Why Does my Saline Implant Appear (And Feel) Lumpy?

I had surgery for saline implants a little over 2 years ago. I had capsular contracture about 1 year post-surgery, which my surgeon corrected (extremely painful). My left breast is perfect, but my right breast appears lumpy; and to the touch, I feel lumpy ripples, as if there were air pockets in various places in the implant. Will my right breast have to be redone?

Doctor Answers 7

Reasons for a lumpy breast saline breast implant

Reasons for a lumpy breast saline breast implant:

1) thin skin with visibility of normal wrinkles

2) capsular contracture with "scrunching" of implant causing folds

3) textured surface causing folds and knuckles

4) partial deflation of implant with collapse and folding

5) underfilling of implants

6) flipping of implant

7) seroma

8) heterotopic calcification

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews


There may be a slow deflation of the saline implant or there is less tissue coverage making the feel of the bag much more obvious. Seek attention of specialist with revision surgery.

Stuart A. Linder, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Saline Implants Ripple And Fold More Than Silicone

Anytime a patient has saline implants and they feel folds or what may be described as "air pockets", it generally is the folds of the saline implant.  Depending on the fill volume of the implant, there may be a few bigger folds or a number of smaller folds, and if you have thin tissues, it is not unusual to feel them over time.  I would meet with your surgeon for an examination, but from what you are describing, you are probably feeling the implant imperfections.

Christopher V. Pelletiere, MD
Barrington Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 73 reviews


Rippling can happen because the sof tissue coverage is too  thin. This can sometimes be corrected with silicone implants , under the muscle, or alloderm.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Rippling More Likely with Saline Implants

I agree that it is difficult to know the reason for your lumpiness from your photo and description.  You may still have some element of capsular contracture as well as rippling.  I feel that both are more likely to occur with saline implants places above the muscle and least likely to be seen with silicone implants beneath the muscle.  I also agree that you should seek a second opinion if you are unsatisfied with your original surgeon's explanation and solution.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Breast implant and lumps

It is difficult to see from your photo. However, given your description, it is possible that you have a recurrent capsular contracture or some scarring of the breast capsule.  You should see your PS and consider a revision.  If you are unhappy with your options always seek a second opinion.

Delio Ortegon, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Breast augmentation

It is difficult to give a good answer without an examination.  The "bumps" may be due to scar tissue (capsule).  It may also be that the saline implant has lost volume (leak?), or under filled.  You should see your plastic surgeon, or if not satisfied, obtain a second consult.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 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.