Stretch marks form when the dermis—the layer of skin that lies beneath the epidermis (the surface layer of your skin)—becomes stretched and torn, something that generally happens during rapid growth or rapid weight change. Given that, it does make sense that implants would cause stretch marks; a breast augmentation, after, all, essentially causes rapid growth—it’s just that the growth only occurs in one specific area of your body.
Luckily, the skin of the breast is generally quite elastic and resilient, which means that stretch marks are highly unlikely to develop as a result of breast enhancement. Stretch marks only form when the tissue can’t expand fast enough to accommodate the growth that’s occurring, and this is almost never the case with breast augmentations.
Stretch marks can occasionally be an unfortunate byproduct of a breast augmentation, however, and there are certain factors that can make them more likely. One of those factors—implant size—is entirely controllable. The other—genetics—isn’t.
On the most basic level, the bigger the implant, the more likely the stretch marks. If your skin is highly resilient and elastic, you may be able to increase your bust size significantly with little risk of stretch marks. If, however, you’re predisposed to stretch marks (if you have thin skin with little elasticity), then you may want to consider only a conservative breast enhancement. If you’re genetically inclined toward stretch marks, you probably know it—but if you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask your plastic surgeon to help you figure it out.
The bottom line: Yes, breast implants can cause stretch marks . . . but only very rarely. With the right plastic surgeon to help you decide what will work with your body, you’re unlikely to be at risk for them at all.