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This blog has been authored by “Dr. Joe” Gryskiewicz MD, FACS.

About Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz:

Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 30 years of experience performing aesthetic surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, The Rhinoplasty Society, and many other national institutions.

In addition to being in private practice, Dr. Joe is a writer and international speaker. He has traveled the world delivering over five hundred presentations to professional organizations on plastic surgery topics such as breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, hot topics, and ethics. He writes for a number of medical journals, society newsletters, and academic publications.

What Is Pocket Deformity?

Written By Joe Gryskiewicz, MD, FACS

Causes and Solutions for a Breast Implant Complication

Breast augmentation is a very sought-after plastic surgery procedure and most patients are satisfied with their results. However, it is important to understand that breast implant complications can occur. Being informed about these complications, their causes, and potential solutions is essential for anyone considering breast augmentation surgery or already living with implants. In this blog, we will focus on one specific complication known as pocket or animation deformity, examining its causes, symptoms, and available treatments.

Minnesota Plastic Surgeon Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz has garnered immense praise for his exceptional skill in performing breast implant surgeries. His expertise in this intricate procedure has consistently led to outstanding results, leaving his patients thoroughly satisfied with their new appearance. Notably, Dr. Joe’s unwavering commitment to patient care goes beyond the operating table; he is known for his meticulous post-operative guidance, which helps patients avoid potential complications.

Breast Augmentation Potential Complications

When deciding to undergo breast augmentation, it is essential to weigh the benefits against the potential risks and complications. When selecting a surgeon, it is crucial to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in breast augmentation procedures. This can help minimize the risk of complications and ensure a successful outcome. However, even with the best care and surgical expertise, complications can still arise. By understanding these complications, you can be better prepared to face them should they occur and work with your surgeon to develop a plan for resolving them.

Breast implant complications can range from mild to severe, with varying impacts on a patient’s health and well-being. Some complications, such as infectionor significant bleeding (hematoma), require immediate attention and intervention. Others, like pocket deformity, may develop gradually over time and require a more nuanced approach to diagnosis and treatment. In each case, it is important to maintain open communication with your surgeon, report any concerns or symptoms, and follow their guidance on the appropriate course of action.

What is Animation Deformity?

Animation deformity, also known as dynamic breast deformity or “window-shading”, is a complication that can occur following breast augmentation surgery, particularly when implants are placed beneath the pectoral muscles (submuscular or subpectoral placement). This deformity happens when the pectoral muscles contract, causing the breast implants to move or change shape temporarily.

The issue arises because the implants are positioned below the pectoral muscles, so when the muscles contract, they can put pressure on the implants, causing them to shift, distort, or appear unnatural. The severity of the deformity can vary, with some patients experiencing only mild distortion, while others may have more pronounced or noticeable changes.

Understanding pocket deformity is important for anyone considering breast augmentation surgery, as well as those who have already undergone the procedure. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of pocket deformity and seeking prompt attention from a qualified surgeon can help ensure a successful resolution and prevent further complications.

Causes of Animation Deformity

Several factors contribute to the development of animation deformity, which can vary in severity among patients.

One major factor that contributes to animation deformity is the surgical technique employed during breast augmentation. As previously mentioned, submuscular or subpectoral implant placement can increase the risk of this complication. Your plastic surgeon may opt for this technique to provide better coverage and support for the implant, reduce the risk of visible rippling, or achieve a more natural-looking outcome. However, placing the implant beneath the pectoral muscle means that muscle contractions can directly impact the implant, leading to animation deformity.

Another contributing factor is the patient’s individual anatomy, which can play a significant role in the development of animation deformity. Patients with highly defined or hypertrophic pectoral muscles may be more susceptible to this complication, as their muscle contractions can exert greater force on the implants. Furthermore, if the breast implant pocket is created too close to the muscle’s edge, the muscle may be more likely to apply pressure to the implant during contraction, exacerbating the deformity.

The choice of implant size and shape can also influence the risk of animation deformity. Larger implants may be more prone to distortion, as they may be more likely to come into contact with the pectoral muscles during contractions.

Symptoms and Signs of Animation Deformity

Symptoms and signs of animation deformity can vary in severity, with some patients experiencing only mild distortion, while others may have more pronounced or noticeable changes. Several indicators can help identify the presence of animation deformity in patients who have undergone breast augmentation.

One of the most common signs of animation deformity is the unnatural movement or distortion of the breast implant when the pectoral muscles contract. This can be particularly noticeable during activities that engage the upper body, such as weight lifting, push-ups, or even simple movements like raising the arms. Patients may observe that their breasts change shape, move in an unusual manner, or appear distorted during these activities.

Another symptom of animation deformity is discomfort or pain in the affected breast when the pectoral muscles are engaged. This can occur because the contracting muscle places pressure on the implant, leading to increased tension on the surrounding tissue. In some cases, this discomfort may be mild and only noticeable during specific activities, while in others, it could be more severe or persistent, affecting the patient’s quality of life.

Visible implant rippling or wrinkling is also a possible sign of animation deformity. When the pectoral muscle contracts, it can exert pressure on the implant, causing the overlying skin to ripple or wrinkle. This can be particularly noticeable in patients with thinner skin or less breast tissue, and it may be more apparent when the muscles are engaged.

It is essential for patients who suspect they may be experiencing animation deformity to consult with their plastic surgeon to discuss their concerns and evaluate their options for addressing the issue. Depending on the severity of the deformity and the patient’s individual circumstances, the surgeon may recommend a revision surgery to adjust the implant placement or alter the surgical approach, ultimately aiming to minimize the risk of animation deformity and improve the patient’s satisfaction with their breast augmentation results.

Treatment Options for Animation Deformity

Several treatment options are available for patients experiencing animation deformity, depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s unique circumstances.

The most suitable treatment option for animation deformity will depend on the patient’s unique circumstances and the severity of their condition. A thorough consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon is essential to evaluate the available options, discuss potential risks and benefits, and develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the patient’s concerns and goals.

How to Ensure You Have a Successful Breast Augmentation Experience

Pocket deformity is just one of the potential complications that can arise after breast augmentation surgery. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this condition, you can be better prepared to manage any issues that may arise and ensure a successful breast augmentation experience.

When considering breast augmentation surgery, it is important to choose a qualified, experienced surgeon who prioritizes patient safety and satisfaction. By taking steps to prevent complications, such as proper implant selection and pocket creation, you can minimize your risk of developing pocket deformity or other issues.

If you do experience pocket deformity or other breast implant complications, prompt attention and treatment are essential for achieving a successful outcome. Working closely with your surgeon to develop a personalized treatment plan and adhering to post-operative care guidelines can help ensure a smooth recovery and long-term satisfaction with your results.

Overall, breast augmentation surgery can be a rewarding experience for many women, providing a boost to self-confidence and body image. By being informed about the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure, you can make an informed decision and take steps to minimize your risk, ensuring a safe and successful outcome.

FAQs about Breast Implants Complications

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Further Reading about Breast Surgery with Dr. Joe

Medical References about Pocket Deformity