Problems arising from breast surgery

Implant rippling

Is it normal to feel ripples in breast implants?


The simple answer to this question is yes.

All breast implants ripple. But the amount of rippling and how visible it is on the surface of the skin varies from patient to patient.

Whether this rippling is a problem is also a very personal issue.

Here are a few important points to bear in mind should you encounter wrinkles or signs of breast implant problems.


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Invisible rippling


Many patients are not even aware that their breast implants are rippling inside. They can’t feel any wrinkles, nor can they see any on the skin around their breasts. But the implants could still be rippling inside.

This is nothing to worry about. It’s perfectly normal.


Visible rippling


Of more concern is when the ripples are visible to the naked eye on the surface of the skin.

Visible rippling usually happens in very slim patients who have very little breast tissue. When there’s little or no fat in the breasts area to mask the surface of the implant, wrinkles are much more likely to show.

How can implant rippling be avoided?


One of the techniques surgeons use to minimise visible rippling, is to place the implant underneath the muscle.

However, the muscle doesn’t completely cover the implant.

So, the problem is that even when implants are placed under the muscle, there may still be some visible rippling. This is generally noticeable towards the centre of the cleavage, in the lower part of the breast and in the side of the breast. 

For many patients, this isn’t an issue, but for some it’s a real problem.

How can rippling be put right?


In cases where the rippling is severe and is causing the patient serious distress, there are ways to minimise the problem.

One possible technique is to change the implant for a firmer implant. Firmer implants tend to ripple less, so the problem is less likely to occur in the first place.  The implant will be made of silicone – regardless of what any existing implant is made from.

The patient will need to return to theatre to have the original implants removed and new, firmer implants put in place.

The recovery period is likely to be slightly shorter than the original operation, but it’s really important to rest immediately after the surgical procedure. Patients need to follow the same advice as for a breast enlargement.

Fat grafting techniques


In extreme cases, where visible rippling becomes unbearable for the patient, it may be worth considering fat grafting.

Grafting fat from other parts of the body, to build up the thickness of the natural tissue over the implant, can reduce the likelihood of wrinkles appearing. This procedure will require the patient to return to the operating theatre.

Find out more about breast fat transfer and the recovery process.


If you’re thinking about having breast implant surgery, get in touch with my friendly team:

Telephone: 0121 405 0660
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In my last article we discussed the breast enlargement consultation process.

Mr Guy D. Sterne
MB, ChB, FRCS, MD, FRCS (Plast)
Consultant Plastic Surgeon