Do Implants Move or Change Shape After Pregnancy?

I had breast augmentation, under the muscle, using saline smooth shelled implants 8 years ago. I had a child three years ago and my implants are now visible through the skin with rippling and the left implant seems to have shifted slightly causing mild aching. Does it sound like these need to be replaced or is this all normal?

Doctor Answers 16

Breast tissue and skin changes after pregnancy

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The breast tissue and skin itself changes after pregnancy because of the homonal fluctuations. After breast feeding the tissues involute and the skin is stretched and thinner.

I would advise waiting until about 6 months (or later depending upon your childcare situation) after the completion of breast feeding to undergo an exchange to siicone responsive gel implants, with or without a lift depending upon your anatomy.

Good luck,
Dr. Walden

Pregnancy and nursing change the breasts

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A woman's breast will change following pregnancy and nursing and time alone. Following pregnancy and nursing, breast will enlarge and engorge, and then will atrophy or involute. This will leave the breast 'droopier' and thinner, and can cause the nipple to descend. If you are thin to start with and have little breast tissue, you will notice that you can feel the implant much more. This is especially common with saline implants where rippling can be noticed. You should visit your board-certified plastic surgeon to have him/her evaluate if you would benefit from an implant exchange to a high profile silicone implant with or without a lift.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 245 reviews

What has changed is your own tissue

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Preganacy causes many changes in the breast tissue and that is more likey the cause of the differences you see rather than any implant change.  If you are unhappy with your current status and if you are done having children, you might consider having surgery to improve the result.

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Replace the implants only if they look bad or feel uncomfortable

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To Jai,

Hi! Pregnancy does not cause implants to change, but the passing of 8 years can cause change. In any case, you do not have a medical problem.

If you find your breasts attractive enough, leave things alone.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Pregnancy and Change in Breast Implants

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Pregnancy can cause many changes in the breast tissue and skin that can affect the look, feel, and positioning of the implant. The changes in the breast could be from skin elasticity change, weight gain/loss, and hormonal effects. A patient that is not satisfied with the way her current breasts look following pregnancy should speak with her plastic surgeon regarding options which might include mastopexy and implant exchange.

Implants Change after Pregnancy?

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Thank you for the question.
Breast implants do not necessarily change position or shape after pregnancy.
However, the overlying breast tissue and/or skin does often change. The exact change the specific patient will experience during or after pregnancy is not predictable. Some common changes seen with the breasts  after pregnancy include " involutional  hypoplasia" (breasts  become smaller)  and/or breast ptosis (" drooping"). The changes the breasts experience may be related to genetic factors, skin elasticity changes, hormonal effects, and/or weight gain/loss around the time of pregnancy.
The changes that the overlying breast tissue and/or skin undergo after pregnancy may  cause the breast implant to appear “changed” after the pregnancy. For example, if the patient loses breast tissue volume after pregnancy, the breast implant may become more exposed and the patient may feel (rippling)  or see the implant more so than before pregnancy.
I ask my  patients to follow up with me  approximately 3 months after they have stopped breast-feeding to evaluate the breasts  and the underlying breast implants.
I hope this helps.

Breast Implant issues

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Rippling of the implant is more common in very thin patients with poor soft tissue coverage.  Over filled salines may improve the rippling or possible exchange to silicone gel implants or even adding another layer of coverage such as Alloderm.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

The implants don't change so much, but the breast does

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It is very common to have major changes after pregnancies in the breast area. Typically the breasts get engorged and then involute later. This causes stretching in the skin and change of nipple position. The changes you describe are not uncommon but many different changes and severity of changes can occur. I think that you can get some of these issues resolved with a revisional surgery. Make sure you are finished with your family first. All the best.

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

All bets are off after pregnancy

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Anything can happen during pregnancy. Implants can get hard. Breast tissue can shrink or enlarge. The important question is: do your breasts look like what you would like them to and, if not, are you motivated enough to do something about them?

If you are satisfied, then you can leave them alone since cosmetic surgery is completely elective. If you see things you do not like, visit a plastic surgeon and see what options you might have.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Your breasts have changed, the implants are probably unchanged

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Pregnancy causes a great number of changes in a woman's body. As the pregnancy progresses, the breasts and milk ducts enlarge in preparation for breast feeding. Once the baby is born, the process of breast feeding causes a daliy filling and emptying of the breasts. Once breast feeding stops, the breasts sometimes lose some of the firmness and actual size that they had before preganancy.

The end result can be a thinner envelope around your breast implants, which can now be palpated more easily than they could before pregnancy. We find that to be especially true of saline implants and our Santa Rosa mommy makeovers many times involve trying to restore the breasts to their shape before pregnancy.

Your options are many: some women feel reassured that what they have experienced is normal and they do not need any surgery. Others may feel that they liked their breasts before pregnancy and would like to restore them to that look and feel. If the implants were saline, you could change to a silicone gel implant, which may feel less noticeable under the thinner breast tissue. If you prefer to keep the saline implants, then you could have mastopexy (breast lift) to tighten the skin around the existing implants.

The final choice is yours. Be sure to discuss with your doctor whether you are planning more children in the future and exactly what you would like to achieve. Unfortunately, once breasts have gone through pregnancy and breast feeding, achieving the exact look of a "before pregnancy" breast is not possible. They will still look good, but not the same as before pregnancy.

Good luck!

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 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.