Traction Wrinkling following Breast Augmentation

Dec 28, 2011 by

A number of doctors have mentioned the rate of breast implants wrinkling has been increasing; many attribute this to something that is being called traction wrinkling.

Traction wrinkling of breast implants could be on the rise due to the increased use of anatomical shaped implants- like the popular tear drop shape. When you combine the anatomical shape of the implant with the textured surface, the traction wrinkling can occur as the implant moves and settles. A Plastic Surgeon in America named Richard V. Dowden, MD wrote a good description about traction wrinkling of implants which can be seen below or found here.

I am not sure how Dr. Dowden doesn’t consider traction wrinkling as a complication- the picture he posted shows prominent wrinkles caused by the traction wrinkles, something no woman would want or desire and something that is a direct result of the breast implant surgery. This traction wrinkling is a complication caused by the implants and will need to be corrected with another breast implant surgery…unless the women wants to live with visible wrinkles.

Other doctors have described the traction wrinkling as caused when a textured implant “settles” or “drops” after it has been implanted- the dropping is common in anatomical shaped textured implants. The traction wrinkles are the result of the implant gaining some “traction” with the tissue surrounding the “pocket” the doctor created for the implant. As the implant moves, drops or settles, the wrinkles are left due to an increase in traction from the textured implant vs. a smooth implant.

Note- I address this issue as polyurethane foam covered silicone gel breast implants do not move, drop or settle after implantation; PU foam implants “stay where they are put” due to the higher friction of the implant and the fast bond the implant forms with surrounding tissue. A doctor using Polyurethane Foam implants uses a different technique to place the implant at the “final result” location- the doctor doesn’t need to allow for any margin for dropping or settling. Traction wrinkling has not been reported with Polyurethane Foam implants- or with smooth implants.

Here is the article from Dr. Dowden, please make sure and consider complications such as traction wrinkling when selecting your implant.

What is “Traction Wrinkling”?

Traction Wrinkling is a specific type of visible wavy irregularity that can be seen with certain types of implants (see photo below). It is completely different from ordinary wrinkling or rippling, with which it should not be confused.

Traction Wrinkling after Textured Implant: Traction Wrinkling after Textured Implant - 6k JPG

Traction Wrinkling is not harmful, and is not a complication, just a visible surface feature. It is seen primarily in the presence of implants with coarsely textured surface, specifically the McGhan Biocell surface, as used in the “Anatomic” shaped implants. It occurs in both pre-pectoral (“Overs”) and subpectoral (“Unders”) types of augmentation. The thinner a woman’s breast tissue, and the larger the implant, the more noticeable Traction Wrinkling can be.

There is no way to get rid of the traction wrinkling other than to re-operate, and sometimes a change to a smooth implant is even required.

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