fluff

Aside from the inherent differences between saline and silicone implants, other factors also affect the drop and fluff process and timeline:

Surgical Technique

  • Placement (submuscular vs subglandular)
  • Incision location (affects scarring)
  • Pocket dissection technique

Implant Characteristics

  • Fill volume/dimensions
  • Shape (round vs anatomically shaped)
  • Surface texture (smooth or textured)
  • Cohesiveness of silicone gel

Patient Factors

  • Skin elasticity and thickness
  • Tightness of breast tissues
  • Chest muscularity and strength
  • Posture and movement patterns

All of these factors above play a role in the settling process. The surgeon takes many of these into account when selecting the optimal implant type, size, and placement method customized for the patient’s unique anatomy.

What to Expect During the Implant Drop and Fluff Process

It’s important to have realistic expectations about the gradual drop and fluff process after your breast augmentation. Here’s what to expect with both saline and silicone implants:

  • Immediately after surgery: Breasts swollen, tight, and “perky.” Implants high on the chest.
  • First 1-2 weeks: Noticeable swelling starts to subside. Some mild dropping and softening.
  • 2 weeks to 2-3 months: Ongoing implant drop and softening. Swelling continues to decrease.
  • 3-6 months: Breasts descend to final position. Natural softness and jiggle.
  • 6-12 months: Final refinements in implant settling. Rippling improves.

Monitoring and following your surgeon’s post-op care instructions closely can help facilitate smooth healing and optimal implant drop and fluff.

Can Implant Massage Help with Dropping and Softening?

Yes, gentle breast massage starting a few weeks after surgery can help encourage the implants to settle into position.

Implant massage techniques may involve:

  • Light hand pressure moving from collarbone to breast and pressing in circular motions
  • Holding the breast gently and letting gravity help stretch tissues
  • Massaging the sides of breasts toward the cleavage

Ask your surgeon when massage may be started and for guidance on proper technique. Done correctly, implant massage may help speed up the drop and fluff process.

Summary – Main Differences in Saline vs. Silicone Implant Drop and Fluff

  • Saline implants drop and soften more quickly than silicone, often within 2-3 months.
  • Silicone implant drop and fluff takes longer, sometimes 6-12 months for total settling.
  • Saline implant shape changes more rapidly as the saline filler shifts easily.
  • The thick silicone gel of silicone implants maintains shape longer before gradually softening.
  • Faster drop of saline allows seeing final results sooner, but may involve more swelling.
  • Slower drop of silicone means waiting longer for the final look but less early shape distortion.

Understand the differences between saline and silicone implants, and remember the drop and fluff timeframe varies based on factors like surgical technique and your tissues. Be patient, follow post-op care, and allow time for the settling process!