Rippling Breast Implants

  • Rippling Implants Overview
  • Video
  • Procedure Walk-Through
  • Rippling Implant FAQs

Rippling Implants Overview


Why do breasts ripple after breast enhancement surgery ?

This is a very common problem I see in my practice. A lot of factors contribute to the overall shape and appearance of the breast. The amount and quality of native breast tissue are among those – these inherent elements of the breast ultimately contribute to the overall results following breast enhancement surgery.

Breast enhancement surgery can be performed by a number of techniques or approaches for implant placement, the most common being sub-muscular or “dual-plane” ( which is at present the gold-standard approach in the United States), and the sub-glandular technique.  The illustrations below depict implant positioning in relation to the pectoralis muscle for both sub-muscular and sub-glandular breast enhancements.



Figure 1 – Placement options of breast implants 

Figure 2 – Placement options of breast implants ( Anterior view )


Following breast enhancement surgery, women who are intrinsically thin or have minimal breast tissue to start off with may experience the phenomena of breast rippling or wrinkling.

The extent of the rippling fundamentally depends on two factors:  The type of implant placement that the patient underwent is the first. As depicted in Figure 1 & 2, a sub-muscular breast augmentation technique will provide more coverage for the implant than a sub-glandular technique, and the patient can expect to experience much less rippling – generally speaking, rippling will only be seen in the lower poles of the breast with sub-muscular techniques, as the upper and lateral breasts are covered by muscle.  Conversely, in a thin patient with a sub-glandular implant placement, rippling may be visible globally around the breast.

The second factor contributing to rippling is the type of implant used.  In most cases, saline versus silicone implants are indistinguishable in patients – the exception being in thinner patients with less generous native breast tissue.  In this patient population, saline-enhanced breasts will be more adept to display visible rippling; this is true even if the saline implant is slightly over-inflated. The biomechanics of saline implants combined with viscosity of water as compared to silicone account for the increased rippling.  Hence, in order to avoid or minimized the risk of breast rippling, in thinner patients, the preferred choice would be a slightly smaller silicone implant.


Procedure Walk-Through


Corrective breast surgery is an option to correct or lessen the appearance of breast rippling.  This is accomplished with the use of an acellular dermal matrix ( ADM ) such as Strattice™, which acts to blanket the breast ( Figure 3), lending added coverage to the breasts over thinned areas where rippling is experienced.



Figure 3. – Use of Acellular Dermal Matrix to provide added coverage to mask rippling



Breast Rippling FAQs


Who should undergo surgery to correct breast rippling?

Patients who have developed breast rippling secondary to a breast enhancement procedure or combination breast procedure such as an augmentation-mastopexy are candidates for rippling corrective surgery.

What is the timeline to schedule correction of breast rippling?

The ideal time period before considering corrective surgery for breast rippling is 12 months from the initial breast enhancement surgery.  Why so long ?: At the 12 month mark,  the breast capsule will be well formed and stable, allowing for greater ease in surgical repair, as the breast capsule is used to surgically tack down the dermal matrix in place.

What are the benefits of surgery to correct breast rippling?

The primary benefit of corrective surgery for rippling is to soften or eliminate the presence of breast rippling entirely, creating a more natural appearing breast.

What are the typical incisions used for correction of breast rippling?

The surgical correction for breast rippling is generally performed through the initial surgical incision, although not in all instances. Dr. Vallecillos will best determine where the incision should be made to ensure the greatest chance of a successful corrective surgery.

Can rippling corrective surgery be avoided?

Corrective surgery for breast rippling is a purely elective procedure and thus an elective decision –  Dr. Vallecillos will discuss your options, risks, and benefits of surgery with you during the consultation.

What is the typical recovery for breast rippling corrective surgery?

The recovery for breast rippling corrective surgery is similar to that of other variants of breast revision surgery.  The patient must refrain from lifting greater than 10 lbs or upper body exercise for no less than 8 weeks –  this will allow for maximal “take” of the dermal matrix, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

Why choose Dr. Vallecillos for corrective repair of breast rippling?

Dr. Vallecillos is a Beverly Hills board certified plastic surgeon with a practice emphasis on breast revision surgery, including corrective surgery for breast rippling.  Dr. Vallecillos has a vast experience with breast revision surgery having personally performed hundreds of procedures involving aesthetic breast rejunenation and breast reconstruction. Call the offices of Dr. Vallecillos today to schedule a consultation.


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