Some plastic surgeons use a ‘band’ or ‘strap’ on the upper aspect of the breasts of patients following the surgery to reduce the fullness of the upper pole of the breasts, or to keep the breast implants from migrating upwards.
These bands and straps became popular among cosmetic surgeons when shaped breast implants were first introduced. This is because upper breast (upper pole) fullness is more common with shaped breast implants because most of these implants are taller than they are wide. This abnormal, excessive upper pole fullness was particularly noticeable immediately after the implants were first put it.
Most patients find that these ‘bands’ or ‘straps’ cause a significantly higher amount of pain and are uncomfortable to wear without providing much, if any, benefits. Dr. McMahan finds these contraptions to be useful only in the rare instance when a breast implant is slow to settle into position. However, in order for a ‘band’ or a ‘strap’ to be used, the patient should have undergone the breast augmentation procedure at least a week earlier. Normally, after a week following the procedure, a ‘band’ or a ‘strap’ is more comfortable to wear.
For patients who are required to wear a ‘band’ or ‘strap,’ it is normal to have a feeling of tightness during the first couple of days. However, following this time, patients get used to wearing their garment. In fact, some patients find that they like their ‘band’ since it gives a feeling of stability and support.
In patients where there is more fullness in the upper pole on one side or the implant seems to be sitting higher on one side, putting differential pressure on the breasts can improve symmetry and potentially avoid a secondary procedure. In these cases, we find that using a six-inch elastic bandage wrapped around the chest over the breast that has the higher implant and below the other breast. Wearing this bandage firmly, but uncomfortably so, can help to move the higher implant down and prevent the lower implant from dropping any further, improving symmetry.
In very rare cases, where one or both implants have moved too far to the middle so that there is inadequate separation of the breasts, known as symmastia, a specialized bra may be recommended by your surgeon to help separate the implants into a more natural position. If surgery is required to correct this condition, it is advisable to wear this type of bra for several weeks to prevent it from recurring.
Under the care of Dr. McMahan, the preponderance of the patients do not need a ‘band’ or ‘strap’ to achieve the results they wanted from their breast augmentation procedure. In the vast majority of patients, the breast implants fall into the right place and, following the appropriate recovery time, patients can revel in their new look.
No type of band or strap is required to be worn below the breasts after surgery; only a good supportive bra with no underwire is recommended.