Should I Replace my Saline Implants if They Have Ripples?

I had saline implants under the muscle 4 years ago and just now am starting to notice slight rippling. I recently lost about 10 pounds and wonder if that is contributing to the cause of this. What are my options? My breast tissue is thin to begin with. I was originally a small B cup and had them increased to a 34C. I love the size but hate the ripples. Will replacing them solve this problem?

Doctor Answers 15

Replacing Saline Implants to correct Ripples

Replacing your implants will not necessarily fix the problem. Your recent weight loss may have contributed to the problem if it resulted in further thinning of already thin breast tissues. It is also important to know where the rippling is located. If it is in the upper part of your breast then the implant may be underinflated, or the implant may not be well supported underneath and you could have traction rippling. The solution would then be to tighten the implant pocket with or without the addition of alloplastic material.

If the rippling is along the side, then it is most likely related to having thinned tissues. Changing to a Gel implant may help but it is not a quarantee. Visible rippling can definitely occur with Gel implants although it is somewhat less likely. You could reinforce the tissues again with alloplastic material. The problem is a much if not more related to your own tissues as it the implant, so replacing the implant alone does not necessarily solve the problem.

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Saline Breast Implants and Ripples

Unfortunately, you have discovered one of the known down sides of breast iplants - shell rippling. The shell of ALL breast implants ripple from the moment the implants are placed under the breast. The rippling is worse in saline filled than in gel filled implants and worse in textured than in smooth shlee breast implants. The rippling is the prime reason why breast implant need to be picked based on each woman's dimensions - because to achieve an attractive result the surgeon wants to put in an implant whose entire dome (and its ripples) is covered (and hidden) by your breast and muscle tissues.

- The larger the implant and  the less the existing breast tissue to cover the implant ripples
- the greater the weight loss removing coverage of the implant ripples - the MORE visible and palpable the ripples will be.

1. Change Saline implant to (less ripply) smooth silicone gel implants
2. Add to the implant coverage by using a biological sheet of Strattice (pig skin dermis extract)
3. apply fat grafts to the breast skin to increase its thickness making the underlying implant.

Good Luck.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Should I Replace my Saline Implants if They Have Ripples?Answer:

It is probably related to a few things, the biggest of which is probably your weight loss, which solution most women do not want to hear! Even 10 lb. in thin women can make a difference. Also, I have seen that after 4-5 years that saline implants can stretch a bit and even lose a bit of fill, both possibly causing ripples. If it is just at the bottom, I would not rush into silicone implants. Don't hate me & I know it sounds bad but see what you think after the holidays, and a few extra pounds!

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Wt. loss and rippling


Your recent weight loss may be the reason why you are now noticing rippling in your breasts. Rippling is more likely to be visible with saline implants and in patients with thin tissues. Consider exchanging them for silicone.


Replacing saline implants if they have ripples

Thank you for your question.  Since you only just noticed the rippling of the implants after you lost weight this is undoubtedly the reason that you are noticing it now. It would be useful to know if your implants were underfilled as this will certainly make the rippling more noticeable. Replacing the saline implants with gel implants may well improve the problem but may not completely eliminate it.  Gaining more soft tissue coverage with ether weight gain or placing an allograft over the area will also help with this problem. 

Donald M. Brown, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Replace Saline Implants due to Ripples?

The decision to replace them is up to you. If you think you may regain the weight, then hold off and see what happens. If the ripples still bother you, a replacement to silicone gel implants may help. Another option is using acellular dermal matrix to thicken the lower breast tissue.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Should I replace my saline implants if they have ripples?

Rippling is an expected complication or effect of saline implants. The ripples may be palpable or even apparent on the skin surface. Weight loss or scant breast tissue make ripples more likely. There are several alternatives to correct rippling:

  1. exchange to saline implants
  2. use of acelular dermal matrix
  3. fat grafting

Each separately or all three together may be indicated. Consult with a board certified  plastic surgeon to obtain the best advice after a thorough consultation and exam.

Rippling of implants after recent weight loss

Sounds like you were fine before your recent weight loss. Fat, muscle, or breast tissue surrounding breast implants contribute in keeping visible rippling at a minimum. Without pictures or an exam-you have 2 options.

1. Save yourself the cost of another surgery by re-gaining the 10lbs or if that is not an option

2. Replace implants with gel implants under the muscle

Best wishes, Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

Breast Augmentation and Rippling

Rippling is often related to thinning of the tissue usually in the upper pole of the augmented breast.  Larger size or changing to a gel implant some times can help.  Also, fat grafting is a technique that can sometimes fill in the area of rippling.  You should see a ABPS board certified surgeon for an examination and evaluation.





Jeff Scott, MD
Everett Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Breast implant Rippling?

Thank you for the question.

Your  recent weight loss is probably a contributing factor to the worsening of rippling up the breast  Implants. Exchanging these implants for silicone gel implants may be helpful.  The use of acellular dermal matrix ( to provide an additional layer of coverage between the breast implant and skin)  may also be considered.

Keep in mind, that unfortunately despite exchange of implants,  some rippling may still be present.  Gaining a little weight, if feasible, may be helpful in this regard.

I hope this helps.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.