Deciding to undergo breast augmentation is a very personal decision for patients. They want to improve their appearance and most likely are nervous as to whether or not they will be pleased with the final outcome.
In cases where the initial augmentation procedure may not be completely successful, such as due to the appearance or feel of implant rippling, patients may wonder if a corrective surgery will fix the problem. Therefore, it is important for patients to understand what can cause breast implant rippling, as well as what can be done to reduce or correct breast implant rippling.
What Can Cause Breast Implant Rippling?
Rippling is more common with saline implants than with silicone ones. Because silicone implants are filled with a material that is thicker, more cohesive and has a gel-like consistency, it is more likely to completely fill out the outer shell. A good demonstration of this is to fill a plastic bag with water. Even though the bag is full of water, rippling can still be seen around the bottom because the water does not completely fill out the bag. By comparison, a plastic bag filled with a gel-like substance such as a hair conditioner will show less rippling along the bottom. The same concept applies to saline versus silicone breast implants.
What Can Make Rippling More Noticeable?
Rippling may also be more noticeable in patients with slight builds, thin skin, or very small breasts, because there may not be enough tissue to completely hide the appearance of rippling. Implants that are placed over the pectoral muscles may also make rippling more visible. Rippling will be even more visible when the patient leans forward and the weight of the breasts causes ripples to show along the outer sides of the breasts. Weight change, particularly weight loss can also make implant ripples become more visible.
Another factor maybe the size of the implants relative to the actual breast. An implant that is wider than the breast will lead to overstretching of the skin. As noted above, this can increase the appearance of any ripples. Unless the body frame can accommodate them, patients should avoid low profile breast implants, in which the width of the implant is greater than the height or the base diameter of the implant.
What Can Be Done to Prevent or Correct Rippling?
We suggest patients consider silicone implants that are placed under the pectoral muscles, rather than over. In addition, breast implants that are either a high or moderate profile are associated with less rippling than a low profile implant. Patients need to be properly educated as to which implants will best suit their body in order to get the best possible results from the breast augmentation procedure. In cases where the patient does not want to change to silicone implants, the size and shape of the saline implant can be corrected in order to reduce the appearance of rippling.
Obviously, each patient is unique in terms of her goals, build, and breast size. We will work closely with each patient to best meet their stated goals, while at the same time reducing the degree and appearance of rippling.
*The content in this blog is developed to spread the awareness towards plastic surgery. Our blog is not intended to serve as a replacement for an actual in-office consultation with Dr. Marin. As such, the information within this blog reflects the unique cases of our individual patients.