Can Post-op Breast Massage Cause Rippling to Occur?

Is it possible for post-op breast massage to cause rippling to occur? I have saline sub-pectoral implants 360-380cc.

Doctor Answers 16

Rippling with implants

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Post-op breast massage should have no impact on rippling. RIppling develops because the soft tissue covering over the implant is not sufficient.  Sometimes strattice or pocket repositioning may be the answer.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Implant rippling with massage

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Feeling rippling of the implants usually occurs in the lateral aspect of the implants where the soft tissue coverage is thinner. The rippling is usually do to the scar tissue that forms around the implant. In my experience high profile implants tend to ripple less than other styles and textured surfaced implants tend to ripple more than smooth implants. Massaging the breasts will not likely cause or prevent implant rippling.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon

Rippling after Breast Augmentation?

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Thank you for the question.

Palpability  and rippling of breast implants may be related to several factors. These include the amount of soft tissue and breast tissue coverage over the breast implants, the position of the breast implants (submuscular versus sub glandular), the type of implants (saline versus silicone), and the degree of overfilling of saline filled implants. Generally, weight loss will extension weight any rippling/palpability  of the implants.  Deflation of the implants will also increase the rippling/palpability of the implants.

Correction of the rippling may involve further surgery including implant pocket exchange if possible ( sub glandular to submuscular), implant exchange if possible (saline to silicone), and/or the use of allograft to provide an additional layer of tissue between the implant and the patient's skin. Patient weight gain (if possible) may also be helpful.

Generally postop breast massage is not “cause” rippling to occur.

I hope this helps.


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Breast Implant Rippling most often occurs when there is insufficient soft tissue coverage due to little overlying body fat and breast tissue. Implants placed beneath the muscle help to minimize this phenomena but the lower and outside breast (as pectoralis muscle is no longer present), towards the cleavage where the muscle thins out or on top of the breast where breast tissue is often lacking are the most common places to see rippling. It is often accentuated with certain positions (e.g. bending over,or leaning). Most of the time, rippling is felt along the outer side of the breast and the inner side of the breast next to the cleavage. Breast implant waviness (rippling) that is felt but not noticeable to the eye is very common and should not be a concern. However, when rippling is visible, patients are often self-conscious about their appearance.
Factors that are associated with increased rippling include:
  • Traditional Saline implants (IDEAL® Saline implants less likely)
  • Textured implants
  • Large implants
  • Thin patients with low BMI
  • Implants placed above the muscle
  • Prior history of rippling
Factors which are less likely to have rippling include:
  • Heavier and larger breasted women
  • Using a highly cohesive form-stabile silicone implants (gummy bear)
  • Smooth implants
  • Smaller implants
  • Submuscular placement
Once rippling occurs it is very difficult to correct. Rippling can be minimized by placing a biologic fabrics (e.g. AlloDerm®, Strattice™, SERI®), submuscular conversion if implants are above the muscle, fat transfer, use of adjacent tissue (muscle or fascia) if available, and in persistent cases implant removal and fat transfer. Seek the care of the best board certified plastic surgeon possible with experience in breast revision surgery.


Breast implant rippling

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Thank you for your question. Rippling can be seen when the surface of an implant shadows through the tissue, often found where the breast tissue coverage is thin. Some implant styles are more prone such as an overfilled saline implant. Others are less prone such as a shaped silicone implant. Massage does not impact the development of ripples.

If you notice the rippling soon after surgery, I often recommend waiting until around the six month mark as your breasts may continue to change during that recovery period.

If the rippling persists, you have several options:  One approach is to change an implant to one that is less prone to rippling. Another approach would be to add some thickness to the breast tissue. This can be done by fat grafting where fat is carefully layered between the skin and the implant. Another is to add a dermal matrix sheet between the breast and the implant where the rippling is visible to blunt the impression of the implant on the overlying skin. Should the ripples persist, I would visit with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options in more detail.

Rippling and massage

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There should be no impact on rippling as a result of massaging your breasts following surgery. Rippling is usually related to other factors, such as thin skin and sub mammary placement.

Rippling & Post-Operative Massage

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There is absolutely no way that rippling is caused by massage. Rippling can be seen both in silicone and saline implant patients and is usually due to lack of enough breast tissue over the implant, an implant that may be displaced or hardened (contracture), or an implant that is oversized for the amount of breast tissue.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Breast Augmentation

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All implants have wrinkling.  If you visit your surgeon's office to try on sample implants, whether saline or silicone, they all wrinkle when you hold them in your hand.  Wrinkling is less obvious with silicone implants.  Your tissue is evidently thin enough, even though part of your implants are under your chest muscles, to allow the wrinkling to be visible.  You could consider changing to gel, but wrinkling may be part and parcel of having the implant, especially if you are thin.  Sorry you are having trouble.  All the best, "Dr. Joe"


Rippling of breast implants not caused by implant massage

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Rippling and wrinkling of a saline breast implant has to do with "tissue cover" not massaging. Patients that have thin tissues or patients that have implants placed on top of the muscle (which causes there to be "less" tissue on top of the implant) are the two main reasons patients get rippling or wrinkling.  This is not related to breast implant massage.  I recommend placing silicone gel implants under the muscle to minimize and avoid wrinkling or rippling.  I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Rippling is caused by the implant

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There are several irregularities that can occur after a breast augmentation.  Rippling is a term that usually refers to the irregularities seen from saline implants.  This can happen when the breast tissue, especially laterally (on the side of the breast) is thin.  It is also more common when the saline implant is over-filled.  Massage will not make a difference in either one of these sources of rippling.  Correcting it usually involves replacing the implant with a silicone implant or possible reducing some of the volume of the saline implant if possible.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 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.