How does rippling occur?

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver, Aurora, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, and Nearby Colorado

Posted: October 24, 2012

Rippling can be one of the tell-tale signs of breast augmentation, and it not only reveals the presence of breast implants, but can lead to unattractive results. Rippling used to be a common complication of breast augmentation, but innovations in breast implant design and changes in breast augmentation technique have made it less common than in the past.
There are two causes that typically result in rippling after breast augmentation. Breast implant rippling is the most common cause, and it’s normally associated with saline breast implants. An underfilled saline breast implant is the most likely culprit, so it’s normal to overfill saline breast implants to make sure they retain their shape without rippling. However, over time water actually migrates through the implant’s silicone shell, resulting in reduced volume and rippling.
A less common cause of rippling is a ruptured silicone breast implant. A saline breast implant will just deflate after rupture, but silicone material remains trapped in the capsule the body puts around the implant. Once it’s out of the implant, though, it can change shape, becoming rippled and lumpy. Rippling with silicone breast implants means you should talk to your surgeon about a possible rupture.
Another possible cause of rippling is traction rippling. This is when the breast implant adheres to the capsule your body puts around it. This can pull the scar capsule and adjacent tissues, causing the tissue to wrinkle. This is more common with textured implants, but it can occur with smooth ones as well.
The best way to reduce your risk of visible rippling is to have smooth silicone breast implants that are placed in a submuscular position. The extra tissue conceals minor rippling. However, major rippling that is visible despite the additional tissue may require revision breast surgery to correct.
If you have questions or concerns about breast augmentation, it’s important to resolve these questions before making your decision about the procedure. To talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon in Denver, please contact Grossman Plastic Surgery today for a consultation.