How Implants Sometimes Move out of Position
After a breast augmentation surgery, there is always the risk that breast implants can displace or move from their original position, due to gravity, capsular contracture, muscle pull, the forces of healing, or the weight of the implant. This may happen immediately after breast augmentation surgery or months later. Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr. Loftus provide information on the risks of displaced or moving breast implants, descriptions of what implant displacement resembles and what to consider before having breast augmentation surgery.
After breast augmentation surgery, breast implant displacement may occur. Interestingly, the nipple will point the direction opposite from where the implant has displaced. For example, if the implant moves upward, the nipple will appear to point downward (see Figure a). Also, if the implant is displaced toward your breastbone, the nipple will appear to point outward, toward your armpit (see Figure b). Significant implant displacement can compromise the natural appearance of your breasts and can require an operation to re-center the breast implant. Due to the forces of gravity, it is much easier to fix an implant which has displaced upward than an implant which has displaced downward. Efforts to raise low breast implants are particularly confounded when the implant is very large. Hence, a larger implant which has displaced downward is much more difficult to fix than a small implant that has displaced downward or a large implant that has displaced upward.
Size of implant, type of implant, and position of implant can affect your risk of breast implant displacement. Breast implants larger than 500 cc are more likely to displace downward or outward than smaller implants. Saline breast implants are heavier than silicone breast implants and therefore more likely to displace downward. Implants placed over the muscle are more likely to displace downward than implants placed under the muscle. Hence, a large saline implant placed over the muscle is probably not the best option. When women choose implants over 500 cc, Dr. Vennemeyer and Dr. Loftus generally encourage them to select silicone implants and to place them under the muscle.