Why can rippling occur after breast enlargement surgery?

Rippling of the breast surface is one of the problems that can occur after breast augmentation surgery.  It’s more likely to occur if you are slim and have loose skin.


Fortunately, for most women who experience rippling, only they are aware of the problem – they can feel it, usually on the inside or outside contours of their breasts, but it isn’t visible to other people - and it can be fixed with further surgery if required.

However, despite this, our philosophy is that prevention is better than cure. Whilst rippling cannot be entirely ruled out, this problem is very rare among our patients, largely as a result of the experience and technical skill of Mr James Murphy, our lead on breast surgery in Manchester.  The combination of an experienced surgeon, detailed assessment and good communication between surgeon and patient will lead to the best results.

Mr Murphy will minimise the risk of rippling by ensuring you choose the most appropriate type, style, and profile of implant to suit your body.  The surgery will be carried out in a way that reduces the chance of rippling – notably, the implant will be fitted under the muscle - and will ensure you are left with a natural look. 

Let’s look in more detail at the factors which affect the chances of rippling.



If you have less breast tissue, then it will be important to choose smaller implants as this will reduce the chances of rippling.  Lack of breast volume increases the chance of rippling because what breast tissue you do have gets stretched to make space for the implant.  Choose an implant that’s too big and your chances of rippling will significantly increase.  


Right size of implant

If you have good breast volume, then you will be able to opt for a larger implant without increasing the chance of rippling.  If you have one breast which is significantly smaller than the other (most people have a degree of difference) you will need to choose an implant which is the right size for the smaller of your breasts.


Positioning of implants

If you have low breast volume, as well as choosing appropriately sized implants you should also have them positioned below the chest muscles.  This helps to reduce rippling as your chest muscles will, in effect, provide a base layer between the surface skin and the implant. If the implant ripples, the layer of muscle will mean it’s less likely to be visible.


Implant type

Some implants are more prone to ripple than others.  We are very careful to select only the highest quality implants which are less likely to ripple but still have the softness and malleability that you would want for a natural-looking result.


Position of implant

The implant will need to be correctly positioned to minimise rippling – the problem is more likely to occur in lower profile implants.  We will consider the width and height of your implant, as well as where you want to increase fullness in order to get results you’re happy with whilst minimising the chances of rippling. 


Changing body shape

The volume of your breasts will change if you gain or lose weight.  An increase in weight is less likely to adversely affect the look of your breasts post-surgery than weight loss as this will mean there is less fat coverage on the breast tissue.  You should bear this in mind when managing your weight. Ideally, before you undergo breast augmentation surgery, it’s best to be a healthy weight which you can maintain for the long-term. 


Find out more

To find out more about having your breast augmentation treatment at Manchester Plastic Surgery, please get in touch.  Please note that we are continuing to offer initial consultations for people who are at the start of their breast surgery journey via Zoom, FaceTime and Skype, whilst the Coronavirus restrictions are in place. 


If you would like to learn more about this procedure or are interested in a consultation, fill out the form below or call us on 0800 015 0622