You’ve seen it during bikini season and on small-framed women. It’s the telltale sign of implants, visible rippling. Rippling in breast implants can be seen at the top, side or bottom of the breast. There’s no 100% guarantee, but there are proven ways to avoid this possible side effect and achieve the best possible results.
Saline implants tend to ripple more than silicone. Silicone is more viscous (thicker), so it wrinkles less in general. If you don’t have a lot of breast tissue (petite frame, small breast, post-mastectomy) already to cover an implant you might see rippling. If you have thin skin, there is more of a chance to see rippling because the implant will have less soft tissue to cover it. This is especially true if the implant is placed above the muscle.
How can a plastic surgeon prevent implants from rippling?
First you need to invest in a skilled plastic surgeon. They are a few things in life where bargain hunting is ill-advised: buying parachutes and plastic surgery are at the top of the list. Always make sure your surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery, like Dr. Hubbard.
- Placing the implant “under the muscle” (submuscular) will prevent rippling in the cleavage of the breast. Natural breast tissue and pectoral muscles will cover the implant, giving two layers of coverage. Dr. Hubbard almost exclusively always performs “under the muscle” implants for a more natural looking outcome. Some patients have special considerations, (for example, a professional athlete and bodybuilder) and might need implants placed “over the muscle”
- If you go with a saline implant, it is important for the plastic surgeon not to under fill the implant. Under filled implants have a higher chance of rupture and rippling.
- Choose a reasonable implant size. With larger implants, the skin and breast tissue are stretched. This thins the layer of coverage over the implant.
- If you are at high risk for rippling, choose a form stable implant. These implants are relatively new and have many names (anatomic, shaped, gummy bear). One of the great qualities of the implants is that they almost never ripple.
If your breast implants already have rippling, don’t lose hope, there are many options.
- If the implant is placed above the muscle, move it to below the muscle.
- Change the type of implant (Saline/Silicone < Form Stable).
- Fat graft the area of rippling. Fat can be removed from one area and transplanted to another. Unfortunately, most patients that have rippling are slender, so there are not many areas to from which to borrow the fat.
- Place an artificial layer between the implant and skin. There are several materials that can be surgically placed to “hide” the implant, such as Strattice or Alloderm.
If you believe that larger, fuller, or perkier breasts would improve your quality of life, call Dr. Hubbard’s office for a consultation. Dr. Hubbard can walk you through all the options if your implants are already rippling. He and all the staff of the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute are friendly and professional, and here to answer your questions.
You can also learn more about rippling and breast implant revision surgery here.