Breast Implant Rippling & Wrinkling

What is Breast Implant Rippling and Wrinkling?

Breast implant rippling is exactly what it sounds like, rippling of the breast implant surface that may be see and/or felt. Most of the time, rippling is felt along the outer side of the breast and the inner side of the breast next to the cleavage. It isn’t uncommon for smooth breast implants to ripple, but the rippling may not be able to be seen unless you bend over forward or are in a position in which your breasts are hanging down somewhat. Visible rippling may be seen in this position, but the rippling may be felt in any position. Most of the time if rippling can be felt, it is felt by lightly running your fingers along the outer side of the breast. If you press too firmly, you won’t feel it.

Causes of Rippling

There are several things that increase the risk of breast implant rippling.

  • Overfilling of the breast implant
  • Underfilling the breast implant
  • Poor tissue coverage
  • Subglandular (over the muscle) breast implant placement

Breast Implant Rippling with Overfilled Breast Implants

This only occurs with saline breast implants, as all silicone breast implants are prefilled and therefore cannot be “overfilled”. Overfilling occurs when more saline is added than the breast implant manufacturer recommends. For example, Mentor’s 525cc moderate profile saline breast implant has a minimum fill amount of 525cc and a maximum fill amount of 575cc. If the implant is filled past 575cc, this is deemed “overfill”. Overfiling, especially if it is to a large degree, can cause the edge of the breast implant to pull, resulting in ripples. These ripples may not be visible, but they may be able to be felt.

Breast Implant Rippling with Underfilled Breast Implants

Underfilling, also exclusive to inflatable saline breast implants, can also result in rippling. Underfilling obviously leaves the shell emptier than it should be, thus resulting in wrinkling and folds in the implant.

Breast Implant Rippling Due to Poor Tissue Coverage

Poor tissue coverage is often due to little tissue coverage. This can happen with saline or silicone breast implants, although form-stable breast implants offer the least risk of rippling, particularly smooth form-stable breast implants.

Women with small breasts are more likely to have visible or palpable breast implant rippling. More breast tissue means that there is more coverage of the breast implant, thus resulting in lower risk of rippling that can be seen or felt.

Subglandular Placement

Breast implants placed over the muscle offer the least amount of coverage for the implant unless you are starting out with a lot of breast tissue. Women with very little breast tissue are at the highest risk of rippling when getting breast implants over the muscle.

Traction Rippling

Traction rippling occurs only with textured breast implants. Textured implants are meant to adhere to your tissues. This adherence can cause pulling on the breast tissues and capsule, which can result in traction rippling. Basically, the textured shell of the breast implant “grabs onto” your tissues and pulls it. The more breast tissue you have, the better your chances of not having a problem with traction rippling.

Repairing Breast Implant Rippling

If rippling is a big problem, you might consider any one of the following, some of which may or may not apply to your individual case. In almost all cases, surgery is required to address problematic rippling.

If your implants are overfilled, one option is to have some saline removed. This can be done in your surgeon’s office under local anesthetic. However, breast implant manufacturers do not recommend re-opening the port once it has been sealed. If you opt to do this, know that the manufacturer does reserve the right to void your warranty in the event of a rupture.

Likewise, if your breast implants are underfilled, you can have saline added. Again, the implant manufacturer does reserve the right to void the warranty if the breast implant port is reopened after surgery.

If your breast implants are over the muscle, you might consider having them switched to a submuscular position. In the average non-bodybuilding woman, the pectoral muscle is less then 1/2″ thick, however, this additional coverage certainly can help in camouflaging breast implant rippling.