Understanding the Breast Implant Double Bubble: Demystifying the Unexpected Outcome

Understanding the Breast Implant Double Bubble: Demystifying the Unexpected Outcome

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Breast implant surgery has, for years, been one of the go-to procedures for women seeking a fuller, more defined chest. However, like any surgical procedure, it does come with its set of potential complications. One of the lesser-known yet significant issues is the “breast implant double bubble.” 

This phenomenon can be as perplexing as facial jaw surgery for many. Just as the jaw plays a pivotal role in shaping the face, the shape and positioning of a breast implant can define the overall appearance of the chest.

What is the Breast Implant Double Bubble?

The term “double bubble” refers to an undesirable postoperative appearance where a visible line horizontally divides the breast, giving the appearance of two separate mounds or “bubbles” on one breast. This is usually caused when the breast implant drops below the natural crease of the breast or when the breast tissue does not drape smoothly over the implant.

Causes of the Double Bubble

Several factors can lead to the formation of a breast implant double bubble:

  • Incorrect Implant Placement: If the implant is placed too low or slips below the inframammary fold, it can create a double bubble effect.
  • Capsular Contracture: This is a condition where the scar tissue around the implant hardens and contracts, pushing the implant downward.
  • Mismatched Implant Size: Using implants too big for the patient’s breast size or tissue availability can also lead to this effect.
  • Tissue Laxity: Some women naturally have looser breast tissue. The natural breast may not sit neatly on the implant in these cases.
  • Previous Surgeries: Those who have undergone previous breast surgeries might have scar tissue or other factors that increase the risk of a double bubble.

Correcting the Double Bubble

Dr. Brian Dickinson and other renowned surgeons often employ various methods to correct the breast implant double bubble phenomenon. Here’s a more detailed look into the corrective measures for the double bubble phenomenon.

Revisional Surgery: A Closer Look

The foremost corrective measure is often revisional surgery, which primarily aims to rectify the positioning of the implant. This procedure involves:

  • Re-evaluation of Implant Position: Surgeons will determine the ideal placement of the implant, ensuring it aligns perfectly with the breast’s natural crease. 
  • Internal Suturing: This involves reinforcing the inframammary fold to secure the implant and prevent it from migrating downward.

Addressing Capsular Contracture

Dr. Brian Dickinson and many other esteemed surgeons in the field have underscored the link between capsular contracture and the double bubble. The solutions include:

  • Capsulectomy: This procedure involves the removal of the hardened capsule. Sometimes, the implant might be replaced with a new one during this process.
  • Capsulotomy: A less invasive option entails creating strategic incisions in the scar tissue to release tension and reposition the implant.

Implant Alterations

Matching the implant to the individual’s anatomy is pivotal. When a mismatch occurs:

  • Size Adjustments: Swapping out the current implant for one that better fits the patient’s natural breast dimensions.
  • Implant Profile Selection: Implants come in various profiles, from low to high. Picking the right profile can change how the implant sits and looks.

Breast Lift: Enhancing Natural Appeal

For some patients, especially those with tissue laxity or post-pregnancy changes, a breast lift might be the most appropriate solution:

  • Mastopexy: This is the medical term for a breast lift. It involves removing excess skin and reshaping the breast tissue to raise the breasts.
  • Combining Procedures: Sometimes, a mastopexy is combined with the repositioning or replacing the implant to achieve the best outcome.

Tissue Matrix and Fat Grafting

Advanced techniques have now made it possible to provide additional support and camouflage any irregularities:

  • Tissue Matrix Products: Surgeons use biological materials, like the Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM), to provide an internal support structure for the implant.
  • Fat Grafting: This involves transferring fat from other parts of the body to the breast to smooth the transition between the implant and natural breast tissue.

Prevention Over Correction

To avoid the complications associated with a breast implant double bubble, potential patients should:

Choose a Reputable Surgeon: A skilled surgeon like Dr. Brian Dickinson will have the experience and knowledge to minimize potential complications.

Follow Post-operative Instructions: Strictly adhering to post-op care guidelines can significantly reduce the risk of complications.

Regular Check-ups: Regular follow-up visits with the surgeon can help in early detection and intervention.


While the breast implant double bubble is an unwanted outcome, understanding its causes and corrections can help potential patients make an informed decision. Just like with facial jaw surgery or any other aesthetic procedure, it’s essential to prioritize safety, expertise, and post-operative care. With the right knowledge and guidance from specialists like Dr. Brian Dickinson, achieving desired results with minimal complications is possible.

Author Bio:

Dr. Dickinson is Board-Certified in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and Rhinoplasty Society.

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