Breast Implant Rippling

A patient emailed me today about “rippling” of her breast implants.   Her surgery was done in another office some 10 years ago.   This has bothered her ever since, despite a revision surgery to correct the problem.   She wants to have something done to reduce the rippling.  There are several factors to consider.

Women frequently notice rippling of their breast implants.   This refers to the undulation of the breast surface or breast skin above the breast implant.   This is a result of fluid movement within the silicone shell.   Erect posture and leaning forward seems to accentuate the condition.  As the fluid shifts, it  changes the shape of the implant from discoid to pear shape.   The change in shape results in  surface distortion of the implant which show up as rippling.

Women who have minimal breast tissue of their own, may notice this rippling more.   Since they have  only a thin  layer of breast tissue and fat between the implant and the skin, the changes in implant surface are more noticeable.   Weight loss may often include reduction in breast substance to reveal rippling or make it worse.

It seems the outer surface of the breast is affected by rippling the most.   This is the area where the arm and elbow touch the chest and side of the breast.  This location of the implant may only be covered by a thin layer of fat and skin.   Larger diameter implants and lateral positioning of the implants toward the armpit, reveal larger portions of the implant into chest areas with less or thinner coverage.   Rippling can be seen in the upper inner aspect of the breast.   This is the decollete area.   Placement of implants beneath the Pectoralis muscle has virtually eliminated this rippling.

Both saline (salt water)  and silicone gel implants available in America can show some visible rippling.   It is felt less when silicone gel implants are used.  However, the most coherent silicone gel products, only available outside the US, may reduce or eliminate rippling of breast implants.   Unfortunately, the coherent gel implants currently available in the US do not eliminate this rippling.

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