Rippling Due to Chest Workout After Breast Implants?

I am 5'3 and 110 lbs. I had 300 cc saline breast implants placed under the muscle a little over a year ago. I have always been active, but recently started training for fitness competitions (including a once a week intense chest workout). I have noticed a significant amount of rippling on the sides and bottom of the implants. How can I correct this issue? If I stop my chest workouts or decrese the amount of weight will it correct itself? If not is there a way to minimize rippling without replacement? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 4


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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.


Rippling because of thin tissue

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You have probably lost a lot of body fat due to your training regimen. As a result, your breast tissue is likely more think as well.

Saline implants are known to have a higher rate of rippling than silicone implants. The bottom and sides of your breasts are where the muscle is NOT covering the implant. Thus, if you're going to have rippling, it will be in these areas.

Unfortunately, other than gaining weight, the only other way to improve the rippling is to replace the implants with silicone implants.

John Diaz, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Breast Implant rippling worse after working out

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This is most likel caused by several different related conditions.

I assume that as you have been working out, you have become more fit and lean. This means that you may be losing body fat and subcutaneous tissue. As you body thins out, the irregularities and rippling in the implant which may have always been present may be more noticeable. I use a baseball covered with a silk sheet as an analogy; you will see every stitch on the baseball through the silk sheet. But if you cover it with a comforter, it will look like a smooth lump. You may be be developing silk sheets.

I have also noted that as people become more fit (especially their chest muscles), the pectoralis muscle tends to push the implants outward. It is in this area, that you have the least amount of coverage of the implant and the rippling becomes more visible.

If all other things are stable, it is unlikely that anything else is contributing to the rippling.

To answer the second half of your question: "if I stop...", only time will tell. Your best bet is to ease off on the pectoralis strengthening exercises. You may want to wear an underwire garment to help hold the implants towards the middle of the chest and avoid them falling to the outsides where they may be more visible. I am also sure you don't want to gain body fat so that is out of the question.

I hope this helps to explain.Implant

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

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The thin patient problem

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Thin patients more commonly see rippling in the positions you describe as they have less tissue to cover the implants and there is little muscular coverage there. Changing to silicone gel implants can improve the appearance but is not always a complete solution.

What you have going on: your training results in more muscle mass and less fat under your skin. Both of these things make the implants more noticeable under the skin. The muscles move the implants more and the “thin” coverage makes it more apparent.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

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.