If you’re considering undergoing breast augmentation surgery, you’ll want to be aware of the potential risks and complications. Although breast augmentation is generally considered a safe procedure, there are certain issues that can occasionally arise. One complication you may have heard about is a double bubble breast implant deformity. Here, we’ll take a close look at this deformity, including how to recognize it, why it happens, and whether or not it’s something you should be concerned about.
What Is a Double Bubble Breast Implant Deformity?
A double bubble breast implant deformity is a complication of breast augmentation in which a breast implant doesn’t align properly with the lower breast tissue. This complication results in a bulge or bubble appearing directly beneath the breast, which is where the term “double bubble” comes from. Normally, there’s a fold at the bottom of each breast called the inframammary crease. However, in the case of a double bubble breast implant deformity, there will be a second crease either above or below this fold.
What Causes a Double Bubble Breast Implant Deformity?
There are two primary types of double bubble breast implant deformities, each of which is distinguished mainly by how it’s caused. When having a double bubble complication corrected, it’s important that the surgeon correctly identifies which type of deformity they’re dealing with, as each type requires a different procedure to fix.
Cause #1 - Descended Breast Implant
One type of double bubble breast implant deformity is caused by the bottom of the implant descending below the natural inframammary crease. As a result, a second crease is created below the natural fold, which is what creates the bubble-like appearance. There are several situations that can increase the likelihood of a breast implant descending to cause this deformity.
- Overly Large Implants - One common cause of descending breast implants is the implants being too large. When implants have too much volume for the patient’s body type, downward may be the only direction for that volume to go. As a result, the implant pocket can become stretched below the natural inframammary crease, which causes a double bubble breast implant deformity.
- Weak Inframammary Crease - For some women, the natural inframammary crease is significantly weaker than normal. When this fold is poorly defined, it may not be strong enough to support a breast implant long-term. So, eventually, the bottom of the breast implant may descend below the crease and become a double bubble deformity.
- Constricted Breasts - Another possible cause of double bubble breast implant deformities is constricted breasts. This condition, also known as tubular breast deformity, is characterized by an unusually short distance between the nipple and the natural inframammary fold. This condition causes the skin below the nipple to be tighter, and when a newly placed implant puts pressure on it, the inframammary crease can be detached from the chest wall. As a result, the breast implant may descend below the fold, causing a double bubble deformity.
- Surgical Error - A double bubble breast implant deformity can also be caused by a mistake on the part of the plastic surgeon. If the breast implant is improperly placed, it can become significantly more likely to descend below the inframammary fold. This is one reason why it’s so important to select a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon for your breast augmentation surgery.
Cause #2 - Sagging Breast Tissue
The other main type of double bubble breast implant deformity involves the lower part of the breast tissue descending over the implant. As a result, the sagging breast tissue creates a second crease below the inframammary fold. Even though the implants are still in the proper position relative to the natural crease, a double bubble deformity is created. This complication is not as common as a descended breast implant, but it tends to occur in women with drooping breasts, which is known as breast ptosis.
In some cases, this type of double bubble deformity can occur immediately after breast augmentation surgery. However, the complication can also occur later on due to any of the following changes:
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Natural effects of aging
Symptoms of a Double Bubble Breast Implant Deformity
So, how can you tell whether or not you’re experiencing a double bubble breast implant deformity? The most recognizable symptom is the presence of two creases beneath the breast instead of one after undergoing breast augmentation. With a double bubble deformity, the two folds will have a bulge between them. However, there may also be the following symptoms:
Disproportionate upper breast
How Is a Double Bubble Breast Implant Deformity Corrected?
If you experience a double bubble breast implant deformity, it will need to be corrected through a surgical procedure. However, the specifics of the procedure will depend on which type of deformity you have and how it was caused.
If a patient has a double bubble deformity due to a descended breast implant, it can be corrected with breast capsulorrhaphy. This procedure, which is also known as a capsular repair, is a fairly minor surgery that’s performed to tighten the scar tissue, or, capsule, around the implant. This is achieved by using sutures to close part of the lower implant, which pushes the implant upward and into the proper position.
In the case of a double bubble deformity caused by a sagging breast, mastopexy is typically the ideal procedure to correct it. Mastopexy, which is also known as a breast lift procedure, is a surgery to correct sagging or drooping breasts. Typically, when correcting a double bubble breast implant deformity, the plastic surgeon will need to raise the nipple slightly and remove some of the excess lower breast skin. This is usually enough to bring the breast tissue back above the implant and correct the deformity.
How Can You Prevent a Double Bubble Breast Implant Deformity?
Ultimately, there’s really only one way to significantly reduce the chances of developing a double bubble breast implant deformity: You need to choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for your breast augmentation.
For one thing, a skilled and qualified surgeon will be far less likely to make an error in the placement of your breast implants. Additionally, a reputable plastic surgeon will know how to evaluate your risk factors before the surgery. For example, if you have breast ptosis or a weak inframammary fold, a knowledgeable surgeon will take that into account in their initial treatment plan. If you have sagging breasts, the doctor may suggest combining a breast lift procedure with breast augmentation to prevent a double bubble deformity. A qualified surgeon will also ensure that you’re receiving implants that are the ideal size and type for your body.
Double Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Brenner
Dr. Brenner is a double board-certified plastic surgeon who is renowned for his skill, expertise, and communication with patients. He believes in treating every patient with compassion and providing them with personalized treatment aimed toward meeting their aesthetic goals. If you’re interested in undergoing breast augmentation, simply schedule your consultation today.