Is this 'animation deformity'? (Photo)

I'm just about 6 weeks post-op. 260cc silicone Natrelle style 20 (high profile) in both. I noticed a few days ago that if I stretched, bent arms back or if I was flexing my pectoral muscles, my right breast would appear 'sucked in', it would ride up & the bottom would have a bizzare, cone (& flat bottom).shape. What is going on here?! What do you think this is? My options? I'm crushed that we spent so much on surgery and now I have a freakish looking breast. Dr's appt is scheduled for Friday...

Doctor Answers 11

Is this 'animation deformity'?

Yes, I think that your photographs do demonstrate animation deformity; hopefully, this will improve with time given that you are only six weeks out of surgery. In other words, as the breast implant "settle" hopefully the grip of the pectorals major contraction will decrease.

If, on the other hand, you remain displeased in the longer term, further release of the pectorals major muscle  or conversion to the self glandular space (after careful consideration all the potential downsides associated with this maneuver), may be necessary.

Best wishes for an outcome that you will be pleased with longer-term.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Animation Deformity

Thanks for your question and picture. Your pictures are a very good example of animation deformity. This is an unavoidable complication of submusclar augmentation. The decreased rate of CC, increased camouflage of the implant, and easier mammogram screening are worth the complication. Best of luck!

Bradley A. Hubbard, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

Yes it is animation deformity

This often occurs with implants behind muscle.  Muscle contraction causes it. Its fix is implants in front of muscle.

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Animation Deformity

In my mind the one real disadvantage to sub muscular augmentation is the fact that if the muscle moves, to some degree in virtually every patient, the implant under it will move too and that's not natural. Placing the implant on top of the muscle can eliminate that odd movement but there are many trade offs. There is a significantly higher rate of CC, more difficulty reading mammograms and more frequent visible surface rippling or implant border visibility with implants placed on top of the muscle. Although neither is "perfect", worldwide it has been stated that about 85% of surgeons advise and perform submuscular augmentation and most patients, when given a choice, select submuscular augmentation. Animation deformity is an unavoidable risk and unpredictable in severity. Fortunately, your result is very favorable and this shape change will rarely ever be noticed or seen in day to day life.

Gregory J. Stagnone, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Is this animation deformity?

Yes, it appears that this is an animation deformity on your right side.  This can sometimes occur after placing the implant under the muscle.  Options to correct this include surgically releasing the muscle or placing the implant above the muscle.  Be sure to discuss this situation with your surgeon.  Good luck.

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Breast augmentation and animation deformity

Yes, your picture does demonstrates animation deformity. This animation deformity is going to be seen at least to some extent with any implant placed below the chest wall muscle with flexion of the chest wall muscle. If this is sufficiently bothersome, the only solution would be to change the plane of implant placement to a plane above the chest wall muscle.

There are multiple options in plane of implant placement. These include subglandular, subfascial, subpectoral or biplanar and total submuscular placement.

The correct plane of placement for each patient depends on multiple factors including patient expectations,  soft tissue thickness, amount of native breast tissue, breast ptosis,  activity level, gel versus saline implants, implant size and route of implant placement. All of these factors figure in to which plane will be the best option for you.

There is no one option that is best for all patients. Best of luck.

Jack Peterson, MD
Topeka Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Breast implant animation

Sorry to hear about your breast implant animation.  You have a very nice result and your PS has done a good job.  Unfortunately, animation is very common after submuscular placement.  I always discuss this with patients before the surgery and show them photos of animating breasts.  If they have enough breast to cover an implant over the muscle without risk of visible rippling, then I have them consider getting over-the-muscle (subfascial) placement.  It's possible your breast tissue was too thin so your PS didn't offer that to you.  Be cautious if you exercise your chest muscles because even simple exercises such as push-ups, Yoga, Pilates, bench press, etc can cause the breast implant pocket to stretch and the implants will drift to the side and downward (thereby creating a wider cleavage gap).  Discuss your concerns with your PS.

Victor Ferrari, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Animation deformity?

Hello!  Thank you for your question.  It does appear with your description as well as the photo that you do have an animation deformity. This is a potential complication with the sub pectoral breast augmentation and should have been discussed.  It sometimes improves over time, but may never resolve.  If it worsens or continues to be bothersome to you, consideration for change of placement to a subglandular or subfascial position should be entertained.  Hope that this helps.  Best wishes!  

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Yes, that is animation deformity

Before we get too carried away emotionally, let me acknowledge your concern that what you are seeing with your breasts looks a bit weird to you, but I also need to say that some degree of "animation deformity" is a fact of life with implants under the muscle.  The breast is not normally a submuscular organ; it normally sits on top and is not affected by muscle contraction.  We make it so when we put implants under the muscle.  We do this because over time our experience has shown us that there are many benefits to placing the implants under the muscles.  The key here is to do it the best way.  There are some ways of placing the implants that may result in more animation deformity than others.  In general, we need to pay attention to not only lifting the muscle up from the ribcage, but also selectively weakening it in the areas impacting the implant to lessen the muscle activity on the implant.  All implants under the muscle will be pushed on by the muscle to some degree, but as I like to say:  "Once I decide to put an implant under the muscle, except as a coverage for the implant, the muscle is my enemy!"  I need to weaken it so it is mainly an immobile cover.  Additionally, I have found that dual plane placement helps lessen this too, as it creates a bit more contact with the implant directly on the bottom breast tissue and less with the muscle, but again, this needs to be done properly to avoid "windowshading" and deformity of the muscle.

This is not a dangerous condition, and it puts you at no risk; it just looks and may feel odd.  If this is bothersome enough, you may need a second procedure to revise the muscle release on that breast.  Keep you appointment with your surgeon and discuss all of your concerns with him or her.  That will be the best way to figure out exactly what is going on and what can be done about it.  Best of luck.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews


You are experiencing animation deformity.  This is more obvious initially and may improve with time.  I would most definitely go and speak with your surgeon.

Best Wishes,
Nana Mizuguchi, MD

Nana N. Mizuguchi, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

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.