Lateral Displacement and Breast Implants

20 October, 2019 Nurse Justine

Balloons

Aside from capsular contracture, it seems like lateral displacement is the next top contender for concern in post breast surgery patients. The third concern is bottoming-out, but that's a whole other blog post!

What is Lateral Displacement?

Implants can be displaced any which way - it just means the implant is not in the correct position. Laterally refers to the outer side of the body. So lateral displacement is the shifting of the breast implants outwards, towards the armpits.

Lateral displacement is typically more noticeable when lying down, and in fact, it may be normal to some degree to have implants that rest naturally to the side of the body in this position - that's just gravity. But implants should not remain in this position when seated or standing upright.

Lateral displacement may be painful or uncomfortable. It may be aesthetically unappealing to some. Or some patients might not be too concerned about it.

Lateral displacement

What Causes Lateral Displacement?

Lateral displacement can happen to one or both breast implants, and can be caused by:

  • The surgeon has over dissected the breast pocket and made it too big
  • Large volume implants
  • Smooth implants
  • Poor skin quality
  • NOT WEARING YOUR POSTOP BRA/ not following the postop instructions
  • Stomach sleeping - if you are serious about prolonging the life of your implants you will need to alter your sleeping style. Stomach sleeping applies pressure to the implants and surrounding tissue, stretching it and pushing them out to the side which can result in lateral displacement
  • Or sometimes implants can just shift or become displaced over time for no reason

How to Correct Lateral Displacement?

Lateral displacement usually requires surgery to reposition the implant.

Lateral Displacement Vs The Drop & Fluff

Remember, breast implants provide you with a larger (or emphasised) version of what you already have. If you have wide set breasts, they will still be wide set after surgery. If you have low set breasts, they are still low set after surgery.

After surgery, you will be swollen. It takes around 3 – 6 months for this swelling to subside and before the final result is noticeable. I tend to find that patients with naturally wide set breasts ‘forget’ what their natural breasts originally looked like. As the swelling starts to go down and the implants settle into their natural position (a larger version of what they already have) they freak out and think they have lateral displacement.

Now, to ease the minds of any patients worrying they might have lateral displacement - I have included some pictures of confirmed cases I have found online below :)

- Nurse Justine

Lateral Displacement

Sourced from: Chopra, K., Gowda, A., Kwon, E., Eagan, M., & Grant Stevens, W. (2016). Techniques to Repair Implant Malposition after Breast Augmentation: A Review. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 36(6), 660-671. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjv261

Lateral Displacement

Sourced from: Chopra, K., Gowda, A., Kwon, E., Eagan, M., & Grant Stevens, W. (2016). Techniques to Repair Implant Malposition after Breast Augmentation: A Review. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 36(6), 660-671. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjv261

Lateral Displacement

Sourced from: Arquero, P.S., Zanata, F.C., Ferreira, L.M., & Nahas, F.X. Capsular Weakness around Breast Implant: A Non-Recognized Complication. World J Plast Surg 2015;4(2):168-174.

Lateral Displacement

Sourced from: Shestak, K. (2015). Reoperative Plastic Surgery of the Breast. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.

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Justine@drchinsee.com.au