Today in clinic, I had a patient who was an aerobics instructor ask,”Can putting the implant behind the muscle cause distortion of my breast during exercise?” The answer to her question is yes, but I want to qualify this answer.
In patients where implants are positioned behind the pectoralis muscle, contraction of the muscle can change the shape of the breast. This distortion in shape is called an animation deformity and is graded on a scale ranging from no deformity to severe. It is something that occurs during contraction of the muscle and then resolves with relaxation. A recent study by Spear et al. looked at this issue and reported that muscle related distortion was not a problem during normal activities of daily living. In this patient cohort, interference occurred during weight training, exercise, yoga, and sexual activity. Interestingly, only 3% of patients reporting this problem would not consider subpectoral placement again. It is apparent that these patients accept animation deformity in return for improved breast cancer detection, less risk of capsular contracture, less problems with visible rippling, and a better chest/breast/implant interface. Although there are several techniques designed to help with this problem, the only definitive solution is to replace the implants into the subglandular (in front of the muscle) position. However, this is at the expense of increased risk of capsular contracture, implant visibility and rippling problems, and greater difficulty with mammography.
Our website www.drmckane.com has additional information and before and after photographs of breast augmentation for review. I invite you to schedule a consultation with me if you would like to learn more about breast augmentation or animation deformity. Please feel free to contact our office at (972) 566-3939 if you have any questions.
-Brice W. McKane, M.D.