Rippling is one of the potential complications of breast augmentation surgery. This side effect is called rippling because folds in breast implants become visible or can be felt to the touch. Therefore, looking or feeling like ripples beneath the skin.
What causes breast implant rippling?
During breast implant surgery Dr. Shah inserts a saline or silicone shape beneath the skin, and usually also beneath muscle tissue. Common factors in the development of ripples include:
Insufficient Coverage from Soft Tissue
There are a few instances in which soft tissue coverage may be insufficient to adequately accommodate the selected implant. For example:
- A thin or petite patient selects a large implant size.
- Subglandular placement, which is over the pectoralis muscle.
- Breast reconstruction after extensive resection mastectomy.
Rippling due to soft tissue coverage may not occur immediately. If a patient loses a substantial amount of weight, rippling may occur years after the initial implant placement. Pregnancy and breastfeeding may also prompt changes to soft tissue and, as a result, rippling.
Asymmetry of Tethering
Breast implants somewhat integrate into the pocket where Dr. Shah places them. Regardless of the consistency of technique across numerous cases, the fact remains that all patients heal differently. In some instances, tissue can contract around the implant slightly as healing occurs, causing a tethering effect that pulls on superficial tissue in an unexpected manner.
The Matter of Fill
Saline implants hold the potential for rippling in between the core and the outer shell. Silicone implants are not likely to do this because they are filled prior to insertion. Dr. Shah fills saline implants after inserting them into the pocket. This technique is performed as carefully as possible, yet there is still a degree of unpredictability that could lead to overfilling or underfilling, either of which can cause rippling.
The Solution to Rippling is Revision
There are two standard approaches to correct breast implant rippling. In some cases, it may make sense to add volume around the implant. This may mean that Dr. Shah will have to remove and replace the existing implant with a smaller size, or different position beneath the pectoral muscle.
Rippling associated with over or underfilling of saline implants may be corrected by removing or adding content. Dr. Shah can typically perform this in the office under local anesthetic. Sometimes, patients with saline implants prefer to switch to a silicone structure.