Complications after breast augmentation are rare, but they do (unfortunately) occur. And some have the strangest names! Like, what is Double Bubble?!
There actually aren't any bubbles with this breast augmentation complication! Let me tell you more...
What Is It?
Double Bubble is a deformity where the implant settles low and below the crease (or fold) of the breast (not to be confused with bottoming out).
This causes a bulge at the bottom of the breast where the natural breast tissue ends and the breast implant begins, and it can happen in one or both breasts.
What Causes It?
There are a few things that might cause the Double Bubble effect after a breast augmentation...
The most common reason is when the inframammary crease (under your boob) is lowered - either deliberately or by accident.
There are situations where the natural breast crease must be lowered to properly position the implant. It's most often lowered if you want to go really big or if you have tuberous breasts or asymmetry.
In either case, your breast fold just doesn't always play ball and it won't stretch to accommodate the implants.
It can also occur if:
- You have an implant placed that is too big for your body.
- Your breasts are droopy and no lift is performed - if implants are below the muscle, the existing loose breast tissue can sag below the implant (usually very quickly after breast surgery).
- You have scarring from previous breast surgeries - scar tissue can be tight and constrict the breast, stopping the implant from settling.
How Will I Know If I Have It?
More often than not, it'll be waaaaaay obvious from the look of your breasts.
It'll look like you have two creases; your old crease and a new crease caused by the double bubble.
If you think you might have double bubble but it isn't entirely obvious try looking in a mirror and raising your arms over your head... this may exaggerate any double bubble deformity.
Either way, if you suspect double bubble always seek the opinion of your plastic surgeon.
Can It Be Prevented?
Sometimes natural progression of the downward movement of the implant can cause a double bubble effect. But most of the time it's caused by a technical surgical error.
So, do your homework and choose a a Board Certified plastic surgeon.
You can help prevent Double Bubble by having realistic expectations about implant size and staying within the confines of your own anatomy.
If you have reason to think double bubble may happen to you (because you have: tuberous breasts, asymmetry, sagging) be sure to ask any plastic surgeons you consult about the risk.
How Is It Fixed?
Sometimes the appearance of the breast improves over the course of the first several months. If not, you may need a revision surgery to fix it.
Try not to be downhearted if this affects you, the good news is double bubble is not a risk to your health, so does not require an emergency repair.
The main ways to fix a double bubble with revision surgery is to:
- Switch implants that are under the muscle to over the muscle. By doing this, the attachments between the muscle and the skin are divided and this line should fade.
- Raise the inframammary fold using internal sutures (called a 'capsulorraphy') and, if the skin and/or tissues are very thin a special surgical material (called an 'acellular dermal matrix') can be used to reinforce the area. This is a better option if you don't have much natural breast tissue.
- Downsizing. If the cause of your double bubble is implant weight/size you may have to consider a smaller implant (and some internal stitching) if you want a long lasting correction.
- Have a breast lift. If the cause of your double bubble is pstosis (sagging)
Be sure to talk to your (or another Board Certified plastic surgeon) if this is affecting you to find out the best solution for you.
If you decide to go back in to surgery to fix a Double Bubble remember that you will have to wait at least 4-6 months after your original breast surgery to seek a repair.
The good news is that Double Bubble is a rare complication and that it can be corrected.
Nobody can predict 100% who will get complications. So, knowing what they are and knowing what solutions there are if they do occur (i.e. being informed) enables you to make the right decisions on your Boobie Journey! :)