If your breast implants are placed under the muscle, there's a little something you may notice when your chest muscles move called flex distortion.
What is Flex Distortion after a Breast Augmentation?
Flex distortion (also called animation deformity or active displacement) describes the movement (and subsequent shape change) when the pectoralis (chest) muscle contracts and compresses and/or moves a breast implant that's in the submuscular (unders) position.
It's more humorously known as the boobie dance, because you can flex your breasts the way bodybuilders make their pecs dance!
Flex distortion is a phenomenon that only occurs with breast implants placed underneath the muscle. So, everyone with unders will have some muscle motion of the breast implants.
You may be able to do the flexing voluntarily, or it may happen spontaneously.
Three main factors can affect the degree of flex distortion:
the size and shape of your breast implants
your existing anatomy (e.g. the size and shape of your chest muscles and the shape of your rib cage)
your surgeon's skill
Minimize the Movement of your Breast Implants
Flex distortion when breast implants are placed under the muscle can't be prevented, but you can minimize the chances of it being bothersome by choosing a Board Certified plastic surgeon with the right experience.
Your best outcome from a breast augmentation comes from the right balance of surgical skill + appropriate breast implant size/shape/placement choices,and taking into account your existing anatomy and lifestyle and your Boobie Goals.
The only way to truly avoid flex distortion is to opt for breast implants over the muscle. The decision of breast implant location is one made after a full discussion of the pro's and con's of each and, crucially, what nuances you're prepared to accept as there are always trade offs with each.
Most women with unders experience very mild flex distortion, but in others it can be more extreme. But, the benefits of an under the muscle placement generally outweighs the potential for some muscle flexion.
Don’t Freak Out About Flex Distortion
If you're freaking out about flex distortion, here's a little bit of perspective...
The effects of flex distortion would be most noticeable to you if were totally naked and performing an activity or motion that caused your chest muscles to flex. And how often do you really find yourself doing chest workouts in the nude?
Basically... keep that sports bra on for all exercise girl!
And, be reassured that flex distortion is nothing to worry about. It's not a complication, it's more of a cosmetic nuance.
Exercise after Breast Implants
If you're considering unders - or you've already got breast implants in an under the muscle placement and have noticed some flex distortion - it may make you question whether exercise (and specifically anything that involves your chest muscles, like lifting) may be affected (or worse, off limits).
There's lots of information out there about this! Some saying you can work out the same, some saying no chest exercises at all, and others said just no isolation exercises.
Whatever your surgeon advises it’s important to follow their advice over anything else you read.
They know their work, your surgery, and your anatomy better than anyone else.
What all your breast augmentation decisions come down to is: what's important to you. If your lifestyle trumps your boobs it's really important to communicate this to your surgeon.
So, choose a Board Certified plastic surgeon with experience and be sure to ask specifically about how your anatomy, lifestyle and implant choices might influence the likelihood or degree of flex distortion! :)
Thoughts from Dr. Michelle RoughtonAnimation deformity is fairly uncommon, but can occur particularly in women with above average strength pec muscles. Women who are competitive bodybuilders or avid weight lifters may opt to have the implants placed above the muscle in order to avoid the potential for this to happen.
If your implants are under the muscle and you have movement that you don't like when flexing, there are several different options surgically to correct it.