Will Breast Implants Shift If You Flex Your Chest?

Breast Implants Shift during Workouts

Breast implants are a safe, effective way to enhance the shape of a woman’s breast profile. In most breast augmentation surgeries, the implant is placed beneath the muscles of the chest. Activating the chest muscles may cause the implants to shift. This is called “breast animation deformity,” but don’t worry — it’s completely harmless.

Breast animation deformity occurs most often in athletic women with very low body fat. Implants that shift during muscle activation will return to their original location once the muscles relax.

Dr. Joshua Greenwald, MD, is one of New York’s leading plastic surgeons. With decades of experience in breast augmentation and breast augmentation revision surgeries, Dr. Greenwald looks forward to helping you achieve the breast profile you desire. Read on to learn more about how breast implants may shift during muscle activation.

Submuscular Implants

Breast implants that are placed beneath the chest muscles are called submuscular implants. The surgeon may advise this placement method for a variety of reasons. First, submuscular implants leave the original breast tissue entirely intact. That allows the implant to enhance the appearance of the chest in a more inconspicuous manner. Submuscular implants allow for clearer mammograms and have a lower risk of capsular contracture, or the formation of scar tissue around the implant.

The downside to submuscular implants is that movement of the pectoral muscles can shift them. This effect is usually unnoticeable unless the woman has very low body fat (bodybuilders, competitive athletes, and so on). In those instances, breast animation deformity may be the result — in other words, the implant may visibly shift, “deform” and change shape as the chest muscles activate.

Subglandular Implants

Correcting breast animation deformity requires a surgical solution. The surgeon removes the original breast implant and repairs the underlying muscle tissue. Once the muscle is reattached, the surgeon creates a “pocket” for the breast implant that sits above the muscle. The implant is then placed in the pocket and is supported by surgical mesh.

As the tissue heals, the surgical mesh dissolves and forms a layer of protective tissue. The end result is a stable, healthy breast implant that does not shift when you flex your chest.

Breast Animation Deformity Surgery in NYC

It’s important to choose a highly qualified surgeon. Surgical breast revisions are far more complicated than the original procedure. The surgeon must work carefully with tissues that have already undergone significant trauma. Dr. Joshua Greenwald looks forward to offering you a second chance at finally achieving the natural breast augmentation results you desire. Please contact one of our New York offices for more information.


Dr. Joshua Greenwald is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City who studied and trained at prestigious educational institutions including Columbia University, Emory University, and New York University School of Medicine. His keen aesthetic eye and refined surgical techniques have led him to be a top choice for cosmetic face, breast, and body procedures in NYC. His exceptional patient care has earned him the distinction of “Top Doc” by both Westchester Magazine and Castle & Connolly for over 10 years running. Dr. Greenwald is an active member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Medical Association, and the Westchester County Medical Society.