Recovery, Safety, and Breast Implants: Grand Rapids’ Dr. Bengtson Weighs In

As a board-certified doctor with more than 20 years of experience, Brad Bengtson, MD, has seen many changes in the industry in the last two decades. Some of the biggest advances have come in terms of safety and recovery after a procedure is completed. Since the most popular choice for plastic surgery in the United States is breast implants, Michigan’s Dr. Bengtson noted that breast augmentation, in particular, has received a lot of that innovating attention.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons members reported performing 279,143 breast augmentation surgeries in 2015, according to the results of an annual survey released earlier in 2016. Breast implants have topped the list for years, and continue to do so, chosen by about 57,000 more patients than liposuction, the next highest procedure on the chart.

Historically, women who received breast implants experienced weeks of soreness, swelling, and even pain after their surgery, limiting their activities and requiring recuperation that started with significant restrictions immediately after their successful procedure. Breast implants also frequently led to bruising that stood out before it began to fade over time.

Increasingly precise methods for inserting breast implants have led to a reduction in post-surgery complications and side effects. Whereas women once could not even physically lift their arms over the heads until a significant amount of time had passed after getting breast implants, it is now not uncommon for patients to be able to do that very activity within hours.

Just as there is a variety of breast implants available—silicone or saline, round or teardrop shaped, textured or smooth—there is a range of techniques for insertion. Some doctors prefer particular incisions, though the choice of procedure details typically depends on each patient’s unique anatomy and goals.

There are some common factors that allow for faster healing and range of motion for patients. Dr. Bengtson stresses several of them in his Fast-Trak Recovery program, including:

  • education, since patients who are well informed about their surgery and breast implants best understand what to expect from the procedure and recovery (using the Vectra 3D imaging system can help to give patients a real-time look at what breast implants of a particular size could look like on their own body)
  • working with a knowledgeable patient to select the ideal size, shape, and texture of breast implants for her body
  • stretching and other exercises to help with flexibility and recovery after surgery

While these elements are important to helping with a patient’s recovery, the doctor’s skill forms an incredibly large part of how recuperation plays out after a woman gets a breast augmentation.

For the surgical portion of the Fast-Trak program, Dr. Bengtson meticulously prepares a pocket to receive each breast implant, spending time to ensure that the procedure is bloodless and carried out with intense precision. The more careful the insertion of the breast implants, the less likely a patient will need to recover for any significant amount of time. The Fast-Trak system is designed to give patients a 24- to 48-hour recovery window. In fact, the doctor recommends that his patients take a nap and then go out to dinner in the same evening after getting their breast implants.

The other key to breast augmentation-related health and safety is follow-up care, particularly in determining whether implants have ruptured. While a leak poses no significant health risks, women may visit a hospital for help if they suspect something is amiss and want their breast implants checked. Dr. Bengtson is unique in that he provides ultrasound imaging for his patients, allowing them to bring any concerns about their breast implants back to the doctor who inserted them.

Michigan-based plastic surgeon Dr. Brad Bengtson heads the Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery in Grand Rapids. To learn more about breast implants, including the Fast-Trak recovery program, call (616) 588-8880 or visit


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