Intense itching after breast implant surgery is not uncommon due to the return of normal sensation. Despite the discomfort, this is a good sign that the injured or displaced nerves are gradually healing themselves through a process called reinnervation.
Sometimes the stretching of skin leads to itching during breast augmentation recovery, which is often accompanied by “shiny” appearance and excessive dryness. These “symptoms” tend to be more pronounced with the use of large implants, which are generally defined as having a volume of 400 cubic centimeters or bigger.
Some patients may take anti-histamine medications to minimize the itching and other related discomfort, although “helpful” they are not generally necessary since the symptoms will always dissipate or subside on their own as the body recovers from the surgical trauma, as suggested by Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili.
If the skin appears “overly tight” and/or dry, Dr. Smaili might recommend the application of moisturizers such as baby oil and cocoa butter, although the still sensitive incisions must be avoided because they could cause irritation and lead to allergic reaction and poor scarring.
The renowned plastic surgeon also advocates breast implant massage, or more accurately referred to as implant displacement exercise, in which the prosthesis is pushed towards the outermost corners of the “pocket” to make the tissue soft and the breast shape and projection appear natural.
Breast implant displacement exercise, he adds, has also been known to “re-train” the nerves, a process also referred to as systematic desensitization. He typically recommends the postop treatment a week after surgery, although the timing, frequency, and exact “mechanics” differ from patient to patient, he adds.
While itching and other related symptoms will resolve in time, some experts might also suggest the use of “vibration stress” to soothe or desensitize the nerves. This is done by placing a vibrator device on the chest and then gradually moving it toward the most sensitive area; it is ideal to remove or press the stop button before the sensation becomes unbearable.
Performing this “exercise” could treat hypersensitivity, itching, and other sensation-related problems within a week, or sometimes even sooner.
Another possible way to control intense itching after breast augmentation surgery is to put ice packs (covered by washcloth) on the lateral side of the breast, where most of the skin stretching occurs. However, Dr. Smaili warns that there should be no direct contact between the skin and ice to avoid “cold burns” and other complications.