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Is Breast Implant Recovery Different for MTF Transgender Patients?

Breast contour is a physical symbol of femininity. Breast augmentation can help MTF transgender patients align their appearance with gender identity. In addition, patients leave the surgery with a new sense of self-esteem. Optimal candidates for MTF breast augmentation are those with realistic expectations and stable physical and psychological health.

Breast augmentation is an excellent option to increase your breast size, symmetry, and overall appearance. This post addresses how breast implant recovery is different for MTF transgender patients than for biological females.

What Is MTF Breast Augmentation?

MTF breast implant surgery for transgender women increases breast size and alters the chest contours. It’s also called top MTF breast surgery, breast augmentation, chest construction, or mammoplasty.

Breast implant surgery for transgender women may involve inserting breast implants or tissue expanders under your chest tissue.0

MTF breast implant surgery is a step in resolving discomfort when gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth (gender dysphoria). In addition, the surgery can help transgender women transition physically to their self-affirmed gender.

Many transgender women employ different practices if they feel that their breast size isn’t adequate; as a result, they undergo hormone therapy, wear padded bras, or artificial breasts. Others choose plastic surgery to alter their chest appearance. Transgender women relate to their bodies differently and must make individual decisions.

Before having top surgery, most surgeons require a letter of support from a mental health provider competent in transgender health. In addition, the mental health provider will determine that you meet the World Professional Association of Transgender Health standards of care criteria.

What Is the Difference Between MTF and Traditional Breast Augmentation?

Transgender breast augmentation differs from traditional breast augmentation in several critical ways. These differences make choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in West Palm Beach, Florida, vital during this phase of your journey.

Traditional breast augmentation isn’t the same operation required for transgender patients. The basics are similar, but the nuances make MTF breast implant surgery unique. Here are a few factors that make top surgery different.

Transgender MTF Breast Augmentation Surgical Approach

While breast augmentation is similar for transgender women, they still have special considerations to deliberate. Generally, the patient has broader shoulders and chest, requiring a larger implant for a more natural-looking and proportional appearance.

Additionally, transgender women tend to have lower nipples, meaning the natural breast crease may need to be lowered during the procedure so the nipple is centered correctly. Finally, compliance with aftercare measures is critical for transgender patients. Transgender women typically have larger pectoral muscles that can cause the breast implant to remain higher on the chest wall. However, diligent breast massage and compression allow the implant to drop into a more feminine position.

The skin envelope is probably the most crucial variable, limiting the size of the implants. Unfortunately, determining how much chest skin can stretch can be challenging, and multiple sizes must be tested to determine the best fit.

Breast Implant Placement During MTF Breast Implant Surgery

Dr. Cooper employs pre-pectoral placement and sub-pectoral placement for MTF breast implant surgery. Pre-pectoral placement involves the implants being placed above the pectoral muscles but below the breast tissue. Sub-pectoral placement positions implants above the chest wall but below the pectoral muscles.

Hormone Therapy Before MTF Breast Implant Surgery

Although not an explicit criterion, it is recommended that MTF patients undergo feminizing hormone therapy (for a minimum of twelve months) before breast augmentation surgery. The purpose is to maximize breast growth to obtain better aesthetic outcomes.

Initiating hormone therapy results in nipple growth and breast tissue development, which means MTF breast implant surgery is likely to be more successful.

How Long Is MTF Breast Augmentation Recovery?

‍Some MTF patients experience tightness in the chest the first few days following breast implant surgery. But this sensation will diminish over time. Dr. Cooper may provide medication to alleviate any discomfort during your recovery. In addition, you should avoid heavy lifting for four weeks after surgery and wear a compression bra during this period.

Dr. Cooper prescribes compression garments to minimize inflammation, swelling, and discomfort. Anti-inflammatory medications will help too. Although you’ll be able to see results immediately after surgery, the recovery period can range between three to eight weeks, depending on various factors. Once you’ve fully recovered, you can finalize your bra size.

What Breast Implants Are Best for Transgender Patients?

As with traditional breast augmentation surgery, the correct choice of implant is crucial.

Saline Implants

Saline implants have silicone outer shells. They are inserted into the breast empty and filled with sterile salt water once in place. This implant involves smaller incisions for less noticeable scarring. However, the saline implant ridges are more visible in patients with less breast tissue, which is common among transgender women.

While saline implants are less expensive, they pose a greater risk of rippling. A few experience water sloshing in their breasts. Some patients also feel that saline implants seem firmer than natural breast tissue.

Silicone implants

Both the case and the gel filling of silicone implants are comprised of silicone. They are available in various shapes and sizes that patients can choose from. Because of their material, this implant can provide a more natural look and feel.

Though they are generally safe and the most known implant type, silicone implants can pose risk if they rupture. To avoid this complication, Dr. Cooper recommends an annual MRI to check for implant integrity.

Implant Size & Shape

While it is tempting to look at the breast augmentation results of another patient, please take the time to consider which implant will conform best to your body proportions. Research shows that breast implants too large for transgender women would require breast revision surgery after six months. Also, remember that no two bodies are identical, making it too difficult to visualize your final results.

Why Do I Need a Plastic Surgeon Who Understands MTF Breast Augmentation?

As with any surgery, having a surgeon who is well-established in their community as a compassionate and skilled clinician is critical for cosmetic success with MTF breast implant surgery.

Dr. Jason Cooper is a Harvard-trained, highly skilled, and experienced plastic surgeon. An American Board of Plastic Surgery board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience and expertise in facial and chest aesthetics. His attention to detail and his results-oriented philosophy bring natural aesthetic outcomes that are predictable and safe. In addition to his extensive training, Dr. Cooper is consistently on the cutting edge and incorporates optimal practices and the most advanced techniques developed in plastic surgery.

Dr. Cooper’s practice philosophy, developed from his nearly 20 years of experience, centers around highly selective patient qualification and an individualized, detail-oriented surgical plan and process to achieve the best outcomes and patient experience possible. Dr. Cooper limits the number of patients he will operate on in one day and is highly disciplined in his lifestyle to ensure that he is always at his best for his patients.

Dr. Cooper is a Stuart, Florida native and attended the University of Miami School of Medicine then completed the Combined Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency Program, one of the most prestigious programs in the country. He grew a successful practice at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. He has spoken nationally and internationally on such topics as anesthesia during face lifting and laser techniques.


MTF breast implant surgery offers individuals a safe way to develop female breasts as part of the male-to-female transition process.

There are many factors to consider, which ultimately determine the length of recovery. However, knowing what to expect provides you with greater peace of mind and the results you’ve always wanted. Fortunately, recovery tends to pass quickly following MTF breast augmentation, with most patients returning to work after one week. However, rest is critical during the first few days after surgery. To learn more about how Dr. Cooper can help you through the emotional process of MTF breast implant surgery, schedule a consultation online.

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